Reality show star Kate Gosselin, already under investigation by Pennsylvania's Labor Department for possibly breaking child labor laws, is defending herself over new magazine photos that show her presumably spanking one of the sextuplets and talking to a police officer.
According to the latest issue of In Touch Weekly, which published the photo, the embattled mother of TLC's Jon & Kate Plus 8, lost her temper with Leah, one of the sextuplets, after the five year old wouldn't stop blowing a whistle while Gosselin was on the phone.
The magazine quoted a witness saying Gosselin grabbed Leah and hit her, after telling Leah twice to stop. "The girl was screaming and crying," the witness said. "Kate just pushed her away and walked off with her coffee. Her older sisters were trying to make Leah feel better."
Gosselin responded to the brewing controversy on Wednesday in a statement posted on the Web site for Life & Style magazine.
"Whether the paparazzi are there or not, I am a mother first. I love my children and when they misbehave, I discipline them as I deem appropriate for the situation," she said through her reps.
TLC's spokeswoman Laurie Goldberg also told ABCNews.com that Gosselin called police, presumably around the time of the incident, "because the paparazzi were trespassing and blocking the street."
In the last several weeks, the Gosselin family, including husband John, has faced a whirlwind of negative publicity, including allegations of infidelity as well as claims that they are using the popular reality show to exploit their children.
The headlines initially helped boost ratings for the show. Nearly 10 million viewers tuned in to the season five premiere almost three weeks ago to watch the obviously tense and noticeably distant parents try to get things back to normal after discussing their marital problems.
But for recent shows, neither of which addressed their marital problems, viewership has declined – with only 2.9 million viewers tuning in for the last episode.
It seems the family just can't catch a break.
Last week, John Gosselin responded to allegations that he and his family had been mistreating their German shepherd puppies, Shoka and Nala.
A June 4 interview published on People.com in which Gosselin said that his kids often "beat" their dogs sparked an outcry of complaints to the local branch of the Humane Society.
"Those kids beat them up, climb on them, pull their tails, bite at them, drag them around and everything you can imagine not to do to an animal, they've done," said Gosselin, who described the dogs as "loyal creatures."
Karel Minor, the executive director of the Humane Society of Berks County, Pa., told ABCNews.com that community members have been complaining about how the Gosselins treat their dogs.
"We received about a dozen complaints," said Minor.
Minor confirmed that the two dogs have licenses in the area where the Gosselins live and that they are up-to-date on their vaccinations.
"We have no credible reason to believe in any way that there is cruelty going on," Minor said.
Gosselin, in a statement released to ABCNews.com, sought to "set the record straight" regarding the mishandling of his family pets, stating that his previous remarks about his kids were taken out of context.