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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Baby Drowns While Mom Plays Game; Wife Beheaded in TV Station
Aired January 18, 2011 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, outrage as a mother is accused of letting her own baby drown while she played a game on Facebook. Was this online social networking site more important than her precious 1-year-old boy? Tonight, she`s claiming her son was independent and didn`t want to be a mama`s boy. What?
And a new horror in the war on women. A New York TV executive beheads his wife at the TV station they own, only a week after she serves him divorce papers. Tonight, this alleged monster faces a jury. You won`t believe what his defense team is claiming.
Also, a jaw-dropping plastic surgery nightmare. A woman accused of performing illegal breast and butt implants in her own home, allegedly using silicone she got in the mail. Cops say she had no medical degree whatsoever and was using tubs of Krazy Glue to seal the puncture wounds. Is this for real?
Plus, is Snooki getting paid $10 million just to glorify alcoholism? Cast members say she drinks every day from 11 in the morning until the wee hours of the morning. We`ll dive into her out-of-control drinking on "The Jersey Shore" and ask what message does it send?
ISSUES starts now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARGE MARTINEZ, WELD COUNTY SHERIFF`S SPOKESWOMAN: Estimated time of about three minutes or so. Didn`t hear anything. And when she went and checked on him it was at that point in time that he was face down on his side in the water.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a mother is behind bars as outrage escalates over sickening revelations about how her young son died.
Cops say this mother became so distracted while playing a Facebook game that she forgot about her infant son in the bathtub. By the time 34- year-old Shannon Johnson went to check on the little boy, he was face down in the water, gurgling and dying. He passed away a short time later.
Who puts a 1-year-old in a tub, then walks out, leaving him alone?
She told cops she left the bathroom to check on a friend`s Facebook status and to play the game Cafe World, which is kind of like Farmville. It`s one of those hugely popular time-sucking virtual games. Now this one involves operating your own restaurant. So this game was more important than watching her son in the tub?
Shannon Johnson told cops when she didn`t hear any sound from the bathroom after several minutes, she went to check on her son and found him sideways with his face in the water. By then it was too late.
Just last year another woman admitted she shook her 3-month-old son to death because he interrupted her Farmville game. What is wrong with these women? And how do these online games cause parents to lose all sense of reality and neglect their own flesh and blood?
I`m taking your calls on this: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297. Call me.
Straight out to Weld County Undersheriff Margie Martinez.
Your department is investigating this case. What is the latest? This is a gut-wrencher, a heartbreaker -- Margie.
MARTINEZ (via phone): This is an extremely tragic incident with a 13- month-old that was found to have drowned in the bathtub in the child`s own home. This was in September of 2010.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And why is this in the news now?
MARTINEZ: The autopsy report was just completed and an arrest warrant was issued within the last week.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And what did the child die from? Drowning?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Drowning. Didn`t her mom -- according to a police report I said, her own mother, the suspect`s own mother, warned her not to do this, not to leave the child alone in the tub, because the baby had a history of seizures. Is that correct, Margie?
MARTINEZ: My understanding is that the child had had one previous seizure about a month prior to this incident.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, one is certainly enough. And I don`t care if the child had any seizures at all, you don`t leave your 1-year-old in a tub and walk away and go to the living room to check on your friend`s Facebook status, allegedly.
What is she pleading, Margie?
MARTINEZ: She has not appeared in court to -- as far as I know, to make any pleas.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So she`s charged. We don`t want to convict her. We want to hear her side of the story. But cops did ask Shannon Johnson why in the world she would leave a 13-month-old baby in the tub unsupervised.
The arrest affidavit says she told the cops that, quote, "He really wanted to be left alone. He was a very independent baby."
And also cops say she said she didn`t want him to be known as a mama`s boy. Wow. This is a 13-month-old. Was he really that independent, a baby?
Can a 13-month-old, Dr. Cheryl Arutt -- and I know you`re not only a forensic psychologist, but you`re a mother yourself. Can a 13-month-old child articulate that he wants to be left alone and wants to exert his independence?
DR. CHERYL ARUTT, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, Jane, if you can`t be a baby when you are a baby, when can you be a baby? Babies at that age are -- they`re just starting to walk. They`re just starting to assert their independence. They`ll say, "No." They`ll say, "I want to do it myself."
But they still experience the mother at that age as a part of themselves, and they -- it`s very risky if the mother is misinterpreting that as independence when this is actually anything but. These kids need constant supervision. And it`s tragic that this happened.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Constant supervision. That means don`t leave the child in the tub for even one moment while you step out of the bathroom, much less go to the living room for ten minutes to check on your friend`s Facebook status and play a game called Cafe World.
