Gloria Allred seeks to block the octuplets' mom from "exploiting" her kids on reality TV

By Johnny Dodd
Updated May 04, 2009 05:45 PM

Octuplets mother Nadya Suleman has something more than multiple bottle feedings and diaper changes to deal with: Attorney Gloria Allred filed a petition in Orange County Superior Court Monday requesting that a guardian be appointed to protect the rights of Suleman’s eight infants now that their mom is reportedly moving forward with plans to film a reality show.

“Rather than choosing to provide her children with a normal life, their mother has chosen to commercially exploit them and it appears she plans to continue commercial exploitation of them in the future,” Allred said during a press conference held in law offices. “If she doesn’t protect their rights, the courts will do it for her.”

Allred filed the petition on behalf of her client, Paul Peterson, a former child actor turned activist for minors working in the entertainment industry. At Monday’s press conference, both she and Peterson insisted that an Orange County-based guardian – whom they’ve selected – is the best bet the octuplets have to ensure that the money they earn as participants in a future reality show isn’t spent or wasted by their mother.

“I’ve been concerned about this since the get-go,” said Peterson, a former Mouseketeer who starred on the popular Donna Reed Show in the 1950s and 1960s. Peterson claims he first contacted Allred about the matter after the media circus that erupted when the first two of Suleman’s octuplets returned home March 17.

Allred claims that Suleman violated a number of California labor laws by allowing her infants to be filmed on several occasions by the media late at night and without the presence of a studio teacher. She insists that a court-appointed guardian, paid on an hourly basis, will make sure that this sort of situation doesn’t happen again. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for June 22 in Orange County Superior Court.

“Nadya is doing the best she can,” says her attorney, Jeff Czech. “Nobody has those children’s best interest closer to her heart than she does.”

The octuplets make their debut