The setting in suburban Phoenix looked good on the surface, but behind the scenes the children tell a harrowing tale.
According to the kids, who were interviewed by police, the ‘momager’ Machelle Hobson scripted a reign of terror when the cameras weren’t rolling.
Hobson is now in jail after her biological adult daughter reported the abuse. She is joined by her two adult sons who knew what was happening, but did nothing.
And, what was happening was nothing short of a nightmare.
The Arizona woman is accused of terrible physical abuse. The torture included enforced ice baths for the kids if they messed up, she allegedly starved them, locked them in a closet and pepper sprayed their genitals, according to the police complaint outlined by ABC Action News.
One of the children explained that pepper-spraying their genitals was a favorite form of abuse by Hobson.
When filming online, Hobson always covered her face.
“I either get beat with a hanger or belt, or a brush, or get pepper-sprayed from head to toe,” one of the children told police.
All of the children were extremely thirsty and ravenously drank water provided by the police. However, one child was too afraid to eat potato chips, fearing that Hobson would ‘smell them’ on the child’s breath.
According to the statements, the monster ‘mom’s’ other forms of punishment entailed holding the children’s heads underwater and locking them in the closet she called the “green screen room” with no food or water or toilet for “days at a time.”
The Daily Beast reported:
The channel, which has grown to almost 800,000 subscribers since the arrest, claimed to feature a perfect family getting into mischief. “We’re Fantastic Adventures, we’re a family that’s full of unique and special kids!” the channel description states. “We started making these videos for fun, but fell in love with making them and now do it every week for you guys!”
When police came to inspect the home after the report, they found one child in a closet wearing a pull-up style diaper.
The door was not locked, according to press reports, but it could have been by the apparatus on the door handle.
According to the police report quoted by ABC, Hobson “denied the pepper-spray, denied the ice baths, and stated the only forms of punishment she uses is having to stand in the corner, getting spankings, and being grounded.”
As of Wednesday evening, the “Fantastic Adventures” channel was removed from YouTube, and the video site said the channel had been demonetized after the allegations against Hobson became public, according to the Arizona Republic.
Hobson’s adult daughter reported her mother.
She was forced to appear as the ‘pretend mom’ on some videos, but is not charged in the abuse.
Hobson’s adult sons, Logan and Ryan, were regularly featured in the ‘Fantastic Adventures,’ and they are also being held for failure to report the abuse of a child.
Although the children’s ages have not been reported, police say all seven were under the age of 10.
At one point, Hobson’s horror family collaborated with popular gaming site Extreme Toys TV. Owners Tawny and Zeb Schnorr explained the association in an interview with the AZ Family TV.
The Schnorrs reported that two of Hobson’s adopted children came to their home just two weeks ago to shoot a video.
“I’m literally sick to my stomach,” Tawny Schnoor told AZ Family TV. “I mean, it’s something you hear about but it doesn’t hit so close to home.”
Comments on the family’s YouTube channel were disabled on Wednesday, and videos are no longer accessible.
The platform released a statement:
“We take safety on YouTube very seriously. We work closely with leading child-safety organizations and others in our industry to protect young people. When we’re made aware of serious allegations of this nature we take action, which may include suspending monetization, or, upon conclusion of an investigation, terminating channels.”
Hobson is being held on two counts of molestation, seven counts of child abuse, five counts of unlawful imprisonment, and five counts of child neglect. Her sons are charged with seven counts of failing to report the abuse of a minor.