|Machelle Hackney Hobson|
|Died||November 12, 2019 (aged 48–50)|
Scottsdale, Arizona, U.S.
|Origin||Maricopa, Arizona, U.S.|
|Occupation(s)||YouTube personality, comedian, director|
|Subscribers||Channel terminated (800,726 at peak)|
Last updated: March 20, 2019
The Fantastic Adventures scandal was a 2019 scandal involving the YouTube channel Fantastic Adventures, run by Machelle Hackney Hobson of Maricopa, Arizona, in the United States. The scandal began when one of Hobson's biological children contacted the police after witnessing her adopted siblings being systematically abused by her mother. Hobson and the channel garnered worldwide media attention, given the degree of Hobson's child abuse.
On June 17, 2012, Machelle Hackney Hobson created a YouTube channel, Fantastic Adventures, which would feature videos starring her seven adopted children. The channel ultimately attracted more than 800,000 subscribers, more than 350 million views, and netted at least tens of thousands of dollars in revenue.
In 2017, one of the children involved in Hobson's videos was seen running naked through the neighborhood, raising suspicion among the neighbors as to some sort of impropriety. According to the Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS), Hobson was investigated by DCS on nine separate occasions, but no definitive evidence of abuse was found.
In March 2019, after receiving a tip from Hobson's biological adult daughter, Megan Hobson, police arrived at the Hobson home for a welfare check. On seeing the children, police noted that they appeared to be malnourished, and several of the children reported that Hobson had subjected them to physical abuse. One daughter stated that, on one occasion, Hobson had applied pepper spray to her vagina, and a son reported that Hobson had subjected him to beatings and pinched the tip of his penis with her fingernails until it bled. The children reported that Hobson would frequently abuse them when they refused to perform in "Fantastic Adventures" videos and when their performances did not meet Hobson's standards.
Hobson and her two adult biological sons, Logan and Ryan Hackney, were arrested. Hobson was charged with 30 felony counts related to the abuse, and her sons were charged with failure to report their mother's abuse.
In May 2019, Hobson suffered a non-trauma-related brain injury at Pinal County Jail, and she was transferred to a local hospital. Her health subsequently deteriorated, and a judge declared her "incompetent to stand trial but restorable"—a designation that gave state officials 15 months to restore Hobson to legal competency. Instead, Hobson died in a Scottsdale hospital on November 12, 2019, and the charges against her were dismissed as a result of her death.
In April 2019, the charges filed against Hobson's adult sons for failure to report child abuse were dismissed, but in May 2023, prosecutors filed charges against the two Hackney brothers for multiple counts of sexual misconduct with minors. Their indictments were sealed, and the identity of the victim (or victims) was not initially made public.
- Torrie Taj, CEO of Child Crisis Arizona, called the mother behind the scandal a "master manipulator" and stated that Hobson did not have the qualification to adopt children.
- YouTube announced that it would be working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to find any users who were abusing children and that anyone who was convicted would have their channel terminated.
- DaddyOFive, a similar scandal involving a channel carrying out child abuse on YouTube
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