YouTube star loses custody of kids after physically, emotionally abusing them in ‘prank’ videos

YouTube stardom is a strange thing. Where else do racists get famous for playing video games, or millions of people tune in to watch an Australian guy tap wooden blocks together? PewDiePie and ASMR are yesterday’s news, though. The latest trend sweeping the video upload site, apparently, is abusing your children.

DaddyOFive, a YouTube account with more than 800,000 followers and millions of views, began in 2015 and mostly consisted of gaming videos shot by Mike Martin, a father of five from Baltimore. As time went on, Martin began shooting “prank videos” with his wife, mostly of his children. But these were no Jimmy Kimmel “we ate all your Halloween candy, kids” prank videos. These featured Martin and his wife screaming and cursing at their kids for faked transgressions (making a mess in the rec room, etc.) or telling them they were adopted. They often ended with the kids in tears, at which point Mike would say “It’s just a prank, bro.”

The videos started getting a lot of traffic after being posted to Reddit, and the Martins began upping the intensity of the videos, focusing on the youngest child, Cody. The older kids started to get in on it, often hitting or pushing Cody after being egged on by their parents. In one video, Mike himself can be seen pushing Cody into a bookshelf, after which his nose starts to bleed and blood is seen all over his pillow.

All of the videos were taken down from the DaddyOFive account last week after viewers started criticizing them as child abuse. Another YouTuber, Philip DeFranco, highlighted a lot of the deleted troubling videos in a post that his since been viewed more than 3.4 million times, and at some point, CPS must’ve gotten wind of the whole thing because Tuesday, there was only one video posted to the Martin’s account.

Cody’s biological mother confirmed to the Independent that he and his sister, Emma, have been placed with her after she requested emergency custody. “They’re doing good,” Rose Hall said in a video with her lawyer. “They’re getting back to their playful selves.”

Before posting the apology video, the Martins had made another in which they said anyone who didn’t enjoy their videos were “haters.”

[screen shot: DaddyOFive]