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Publicists for octuplets' mother quit over death threats

Brentwood couple say they received threatening e-mails and phone calls soon after they began representing Nadya Suleman and set up a website for her.

February 15, 2009|Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Two Brentwood publicists said they dropped octuplets mom Nadya Suleman as a client Saturday because they have received a slew of death threats.

Suleman, a 33-year-old Whittier resident, was unmarried, unemployed and already had six children using a sperm donor when she gave birth to eight children from the same donor Jan. 26 at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Bellflower.

Joann Killeen, president of Killeen Furtney Group, said she and husband Mike Furtney decided to drop Suleman early Saturday. Soon after the births, the couple began representing Suleman for free, and almost immediately started receiving threatening e-mails and phone calls from people enraged over the octuplets saga, she said.

"They hope I die, they hope my business goes under, they want to rip her uterus out," Killeen said. "They say I should be anesthetized and put down like a dog."

Killeen said she and Suleman felt so threatened that last week they stayed at an undisclosed "secure location" for a few days before returning home. The babies are still being treated at the hospital, Killeen said.

After creating a website for Suleman on Tuesday, Killeen said, she received 55,000 e-mails, most of them negative, and she has stacks of angry mail.

Killeen said she and her husband became afraid enough to send their dogs to a kennel. On Friday, they contacted the Los Angeles Police Department, and officers told them that the threats were the worst they had seen since the O.J. Simpson case, Killeen said.

"The American public have just lashed out," she said. "I think it has to do with the economy, healthcare -- there's not a lot of jobs, people are unemployed and are trying to take care of their families."

Suleman has hired the Franklin, Tenn.-based Ambassador Agency Inc. to arrange a book deal and manage her appearances, Killeen said.

Ambassador represented an Iowa couple who had sextuplets in 1995 and the Rev. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Valley Community Church in Lake Forest, who spoke at President Obama's inauguration. The agency's president, Wes Yoder, did not return phone calls Saturday.

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molly.hennessy-fiske @latimes.com

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