The lengths some media savvy users are willing to go to in order to gain views and followers is honestly appalling, however usually pretty harmless to everyone but themselves. Unfortunately, a popular YouTube channel has recently taken things a step too far, by sacrificing the wellbeing of their children for a quick buck.
Back in April, a well-known “kids prank” YouTube channel called DaddyOFive shared a video that sparked outrage and disgust among viewers. In the disturbing footage, two parents can be seen berating their children and have since faced several allegations of child abuse. After the overflow of concern from their followers and reports to the police, two of the children have been removed from the home and we can only hope they don’t suffer severe psychological damage.
Last month, a viral “kid prank” video posted by the popular YouTube channel DaddyOFive sparked outrage among viewers.
The original video has since been removed from DaddyOFive’s channel, but clips of the disturbing footage can be seen in the above commentary by Philip DeFranco. It shows parents, Mike and Heather Martin, pouring invisible ink on their youngest son Cody’s bedroom carpet before accusing him of making the mess. While this may have started off as a harmless prank, the tone changes drastically when Heather begins screaming obscenities at her son. Even when Cody becomes hysterical, both parents continue to scream, calling him a liar. The other children are so upset by the situation that they also begin to cry and only then, do their parents reveal it was all a prank.
Watching the video has honestly made me so uncomfortable and angry. Emotionally traumatizing your kids for a quick buck and some YouTube views is disgusting. Many viewers were understandably horrified by the parents’ behavior and insisted that they be reported for child abuse.
DeFranco decided to dig deeper into footage from other DaddyOFive videos and found that their pranks regularly target Cody — who seems the most upset and resistant towards the cruel behavior.
In one clip, Cody is even seen being shoved into a bookcase. Clearly, the abuse goes beyond emotional.
Following the allegations of child abuse, Mike and Heather have lost temporary custody of two of their children.
On Friday the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office removed Cody and Emma from the Martins’ home and placed them in the temporary custody of their biological mother, Rose Hall, Maj. Tim Clarke of the sheriff’s office told BuzzFeed News.
Hall’s attorney, Tim Conlon, shared a video on Monday explaining that the Frederick County Circuit Court had granted her an emergency order for temporary custody to protect her children.
“It was very heartbreaking and disturbing to see my kids being abused,” Hall said while fighting back tears. She later added that the children were doing much better since coming home and were “getting back to their playful selves.”
Hall also noted that, at first, Cody had a difficult time being separated from the Martins. “He said some things that were disturbing…that he hated me, that Mike and Heather told him that I threw him away like he was garbage and I didn’t love him no more,” Hall said. However, Cody began to calm down when his mother shared a child memento with him.
Clarke told BuzzFeed News that the sheriff’s office “had no issues with service.”
Mike and Heather Martin posted another video to their channel expressing their deepest remorse.
“This has been the absolute worst week of our life and we realized we have made some terrible parenting decisions and we just want to make things right,” Heather said tearfully. Um, ya think?
“We went from something that wasn’t so bad and then we kept going more and more for the shock factor versus reality to see what could get more views,” Heather admitted and added, “the kids kind of feel like some of it is their fault, and it’s not their fault. We’re the parents and we should have made better decisions.”
Heather also shared that they are currently in family counseling “not only to get through the media stuff but we need to come back together and have everybody, even the kids, to understand what we did wrong in all of this.”
According to BuzzFeed, the Martins are working with Fallston Group, a public relations and crisis management firm, which published a blog post on April 28, stating that the family “truly seemed to love each other but was in crisis and desperately needed stability and a return to normalcy for the kids.”
“They were caught up in their own characters and popularity – they were blinded by YouTube fame and again, upon reflection, made some very poor decisions,” the blog post said.
We can only hope they’ve learned their lesson and that their children can recover from this sickening cycle of abuse.