Joann Killeen is president of the Killeen Furtney Group, the Los Angeles, California-based public relations firm that represented octuplet mom Nadya Suleman.
Suleman, who underwent fertility treatment, gave birth to six boys and two girls January 26 in Bellflower, California. She already had six children at home. The Killeen Furtney Group recently stopped representing Suleman because of death threats that came in to the firm’s office, Killeen said Monday on CNN’s “Larry King Live.” Following is an edited transcript of Killeen’s conversation with King: Larry King: When you did this show February 3, you were representing her. Now you’re not. Why not Joann Killeen: Well, Larry, the number of death threats that came into our office, both by e-mail and voice mail, we had to make a decision about what was in the best interests of our own personal safety and that of our firm. So we met with the police department on Friday. We filed a criminal report. We provided them with all the information with all the threats. And they told us that we should take this very seriously. King: Why you and not her
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Killeen: Well, they’ve also threatened her. But the majority of the threats are coming to our office. I mean, Nadya doesn’t have an e-mail account. She doesn’t have a computer. So there’s no way to reach her. So the closest thing they can do is come after me. And they have — and just in painful, painful ways. King: How would do you characterize the nature of the threats Killeen: Well, they’ve said to me that I should be put down like an old dog, I should be paralyzed, my client’s uterus should be ripped out, she should be put on an island. I mean, Larry, I don’t know what’s happened with America, but they are really, really angry and letting me know what they think about this issue. King: Do you take special security precautions Killeen: Yes, I do. Yes, I do. We have extra patrols on our street. … We’re very conscious. The police department has been absolutely wonderful to work with. They’ve given me a special number to call if anybody stakes out my house, as they have before. I’ve been followed by paparazzi. I’m not a celebrity, so it’s a different position for me to be in. King: How did you inform Nadya that you were no longer. … Killeen: Well, we talked on Friday. And she’s had death threats, and I’ve had death threats. And she’s very upset that someone would come after us and come after her. I mean she says: “I’m just a mom. I don’t know why everybody is so upset. I’m just a mom trying to do the best job that I possibly can.” Watch Killeen explain that no money has been made off the publicity » King: Why do you think people are so angry — crazy enough, angry to threaten killing Killeen: Well, I think they are frustrated by a lot of things. When the news came out that Nadya was receiving some state disability from an injury and that she was trying to rehab and find a new career and go to school and she also had children at the same time, I think the taxpayers just absolutely flipped out and said, you know, we’re paying for this and we’re not getting our own fair share of government services. We pay a lot of taxes, the economy is bad, there’s no jobs. They’re angry. King: If you’re getting threats, what do you imagine she’s getting Killeen: Well, and I’ve seen them, because, again, there’s no e- mail account. So they’re sending them to me. … People will call my office and just say profanity on the phone. And with caller ID, I know exactly who they are. Others have sent handwritten notes to me with horrible words that I never would repeat on the air, Larry. And they even put their return address on them so — as if I’m going to return that call. King: What about the stories that she’s obsessed with Angelina Jolie — even had work done on her face to look like her more Killeen: You know, I asked her about that. And she just laughed. She said remember, with the octuplets, I put on 100 pounds — a hundred pounds of extra body weight for my babies. So of course things are going to look a little different than they did when I first started. King: She does look like her. Killeen: Well, I think hair and makeup, you could probably look like anybody you’d want to look like. She has said to me she has not had plastic surgery of any kind. And so I have to believe what my client tells me to be factually correct. King: So the only reason you’re out of this is threats on you and the firm, not because of any qualms with her Killeen: Oh, no. Not at all. Larry, I just can’t run my business and continue to do the things that I need to do for my clients with constant death threats and phone calls and interruptions. You know, I took on this account because I’m a mom and a grandma, and I wanted to help someone who needs help with the media. I did this pro bono. I’ve made no money. I have no intention of getting any money. And I think people need to realize I just did this out of the goodness of my heart to help a woman who didn’t know how to work with the media. King: Does she keep in touch with the father Killeen: The sperm donor King: Yes. Killeen: They have a very limited relationship. He’s not active in their life at all. King: Why are we mad at her Killeen: That’s a good question to ask America. If you look at the e-mails that are coming into my office, they’re saying they think that she’s worked the system. They think that she’s been able to stay home and live off of the taxpayers and have these multiple children. She’s not organized. She doesn’t have any kind of structure, you know; isn’t six children enough She intentionally went out to get eight children. And, you know, remember, Larry, she worked with the same doctor for every [in vitro fertilization] attempt. Based on her history of six embryos implanted, she got one child. The doctor told her the most this last attempt would be would be either one baby or twins, at the most. So she was shocked, he was shocked. Nobody expected eight children. That’s the big — big misnomer here. Everybody thinks she went and ordered eight and she got eight. She didn’t. King: Where does she go from here
Killeen: Well, I’m confident, as we continue to talk, that there are resources that are available to her, and she will collaborate with, you know, church leaders in her area. And hopefully the American public can get beyond their anger about her choices and her decisions and think about those eight little kids, Larry. You know, it’s all about those kids. That’s the whole reason why I took on this account, was to help the mom with those eight little kids.