ARUTT: Drowning is the No. 1 cause of death.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: For children around this age?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hi, Audra.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hi, there. What`s your question or thought, ma`am?
CALLER: Well, I just kind of am of the opinion that there`s way too many adults or young people that are having children that think that it`s OK for the bath to be a baby-sitter or video games to be a baby-sitter. Just because they want ten minutes of silence to do whatever, whether it`s playing games or whether it`s trying to eat their lunch, whatever. It`s just -- it`s happening way too much. And when is it going to stop?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I agree with you 100 percent. And this woman, however, was not a teenaged mom. She was 34 -- she is 34 years of age.
Now, this mom, Shannon Johnson, had reportedly been allowing her son to bathe alone for some time. Then he had a seizure, which you heard the officer say, and Shannon`s own mother, the little boy`s grandmother, told her, "Don`t do that. Don`t leave him in the tub alone. He could drown." But she did it anyway, allegedly.
So here`s my big issue tonight: are these people oblivious online? It`s like something happens when you`re online that makes you zone out to the real world, which they even call "RL," standing for "real life." There`s always that reward, you know, one click away.
Now, I`d like to bring in Ryan Van Cleave. You were the author of a great book that I read called "Unplugged: My Journey into the Dark World of Video Game Addiction." And I know that you contemplated and almost committed suicide because of your addiction to online gaming.
In your book you describe this idea of getting a hit after click after click. And there`s always another reward just lurking right around the corner. Explain to me this phenomenon, Ryan.
RYAN VAN CLEAVE, AUTHOR, "UNPLUGGED": Well, a lot of the games today are different than the games that came out in the `80s. A lot of those, you know, had the same and then more of the same. It kind of went that way. So all those games didn`t have a lot of replay value.
The people that are making the games today understand they got to keep your attention. And one of the ways they do this is with that random reinforcement. Just like the slot machines. You know, the next one might be the one where you get the pile of gold or the new sword or something. So you keep trying, thinking, "If I put more time in, I`ll be rewarded." And so you keep playing and playing. And we kind of end up to the point where you play so much that you don`t even realize how much you played any more. You get really hooked on them.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You almost committed suicide because of your video game addiction. Do you -- can you put yourself in this mother`s shoes and -- and -- because it`s incomprehensible to me. And I`m a recovering alcoholic. It`s incomprehensible to me that you could be so wrapped up in a game called Cafe World that you could neglect your little 13-month-old boy. Can you explain what was going on in her mind, allegedly?
VAN CLEAVE: You know, it`s hard to say. But I will tell you that people that I encounter -- I get lots of e-mails and I get phone calls all the time from people who are in crisis over an unhealthy relationship with video games. And I hear about people who go into, you know, almost like video game rage when their -- when people interfere with their gaming.
You know, it`s a lot like these, you know, little old ladies who go into road rage with a car. People get that way with their video games. So they could throw controllers. They could smash TV screens. And I`ve seen people and I`ve heard about people lashing out physically at others. And I think this is just on par with that kind of aberrant behavior they would never do, but they find themselves doing, and after the fact they`re horrified, because that`s not them.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you just mentioned it. What about this Facebook mom who shook her 3-month-old son to death because the child interrupted her Facebook game?
Listen to the reaction we found on YouTube about that horrifying case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t think she is qualified to be a mother. She obviously doesn`t know how to take care of a child responsibly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should she have shaken (ph) the baby? Definitely. I mean, he was crying, and that`s what a baby does. I mean, before you have a child, like, you should know what you`re getting into.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To be upset because her video game was interrupted is pretty -- it does seem pretty heinous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Alexandra Tobias pleaded guilty to shaking her baby to death after his crying distracted her from playing Farmville. Really? Harvesting crops is so important? Virtual crops? That it`s worth your child`s life? This is unbelievable. Cops say the crying was apparently enough to put her over the edge.
And guess what? Howard Samuels, I don`t think she`s alone. Because you know how many people are registered users of Farmville? Sixty-one million. Equivalent to the entire population of the United Kingdom -- Howard.
HOWARD SAMUELS, FOUNDER/CEO, THE HILLS TREATMENT CENTER: You know -- you know, Jane, I mean, this is such an example of addiction. I mean, talk about self-obsession, you know, OCD. I mean, it takes it to another level when you`re talking about a child and ignoring your child. This woman shouldn`t even be a mother. I mean, that`s what`s so disgusting about it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I don`t know about that. I have some theories. But first I want to go to Mary in Missouri. Your question or thought, Mary.
CALLER: No, I didn`t have a question. I did have a comment.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead.
