Published at RGQ today:

Someone once said we would all be given 15 minutes of fame. But with so many people now inhabiting our lovely planet, it seems there aren’t enough 15 minutes to go around. Some people come up with really weird ways to capture some fame.

According to Mary Pemberton writing for the Associated Press, Jessica Beagley was seeking out her 15 minutes and may have gotten more than she bargained for.

The 36-year-old mother from Anchorage, Alaska wanted to get on the Dr. Phil show. She is the adoptive mother of seven-year-old twins who came from Russia. She also has a daughter, aged 10. The family consists of four biological children and the two adopted boys who were adopted in 2008.

Dr. Phil aired a show in April of 2009 titled “Angry Moms” which dealt with angry mothers. Beagley contacted the show in order to get on the air but was not contacted by anyone from the production company. Apparently this is a hot topic and Dr. Phil was revisiting it again in the fall of 2010.

A year and half after contacting the show concerning her anger status, the show called Beagley to see if she was still angry, she claims. Beagley submitted audition videos (I didn’t realize this was part of the process) and was told that yelling wasn’t what they were looking for. They needed to see her punishing her son.

Beagley set the stage, getting all her props ready and asked her daughter to film the punishment. The eight-minute video began with Beagley confronting her son, Kristoff, about school misbehaviors and lying. She then poured hot sauce into the crying child’s mouth and did not let him spit it out for more than a minute.

Apparently to cool him off, the mother then forced the screaming child into a cold shower and sent him to bed.

The video worked and she was flying to Los Angeles within days. The show aired on November 17, 2010.

Prosecutors have brought a case against Beagley for misdemeanor child abuse. They say this punishment was doled out for the sole purpose of getting on the Dr. Phil show; the punishment was vindictive and was outside the bounds of normal activity.

Beagley’s lawyers claim she was just trying to get help for her son. She and her police officer husband had tried numerous other more traditional methods of discipline such has time outs, spankings, and revocation of privileges. Kristoff’s twin more easily adjusted to life in America. However, they claim Kristoff was defiant and would misbehave doing such things as urinating on the floor.

After the show aired, Russians were outraged and demanded the children be returned to Russia. Recently, Kristoff has been diagnosed with a reactive attachment disorder and is now in therapy.

There was no mention in the article about where Mr. Beagley was during any of this and it seems no charges have been filed against him.

Mrs. Beagley’s lawyer says the child did get in trouble at school on the day the video was shot and that his mother was not just punishing him to get on TV, but rather to help him learn how to behave.

Do you believe this was child abuse? Should the twins be removed from the home? If so, where should they go – back to Russia or into foster care? Can their father protect them adequately if they remain in the family? What restrictions should be instituted? Or is this all just making a mountain out of molehill?

What would you do to get on television? Would all this be worth your 15 minutes of fame? Do you watch Dr. Phil or any other reality shows? Have you ever wondered how they got people to appear on them?