Popular YouTubers Mike and Heather Martin, who run the channel “DaddyOFive,” have lost custody of two stepchildren over videos depicting what was deemed to be abusive behavior. The kids’ birth mother Rose Hall announced she has emergency custody in a video posted Monday.
“They [my children] are doing good,” she said. “They’re getting back to their playful selves.”
Her attorney Tim Conlon said he thought the children “are sort of in a deprogramming sort of mode for the moment.” Hall said this was true, and that the DaddyOFive videos — which have since been removed — were “heartbreaking” to watch.
According to Hall, a son claimed she didn’t love him.
“He said some things that were disturbing,” she said. “That he hated me. That Mike and Heather told him I threw him away like he was garbage, and that I didn’t love him no more.”
“Was anything of that true?” Conlon asked.
“No,” Hall said. “That’s not true at all.”
We reached out to the Martins through their YouTube account regarding this video.
Footage shows the Martins screaming at their five children (including the two stepkids) as part of pranks. They would scream at their kids, making them cry, before telling them it was a joke. The couple says some videos were scripted. Even now, they have 763,668 subscribers as of Thursday afternoon, but they scrubbed the channel. Only one video remains: Their apology from April 22.
“I understand how everyone feels,” Mr. Martin said. “I acknowledge and I respect how everyone feels about this, and I do agree we put things on the Internet that should not be there. We did things that we should not do.”
“And as a mother over the last week, looking back at the videos, and just thinking about things, if I didn’t know the people and I saw some of those things, I would be thinking the same thing,” Ms. Martin said. “I would be [thinking], ‘Oh my God, those poor children.'”
Heather said that after their initial success, they escalated things too far in an attempt to get more views with “the shock factor” as opposed to depicting reality. They announced that they’re in family counseling.
“We just want to give our kids back some type of normalcy,” she said, adding that they thought YouTube would make them happy. “We went about it the wrong way.”
As of Thursday, the video collected 30,452 likes, compared to 166,366 dislikes.
[Screengrab via DaddyOFive]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected].com