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RadarOnline reportedly paid $40,000 to talk to octuplet grandma

February 12, 2009 |  2:43 pm

Earlier this week, RadarOnline, the reborn Web-only edition of the celebrity magazine that folded last fall, landed quite an exclusive: an interview with Angela Suleman, who castigated her daughter, Nadya, for giving birth to octuplets without having the means to care for all her children. The interview, which was posted on RadarOnline on Sunday night, was picked up by ABC's "Good Morning America," which paid what the network said was a "nominal fee" to license the footage.

Paying such licensing fees for photos and videos is a common practice among morning news programs, which use them to skirt news division policies that prohibit paying for interviews. But now it appears that ABC may have paid to license an interview that was purchased outright.

According to Joann Killeen, Nadya Suleman's publicist, RadarOnline gave Angela Suleman $40,000 for the exclusive.

"I had to put a gag on Nadya's mother, who sold her out to RadarOnline," she told LA Weekly. "They paid her $40,000 to sell [Nadya] out, and she can't talk about her daughter for three months."

In an interview earlier this week, RadarOnline managing editor David Perel said his organization paid the celebrity photo agency Splash News to license photos used in the piece, but refused to say whether Angela Suleman herself benefited financially. When pressed by a reporter on the subject, he hung up the phone.

An ABC News spokesman today reiterated that the network paid simply to license the footage, but had no other comment.

-- Matea Gold