'GMA' Won’t Pay $10,000 for Botox Mom Photos; Investigating Claims
ABC won't pay $10,000 for photos of a mother who admitted on Good Morning America that she gives her 8-year-old daughter Botox injections after the mom claimed later it was all a hoax, a network rep tells The Hollywood Reporter.
A woman, who said her name is Kerry Campbell and that she's a part-time esthetician, told the U.K. Sun and then Good Morning America that she gives her child injections to help her win beauty pageants. Then, she recanted her stories in video statements to TMZ.com, admitted her real name is Sheena Upton and said it was all fake to earn money.
Now, ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider tells The Hollywood Reporter the network won't pay the $10,000 photo licensing fee to a British booker for the story. (Schneider says they did not agree to pay Upton directly.)
"We had agreed to pay a $10,000 licensing fee to a U.K. freelancer for the pictures, but obviously in light of everything that's happened, zero money has been sent that way," says Schneider.
"We have a contract with the freelancer, which obviously stipulates that the images depict what they purport to show, that there's no staging in any way," he goes on. "So with all those open questions, we're going to hold [the money] back."
Upton tells TMZ that the U.K. Sun offered her $200 to make up the story, a false name (Kerry Campbell) and agree to be photographed holding up a syringe to her daughter's face at a nail salon.
"Honestly, I don't even know what Botox is," Upton told TMZ. "I was scripted to do everything."
The Sun, however, said it was considering legal action and denied "any suggestion it solicited or knowingly published a false story regarding Kerry Campbell and her daughter. The article was published in good faith, in common with a large number of other news organizations around the world, after being received in full from a reputable U.K/ news agency," the paper said in a statement to The Associated Press.
ABC tells THR of claims the story is false: "We're investigating that vigorously. We did a piece [Friday] morning on Good Morning America that included all of this latest reporting. We have on-camera statements from the freelancer in the U.K. who says it's real and that she witnessed it. And obviously the statements from the mother on TMZ that broke late [Thursday] night saying the opposite."
"We have one goal: To get to the bottom of this," adds the rep, "and to share with our audience any new information and development we can uncover."
Upton’s child was taken away by Child Protective Services after the story aired, and then later returned. TMZ reports Upton took her daughter to a UCLA dermatologist Wednesday, who ruled that the 8-year-old had not had Botox injections. "A report of this examination was given to the Child Protective Services," Upton told TMZ.
The story was Lara Spencer’s first big piece since she started as ABC’s lifestyle correspondent on May 9. It made instant headlines for its shock value and was used across ABC News platforms including GMA and Nightline.
ABC News’ hidden camera show What Would You Do? mined the botox controversy in a recent episode where the set-up had parents pressuring their teenage daughter (they were all actors) to get botox.