by Marianne Garvey | Fri., May. 20, 2011 9:37 AM
Botox Mom might not be cashing in on her bogus story.
A day after coming forward and saying she made up the tale of injecting her 8-year-old daughter with the wrinkle-removing concoction, Sheen Upton is getting stiffed herself—ABC says it won't be paying her the $10,000 the network's Good Morning America forked over
to secure her first TV interview as a "photo licensing fee."
Here's where things stand in the sordid saga.
As we reported yesterday, Upton says she was paid $200 by the U.K.'s Sun tabloid to front a story titled "I Give My 8-year-old Daughter Botox." Upton, using the pseudonym Kerry Campbell, quickly got offers to repeat her tale on TV, first on GMA and then on Inside Edition. The GMA interview in particular created a buzzstorm and child services temporarily removed Upton's daughter from her care (she now has supervised custody).
Faced with potentially losing her child, Upton says she decided to come clean this week, offering a signed affidavit to TMZ and documents purporting to show she was given scripted talking points.
Immediately, ABC and Inside Edition told E! News they were going to investigate, while the Sun released a statement insisting it didn't knowingly make up the story, instead shifting the blame to an unidentified "reputable U.K. news agency."
"The Sun strongly denies any suggestion it solicited or knowingly published a false story regarding Kerry Campbell and her daughter," the newspaper said in a statement. "The article was published in good faith, in common with a large number of other news organisations around the world, after being received in full from a reputable U.K. news agency.
"The agency reporter watched Ms. Campbell administering what appeared to be Botox to her daughter and provided compelling photographs. At no point did The Sun have any direct contact with Kerry Campbell or Sheena Upton.
"The Sun is investigating the circumstances surrounding this story and consulting with lawyers on possible legal action."
Now today, facing lots of blowback for not fully vetting the story—and for using the common practice of paying a large photo-licensing fee to avoid the appearances of paying for a news interview—ABC is trying to take the offensive.
"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," ABC spokesman Jeffrey Schneider tells the Hollywood Reporter. "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. So with all these open questions, we're going to hold [the money] back."
Upton had bragged on the show that she gives her wannabe beauty pageant daughter Britney regular injections of the muscle freezer to keep her face looking baby-smooth.
Apparently the only thing frozen now is that check.
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