CALLER: Maybe because I`m getting older, but I`m just getting tired of everything being referred to as an addiction these days. Internet addiction, video addiction. This addiction, that. People don`t want to take accountability any more.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me just say this. We want to understand why people do things. It doesn`t mean we condone it.
This woman, if what cops say is true, did a horrible thing, and she`s probably going to spend, what, 43 years in prison, and she lost her child. But we have to understand the why. You know why? Because if we don`t understand the why, we`re just going to allow people to continue doing the same thing over and over and over again.
As we get more people on this planet, that means more people are going to be doing the same stupid things. So we have to try to understand why. Why are people so obsessed with this stupid game that they`ll let their child drown, allegedly, in a bathtub?
Now, we`re very excited about a very special night here on HLN tonight and for the next ten weeks. Nancy Grace is on a mission to find America`s missing. Help find 50 people over the next 50 days. That is in the second hour of Nancy Grace, 9 p.m. Eastern. So keep it here.
More on this mother whose son drowned while she played on Facebook. And we`re also taking your calls on this. They`re lining up.
Then forget about selling Tupperware. We`re going to tell you about a woman who`s accused of, well, doing breast and butt injections out of her own living room and using Krazy Glue to seal up the puncture wounds.
The mom, who cops say couldn`t tear her away from a safe -- Facebook long enough to save her infant son from drowning. That is next, however. Check it out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTINEZ: Estimated time of about three minutes or so. Didn`t hear anything. And when she went and checked on him it was at that point in time that he was face down on his side in the water.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A little boy drowns in the tub while cops say his mom was playing on Facebook. She told cops that her one -- 1-year-old boy wanted to be independent, and she didn`t want him to be a mama`s boy. So she left him in the tub alone while she went into the living room and surfed the Internet, checking on friends` status and playing this game called Cafe World.
Jeff Brown, criminal defense attorney, some people say this is indefensible. What is going to be her defense, likely?
JEFF BROWN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, you know, there`s a history in the criminal justice system of mothers or husbands that are neglectful, and they either get called out of the bathroom for water boiling, food cooking or something like that. And they forget. They become neglectful. They forget the child`s in there. They get sidetracked. And then they come back in, and by the time they realize it, something tragic like this has happened.
So I think her defense is going to be based basically on that scenario, saying, you know, she made a horrible mistake. Obviously, she didn`t want her child to die.
The question for the jury and for a judge in this case will be whether it`s reckless disregard for the safety of her child, and that`s where the battle will be fought, whether that -- this rises to that level of reckless disregard or if it`s one of those events that happened, just -- that happens to some people, and it`s just a horrible unfortunate event.
BROWN: The big question here, though, is why is she -- why is she a mother if she doesn`t know better than to leave her 13-month-old in the bathtub?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Dr. Cheryl Arutt, I`ve got to say that she`s already suffered the worst penalty of all, losing her precious child. I mean, what a horrific penalty. And I think this is just a horrifically tragic case all the way around. Imagine her own mother, who had warned her.
Here`s the problem. I would say, well, people can do incredibly stupid things once. It`s a tragedy. It`s terrible. It`s horrible. But they did it once. But apparently, there`s evidence that she may have done this more than once, and her own mother had warned her not to do it!
ARUTT: And as you said, this is the worst price that she paid.
ARUTT: Drowning is the No. 1 cause of death. Drowning is the No. 1 cause of death for preschoolers in the U.S.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So apparently, parents are making this mistake a lot? Is that what you`re saying?
ARUTT: Yes. That is what I`m saying. That this has happened many, many times. It`s the leading cause of death for children that age.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right.
ARUTT: So this is -- it`s a terrible price. It`s a terrible, terrible price she`s paying. I`m sure she would give anything to take back what she`s done. And you know, it`s a tragedy.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So apparently, parents are leaving their kids quite often in the tub and jumping out for some reason -- the phone rings. "Oh, I`ll get the phone. I`ll come right back." And the next thing you know, "Oh, I haven`t heard from you in years." And then all of a sudden tragedy strikes.
So there is -- there`s really a lesson here. This is -- this is a horror story that we hope somebody out there is watching and will not leave their child in the tub as a result of seeing this story.
Marilyn in Ohio, your question or thought.
CALLER: Hi, Nancy. I really agree with you...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s Jane. But -- it`s Jane, but go ahead. Go ahead and ask the question.
CALLER: I have no question. I`m just agreeing with what you said.
And I think that this young lady, you know, she is 34. I think she`s -- she did get exactly what she wanted out of that game, which is total absolute absence from reality. Not being in the moment, enjoying her baby taking a bath. Those were some of the special times in my life was bathing my baby.
And I really believe that people in general, men and women and children...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right.
