The star of the DaddyoFive YouTube page has lost custody of two of his children after a series of abusive videos went viral on the channel, showing Mike Martin and his wife Heather appearing to mentally and physically abuse their children in the name of getting views.
The channel, which had more than 760,000 subscribers, had been the subject of criticism after many pointed out that the pranks pulled on their children were cruel and damaging. The videos showed the parents yelling at the children, tricking them into frightening situations, and even physically hurting them at times.
A number of other YouTube stars had brought attention to the channel and the abuse it appeared to show, and the biological mother of two of the children soon took legal action. Rose Hall, the biological mother of 9-year-old Cody and his sister Emma, now has emergency custody of the children, the Independent reported.
“They’re doing good,” Hall said in a video alongside her lawyer “They’re getting back to their playful selves.”
As the Baltimore Sun reported, the DaddyoFive videos appeared to show the children being tormented.
“The viral outrage began after the parents posted a video titled ‘Invisible Ink Prank,’ in which Heather spilled invisible ink on the carpet. She and her husband profusely blamed the sons, screaming profanities, as the boys dissolved into tears and swore over and over that they didn’t do it. The parents begin laughing before Martin tells them, ‘It’s just a prank, bruh.'”
In another video, Mike Martin could be seen goading his son into slapping his young sister after a game.
“The video is set up by Mike who describes a very physical game of ‘Bottle Flip’ – if the person who flips the bottle does not get it to land upright, they get slapped in the face by their opponent. Already a questionable game for children to play, the challenge goes ahead and sees Mike’s only daughter, Emma, fail at the contest meaning Alex is ‘allowed’ to slap her in the face.”
The DaddyoFive clip was later deleted, but an archived copy was posted on the website We The Unicorns. The video showed Mike Martin demanding that his son, Alex, slap his young sister even as Alex pleaded that he didn’t hit girls and didn’t want to hurt his sister. Martin prompted the boy to slap the girl, which caused her to fall to the ground in tears.
The abuse continued after the slap, the report claimed.
“Emma is not comforted in the following scenes,” the report noted. “Alex has a water bottle thrown at his head by Cody who is also in the room. Mike can be heard laughing in the background at the events that just transpired.”
Other videos seemed to focus on emotional abuse of Cody. In one clip, Mike Martin destroyed his son’s XBox as the boy cried. In another video, they told Cody that the family would be going to Disneyland, but he would be left behind.
Heather and Mike Martin eventually deleted all the videos allegedly showing abuse and posted an apology claiming that they were all just pranks done with the consent of their children.
“The videos are fake. They’re fake. They’re over exaggerated. Some videos are scripted. They’re played out. The kids’ ideas, we act them out … We just wanted to make videos for you guys,” he said.
There was not yet word on who has custody of the other children living in the home with Mike Martin. To date, the DaddyoFive channel remains up on YouTube, with the apology video the only one available to watch.
[Featured Image by DaddyOFive/YouTube]