Octuplets' Mom: The Mother of All PR Nightmares
Today Nadya Suleman revealed the location of her in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic (Beverly Hills) and RadarOnline quoted her mother calling Nadya's decision to have a multiple pregnancy -- when she already has six children -- "unconscionable." By now the early current of public resentment against Suleman has become a riptide. The initial public and media response to the January 26 octuplets birth was euphoric. That lasted about a day. Then the story began incubating a dark life of its own and soon gave birth to an array of fears and resentments, set against the backdrop of uncertain economic times. At first, perhaps because of the hospital's Bellflower location and blackout of news about the mother's identity, some responses took on ugly nativist and racial overtones.
"Were they in espanol?" KFI talk-show figure Kennedy sneered when reporter Eric Leonard said he'd heard the mother's first public words, through a Kaiser spokesperson.
The three-day news vacuum that followed the births and the
disclosure of Nadya Suleman's name was plenty of time for people to
have second thoughts about the in vitro method the mother had used. It
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seemed test tubey, Brave New World-ish - unnatural. And it wasn't
simply callers to AM radio who complained - fertility experts began
questioning the ethics of planting half a dozen frozen embryos into a
But then, thanks to information from Suleman's mother, Angela, and through Nadya Suleman's own conversation with Today's
Ann Curry, the American Living Room heard more about the strange
details about the mother. What it heard, it did not like. Nadya
Suleman, it turned out, was unmarried and obsessed with having babies.
She was also unemployed and living with her parents.
The public response accelerated into a firestorm in the blogosphere
and elsewhere. Some images of the eight infants, swathed in sheets (and
sometimes with a money bag superimposed by them), made them look like grubs.
Californians bemoaned the medical and living expenses they were certain
they'd be footing, yet condemned Suleman's efforts to earn money for
her expanding family by hiring publicists. According to one of
Suleman's flacks, she has received death threats. Talk-show queen Laura Schlessinger's blog ("Disgusted With Octuplet Mom" ) decried the fact that Suleman's babies weren't ripped away from Suleman in the hospital and placed for adoption.
A "guest blogger" to MomLogic.com named Samantha announced, "I'm Pissed I Paid for the Octuplets' IVF." Complained Samantha:
"I assume the IVF treatments were funded by [Suleman's] state
disability payments. I helped fund those, since I live in the same
state she does and pay taxes through the nose. Speaking of nose, it
looks to me like she had hers done. And her plumped-up lips don't
exactly look natural, either. Did my tax dollars pay for plastic
surgery as well?"
At this point it seems Suleman seems only
slightly more popular than Casey Anthony or Susan Smith. Calls to Nadya
Suleman's publicists, Joann Killeen and Michael Furtney, went
unreturned by the time of this posting.
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