CALLER: ... are not getting enough out of the simple things of being in the moment. She had her mind on that game before she even put that baby in the bath.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You are so right. You know, this is happening all over the place.
This is a horror story. There`s a Nevada couple so addicted to playing this dark online fantasy game Dungeons and Dragons, they forgot to feed their kids. Michael and Iana Straw had plenty of food in the house. Cops say they forgot to give it to their kids, who were 1 and 2 years old. The 1-year-old girl weighed ten pounds. And doctors had to shave her head because it was matted with cat urine. These kids almost died.
The parents pleaded guilty to child neglect.
Ryan Van Cleave, you were there. You were in this.
VAN CLEAVE: It sounds so horrific. Yes, I mean, in the moment, you can make choices that in retrospect seem like the most bizarre things ever.
I mean, you know, I have a Ph.D. You know, I mean, I went to college. You know, I had a good job. I had good family and friends. But in the moment when I was gaming a lot, you know, 40, 50 hours a week, those things didn`t seem to matter any more. So my friends stopped calling. My family stopped spending time with me. My good job went way. I stopped playing basketball. My health went.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`ve got to leave it right there.
VAN CLEAVE: And at some point I finally realized I didn`t know them (ph).
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Don`t leave your kids in the tub.
Up next, a horror.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MUZZAMMIL HASSAN, CURRENTLY ON TRIAL FOR MURDERING WIFE: Derogatory comments were being made towards Muslims. And Aasiya at the time was 7 months pregnant. And felt that, you know, that would not be a good environment for her -- for her children to grow up in terms of good, strong self-esteem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is that man a killer? Those are the bone-chilling words of that New York TV executive, accused of viciously -- and I mean viciously -- murdering the wife he seemed to admire so much in that clip.
Tonight one of the most horrific examples on the war in women I`ve really heard of.
Aasiya Hassan predicted her own death. She feared her husband, that guy you just heard from, would kill her if she tried to divorce him. But she didn`t predict how she would die. Aasiya was beheaded inside the TV station she helped found with her husband. Yes, I said beheaded.
She had filed for divorce just one week before her body was found in that TV station. And now her husband, Muzzammil Hassan, is charged in her murder. And the trial is under way.
Now prosecutors say he is vicious and calculating, a killer who tested out hunting knives before using them to slaughter his wife. Hassan`s defense is, "Oh, I basically snapped and killed my wife in self-defense." Oh really?
Straight out to criminal defense attorney Jeff Brown.
Jeff, is a jury going to buy the self-defense defense when he beheaded, allegedly, his wife?
BROWN: Yes, he`s going to have a real problem with this defense.
You know, it is relevant what went on before they got into that studio, whether there were threats and what the environment was between them regarding domestic violence, but legally, what`s going to be focused on is what actually happened in that television studio.
And if he -- you know, if he`s going to claim self-defense, we have what`s called the Equal Force Doctrine, which means you can defend yourself but only with the force -- or equal force of what`s being used against you.
I haven`t heard any evidence that she was armed, that she had a gun, that she had a knife, that she physically attacked him. So for him to be able to use self-defense when he`s the only one with the weapon like this knife, I just don`t see this flying at all. And I think the jury will come back and convict him.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, here`s to that point. Hassan has reportedly fired three defense attorneys over the past two years. Probably to delay this day of reckoning.
One of his former attorneys suggested that Hassan was the victim of verbal and psychological abuse, claiming it was his wife who humiliated him over and over.
But it`s funny, because the victim`s sister is claiming that Hassan had another woman in his life, and his sister says Hassan forced his wife to listen to his flirtatious chatter with this other woman. So who`s the victim of abuse here? It`s funny. Sometimes the people who accuse their spouse of abuse are actually the abusers themselves.
BROWN: Yes. That often happens. You know, there`s a cycle in a lot of these domestic abuse cases when they try to argue the battered wife syndrome. And one of them is -- one of the cycles is that there`s this huge domestic violence that, you know, the spouse is battered up completely, and then there`s that whole forgiving stage.
I don`t know whether any of that even applies to this. I haven`t heard, you know, that he was beaten up, that there were bruises, that there`s witnesses that are going to testify to that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jeff, very quickly, I want to ask you, the beheading, how is -- only a couple of seconds. What`s that going to do to the jury?
BROWN: That`s just -- that just doesn`t fit a self-defense case. A self-defense case is that he`s coming after her with a knife or a gun, and she defends herself with a knife or a gun. The fact that he beheaded her, this just sounds like a brutal murder. And I think that a jury is going to laugh at any evidence of self-defense and come back with a guilty verdict.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m hoping for justice in this case. That poor woman and her family. Thank you, Jeff.
Looking to enhance your natural assets? Go to a real doctor! This is a horror story.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A jaw dropping plastic surgery nightmare. A woman accused of performing illegal breast and butt implants in her own home allegedly using silicone she got in the mail. Cops say she had no medical degree whatsoever and was using tubs of Crazy Glue to seal the puncture wounds. Is this for real?
Plus, is Snooki getting paid $10 million just to glorify alcoholism? Cast members say she drinks every day from 11:00 in the morning until the wee hours of the morning. We`ll dive into her out of control drinking on "The Jersey Shore" and ask what message does it send?
Falling off bikes, sneaking beers at work, making millions getting drunk on camera, are reality stars like Snooki making drunken stupidity cool?
First "Top of the Block" tonight. After two months of living in terror, police say the women of Philadelphia can breathe a sigh of relief. Finally cops say they`ve finally caught the man they believe to be the monstrous Kensington strangler. Twenty-two-year-old Antonio Rodriguez, seen here, was arrested on an existing bench warrant after an anonymous tipster led cops to him.
The notorious Kensington strangler started terrorizing Philadelphia last November, raping and murdering two young women just ten days apart, and then another woman in December. If this man is the killer, hats off to Philly police who have tirelessly hunted for this monster and also kudos to that anonymous whistle blower. Whoever you are out there, you`re a hero.
Police cannot solve all of these crimes alone. They do need your help. That is tonight`s "Top of the Block".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPENCER ARONFELD, ATTORNEY FOR OSVALDO VARGAS: People are not supposed to die undergoing plastic surgery and they`re certainly not supposed to die undergoing an elective cosmetic procedure as simple as this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight plastic surgery nightmare nightmares. Is a nip and a tuck really worth your life?
We recently covered the tragic death of Lidvian Zelaya, the 35-year- old who lost her life hours after a botched liposuction surgery.
And now this -- this takes the cake here. A New York manicurist charged with giving silicone injections to women right inside her Bronx apartment, Whalesca Castillo, who has absolutely no medical degree whatsoever -- she`s a manicurist -- allegedly told the women she could make their breasts and their butts bigger. The cost? About a grand for a round of shots.
Prosecutors charge if there was a wound to close, Castillo sealed it up using Crazy Glue. Investigators found dozens of these tubes of Crazy Glue in the trash near her apartment. Crazy Glue. Wait a sec. I don`t think that`s supposed to be used for plastic surgery.
Do you remember those commercials? Got to check it out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(ADVERTISEMENT FOR CRAZY GLUE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, we checked. No mention of plastic surgery there. Why would women subject themselves to these phony baloney cosmetic procedures done in somebody`s Bronx apartment? Were they really that desperate for a rounder butt or bigger boobs?
Investigators say at least one patient got a nasty infection after Castillo injected her. Another patient told cops she got so sick after she got shot up with silicone she called her in a panic. Castillo allegedly told the victim, whatever you do, don`t go to the hospital.
Straight out to plastic surgeon Dr. Linda Li. Doctor, how dangerous is this? Somebody with no medical training whatsoever, a manicurist, giving injections right in her apartment in boobs and butts? How dangerous?
DR. LINDA LI, PLASTIC SURGEON: It`s incredibly dangerous. People shouldn`t be getting injections in their home unless it`s by medically trained personnel or they`ve been trained themselves to give injections of insulin. It`s just ridiculous.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, yes. It`s ridiculous. And what I find fascinating is she allegedly charged a thousand dollars for a round of shot. Dr. Li, you could probably get a real doctor to do a very good job for a thousand dollars per round. That`s a lot of money they were paying.
LI: $1,000 is a lot of money. And what these women should have been doing is talking to board certified plastic surgeons about what was realistic and what could be done safely.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, they should be asking themselves why do you want bigger breasts and a bigger butt anyway? I certainly do not want a bigger butt. That`s one thing I`ve never desired in my life, quite the -- au contraire.
Here`s my big issue: you get what you pay for. We all love convenience. We all like discounts. But don`t go bargain shopping when it comes to your body. You can`t walk into somebody`s apartment and not see a medical degree anywhere hanging on the wall because she`s not a doctor or even a nurse. She`s a manicurist. You probably saw a lot of bottles of nail polish and cuticle snippers.
These women should have run out of the room at the first sight of, you know, the stacks of Crazy Glue above the cabinet.
I mean what is it about vanity that cancels out people`s common sense and I got to throw that to Spencer Aronfeld. I mean you`re a board certified trial attorney who has handled these plastic surgery suits. In this case I have to say, caveat emptor, they did not think about what they were getting into.
ARONFELD: Well, it`s caveat emptor to sophisticated people like you, Jane, but to the immigrant population that inhabits, you know, major metropolitan cities like New York or Miami, these are folks who come from countries where doctors practice out of their homes. And it is not unusual to have a surgical procedure done somewhere other than a hospital.
That`s the precise community that these people prey upon because they`re not sophisticated. They know no better. They don`t have access in their own language to find a board certified plastic surgeon. So they rely on this word of mouth.
And they`re so afraid of being turned over to the immigration authorities that they don`t report these events to the authorities, to the police. They don`t go to hospitals. And fortunately for this lady, she survived. But I`ve seen a lot of victims of unlicensed plastic surgery who have died.
And the butcher of South Beach down here in Miami nearly killed several people because they were afraid to seek medical care. And it`s the unfortunate fact that it`s hard for folks who don`t speak English, who aren`t from the United States, to understand how to obtain real, good plastic surgeon and plastic surgery help.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I agree with you. I mean you`re wondering if this manicurist knew how illegal and dangerous her alleged operation was. The feds say one victim got sick after an injection from Castillo. She felt a lot of pain, was unable to sit up. The woman had shortness of breath, she got out of bed, she fainted.
After her boyfriend revived her, the victim called Castillo in a panic. Guess what, the suspect told her, do not go to the hospital. It won`t help you because this procedure is illegal. Basically keep your mouth shut or you`re going to get me in serious trouble.
Now, here is the problem with that. Here`s the charge she`s facing: distributing adulterated or misbranded product. The maximum, I think, is three years. I mean give me a break.
Dr. Cheryl Arutt, three years, for this operation?
CHERYL ARUTT, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: This is putting people`s lives at risk. And I think the points about preying on these particular communities is a really important one because there are also many people who were doctors in their country of origin who are then also often practicing without a license and so some of the people are not making that distinction.
The medical boards are there to protect the public. Licensure is something that`s there to protect citizens. And I think when this woman who did this said whatever you do, don`t get medical care because they won`t treat you, she was preying on the fears that many of the people in these marginalized communities have.
And it`s really important that people remember that licensure and all of these things are really there for safety and protection.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, go to somebody wearing a white coat and has some degrees up on the wall. That`s what I say.
Sue, Canada, your thought?
SUE, CANADA: Hi Jane. I was reading your post on Facebook earlier this morning. And I must say my jaw just totally dropped after reading that comment. And I just really wonder where people are at these days, you know?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, absolutely. Here`s what I`d like to know from the doctor. Because first of all, according to this report, she was injecting silicone, liquid silicone into the breasts and the butt. Now, I`m not a doctor but I always thought if you want breast enhancement, you get breast implants. And that`s an entire surgical procedure and the implants are actually something that are implanted, they`re not injected.
LI: Absolutely. Free silicone injections to the breast are not recommended. And in fact free silicone injections anywhere is not FDA approved. So there is no board certified surgeon who would do that procedure.
We implant breast implants which are medical grade, completely sterile. And the chances of any kind of complications happening are pretty minuscule and done in the right --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So what is the proper way to do a butt enhancement? Aside from eating a lot which is usually way I handle it.
LI: Besides gaining a lot of weight, the other ways to enhance your butt is to put in a firm silicone implant or there is a fat transfer, where we take fat from one part of your body and put it into your butt so you look a little more like J.Lo.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I think the underlying problem here --
ARONFELD: Jane --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- is people trying to change themselves in that manner. I mean, why you would want to have a bigger butt -- it really is beyond me.
Spencer last word, go ahead.
ARONFELD: Don`t be fooled by a diploma on the wall, Jane, because my 8-year-old kid on her Mac computer, can make a diploma.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good point.
SPENCER: That -- it shouldn`t be just the litmus test.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, I mean, look I`ve had surgery.
SPENCER: You want to make sure they`re actually licensed.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what I do, I go online, I investigate.
ARUTT: Check credentials.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I find out what the track record of the doctor is, has he been sued or she been sued? I do an investigation. Should people - - Spencer investigate?
ARONFELD: They have to investigate. It`s the most important decision they`re going to make in their lives. They spend more time trying to find out, you know, who is the winner on "American Idol"; spend the time to find out who your doctor is. Are they licensed, are they insured. Do they have staff privileges at a hospital? Are they board certified?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you, fantastic panel.
Wow. Up next, does breakout reality show star Snooki glorify alcoholism? Does she have an alcohol problem? We`re taking your calls. She`s been spotted on her show fall-down drunk. We`re going to show you her -- literally half falling down on the sand, falling off a bike.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICOLE "SNOOKI" POLIZZI, REALITY STAR: I would definitely like to apologize to the Seaside cops. When I saw what happened and everyone told me what happened, I`m very embarrassed. This is not like me. I`ve never been in this situation before. So I definitely would like to apologize to anybody that I hurt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that was 23-year-old Snooki, adored by 8.6 million viewers who tune in to the alcohol and sex-driven "Jersey Shore" on MTV every single week. In that clip a remorseful Snooki apologizes to a judge for this behavior.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re getting our bathing suits. We`re getting our bath -- come on Nicole, really?
SNOOKI: I just want to find -- get the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off. Get off.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, where is she going?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s causing a scene. She`s placed under arrest. She`ll be taken to police headquarters, she will be processed and she will really (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like that, like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yikes. Snooki was charged with, among other things, annoying people. You think? As silly as it sounds, there is a deadly serious side to Snooki`s out of control behavior.
A cast member says she drinks from morning until night. Look at her. She can`t even get on that bicycle. Plop. This is beyond disturbing to anyone who has dealt with alcohol abuse such as myself; I`m a recovering alcoholic. Or what about parents who have kids to look up to? Kids look up to this girl.
She makes a reported $30,000 an episode, about ten -- what did they say, somebody says she makes -- she rakes in $10 million a year? Does this mean she is basically getting paid to be a drunk on TV? And is MTV complicit in glamorizing alcohol abuse?
ISSUES reached out to MTV for a comment about the show and Snooki. We did not hear back from either one by deadline. Look, there she goes off the bike. Get your training wheels Snooki or maybe get sober. How about that?
Call me, 1-877-JVM-SAYS.
Straight out to Rob Shuter, Pop Eater`s "Naughty but Nice" and columnist. Rob, is this getting worse with Snooki? I`ve got to admit, I don`t watch the show. What I do is I go on the Internet in the morning and if Snooki pops up as a nude item -- news item. Did I say nude item? A news item, I -- I looked at that clip and I can`t watch the whole show, though. I can`t bear to do it.
ROB SHUTER, COLUMNIST, POPEATER`S "NAUGHTY BUT NICE": I -- I watch this show. I`m -- I`m afraid to admit, I love this show. It`s such a guilty pleasure of mine. I think she`s kind of funny, I know you`re not going to like this. But I think I`m one of those eight million people that look at her and see this terrible mess and she kind of makes me feel better about my own life. I feel such less of a mess after I see Snooki.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you -- do you -- do you go out and have a drink after watching this show because you feel like, by comparison, I don`t have a drinking problem. I might as well have a couple of cocktails.
SHUTER: I actually, I think she`s a good advertisement in not to drink. Like when she watched this mess, the last thing you want to do is be that. I`ve been out with her actually in a nightclub in New York a couple of months ago and she wasn`t as crazy as what you see on this show.
So I think some of it is a little bit of an act, too.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, some of it ends up on the editing room floor. Obviously, when she falls down face down on the beach, or -- or slips off a bike, they`re going to use that clip.
Now, here`s a question, does Snooki have -- really have a drinking problem or is it just television and as you heard Rob suggest. Matt Lauer asked her that very question last week on NBC`s "Today", and she said, no, she chalked it up to being 23 years old. She also said, quote, "I only party during the summer like that. It`s never like this all year round."
Now last night as the drunken beach episode aired, Snooki tweeted, quote, "not my proudest moment, LMAO", which means "laugh my ass off".
You know, I`ve got to say, Howard Samuels, you`re an addiction specialist and the founder of The Hills Treatment Center. Here`s what scares me. She told Ellen that she blacks out and wakes up in garbage cans. And she wants to stop blacking out so she can remember the party.
Now, you and I are both in recovery. And we know what that sounds like.
HOWARD SAMUELS, ADDICTION SPECIALIST: I -- I mean, Jane, I mean, she`s such an advertisement for alcoholism. I mean, it -- it`s really sad that the producers would, like, create this character and feed her alcohol and that America loves watching a train wreck. I find the whole thing really revolting.
But it`s -- but not about her because she`s an alcoholic, but about the producers who are extremely irresponsible.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you bring me to my big issue. Does drunk equal good TV? All right? Check this clip out from MTV`s "A Shot of Love with Tila Tequila."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here`s the shot at love.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are things going to fall apart?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, "The New York Times" did a whole profile piece on how freely -- freely booze flows on these reality shows.
Stuart Brazell, you`re the host of "This Week in Reality TV, you`re a reality show casting agent. You know what goes on behind the scene. Do they pump them full of alcohol in order to get good television? Because drunk people are more dramatic, they cry, they fight.
Sober people don`t do all that stuff.
STUART BRAZELL, HOST, THIS WEEK IN REALITY TV: Jane, I think you said it right there that the best scenes out of all of these MTV, VH-1, "Jersey Shore" shows are when they are completely drunk and the girls go at one another and there`s fighting.
Do the producers feed them alcohol? Absolutely not. They have alcohol available and it`s up to the cast members how much they drink. But obviously someone like Snooki who loves to drink, they`re going to drink all day long.
I think the biggest red flag is when her cast member, J-Woww says, "You start drinking at 11:00 a.m." It seems like the only time she isn`t drinking is when she is passed out in her bed. I think she needs to take a look at herself.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, wait a second.
Stuart, let me ask you this question. You say they`re not feeding them alcohol.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, when you`re a guest here on ISSUES, there`s no alcohol in the greenroom. We don`t even give people a bottle of water because I don`t believe in plastic. We give them a little -- I don`t think we give them anything. We`re like, drink out of the fountain down the hall.
But we certainly don`t give them alcohol. Now, if you are saying they are making alcohol available, isn`t that the same thing as feeding somebody who has a tendency to drink alcohol?
BRAZELL: Well, it`s the same as these college kids that like to party. It`s basically partying in the same amount as our college kids these days but they`re doing it on TV. No one is saying, Snooki, you have to have five shots of tequila before you go out to the nightclub. She is doing it because she wants it, and I think that`s the problem.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The problem is she is, I think, encouraging other young people to drink on a binge level.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAMIAN MURRAY, SEASIDE HEIGHTS MUNICIPAL JUDGE: Your actions, I don`t know, you seem to be acting like a Lindsay Lohan wannabe in this matter. Going through life rude, profane, obnoxious and self-indulgent is not the way you want to live your life. And hopefully this incident will impress upon you that there are consequences to your actions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But is that bad behavior making her a superstar? In last night`s episode Snooki wanted to, quote, "funnel a beer" during her work day at the t-shirt shop. Check this out from MTV.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are you going now?
SNOOKI: I`m going to pee.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, you`re not, you`re funneling a beer.
SNOOKI: If I want to have a beer, I`m going to have a beer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s it. You`re staying all night.
SNOOKI: This isn`t like law school. This is a T-shirt shop.
I`ll do anything. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) lick the carpet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don`t think that would be problem? You`re ready to lick the carpets? This is called rock bottom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s called playing the fool and making millions doing it. Melinda, Kentucky, your question or thought, ma`am?
MELINDA, KENTUCKY (via telephone): Hi. I`m a college kid myself, and I see this show as purely entertainment. If the viewers don`t have enough common sense to learn from Snooki`s mistakes, then they shouldn`t be watching the show. I mean I just think it`s fun to watch, and you have your own mind to use not what these characters on TV do.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what, Melinda, you`re a young person and I respect your opinion but I disagree.
Howard Samuels, this whole notion of free choice, this is part of us being lured as a culture into addictive behavior, namely alcoholism, and kids die; many, many, many thousands of them every year because they watch shows like this. They imitate it. They get drunk and then they slam into another car and kill other people.
SAMUELS: Well, you know, Jane, I know a lot of dead people because I work in this field; and you know, you are so right. I mean what is horrible here is that, you know, it`s on TV because the producers are making a lot of money from her character and her acting out and the fact that they have alcohol on the set, I mean, please, there`s no alcohol on the set. Maybe "Two and a Half Men" has alcohol and cocaine but that`s probably the only set in town that does. Ok?
I mean this is a joke and it`s there to, like, tantalize. Everybody wants to watch a train wreck and that`s pretty sad.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And maybe we`re hypocritical because we`re going to watch more of Snooki falling down drunk on MTV`s "Jersey Shore". But hopefully we have a point here. Check this out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There she is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rob Shuter, you think some of this is an act but if you`re drinking it ceases to be a complete act because the alcohol is in your system, Rob.
SHUTER: Yes, the alcohol takes over and we see it here what a fool she is making of herself. I disagree a little bit with one of our guests on the panel.
I`ve been on reality shows, never as an actor or participant, but I`ve been in rooms and watch them shot. The liquor is ridiculous. The amount of booze that is being poured by producers and given out is really shocking. I`ve never seen so much alcohol in a place that happens on sets of reality shows. It`s extraordinary.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Too much booze on the set of these reality shows. All right. That`s the answer.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell. Thank you for being a part of our debate on ISSUES. That debate continues online. Check out my Web page, cnn.com/jane.
Nancy Grace producers on the ground in Texas with breaking news in the case of missing teen cheerleader Haley Dunn; "NANCY GRACE" starts now.