A father and step-mom have lost custody of his children due to their abusive YouTube videos.
The children were the 'stars' or 'victims' of popular YouTube channel DaddyoFive, which has 760,000 subscribers.
The children were subjected to cruel “pranks” and filmed for the family’s YouTube channel. The videos have been taken down but there were reports of the children being cussed and screamed at for things they did not do in order to get a reaction.
The videos showed the father, Martin, ‘pranking’ his youngest children while the older son filmed. Some of the pranks included Martin telling his nine-year-old that he was adopted to another family, pushing him and bloodying his nose (Martin claimed the blood was fake), smashing Cody's X-box with a hammer, accusing Cody of spraying his room with ink when he didn't and yelling and swearing at him.
Cody usually ended up crying and upset and in one video he cried 'I hate my life just kill me' as his father harassed him.
An online petition received over 19,000 signatures to get CPS to investigate the family. Martin posted a 20 minute video calling out the “haters” and claiming that 'This is how we run our house, this is our family'.
The step-mother, Heather, defended her language in the same video claiming that the children heard worse words in songs and on TV. The father and step-mom also assured viewers that the children pranked them back just as much.
The pair also claimed that the children were involved in the video selection process and excited to see how many views a post would get. The couple made approximately $200,000 to $350,000 annually from the channel, according to New York Magazine.
'We could give them a whole lot more than we could before,' Heather said of the money. 'We just felt like we were doing the best thing we could for them.'
The video that caused a major online backlash was a video posted on Aprl 21st. It shows Heather as she holds up disappearing ink and explains that Cody had gotten in trouble for ink on the floor recently and that they were going to prank him by pouring ink then yelling at him.
She spreads the ink on the floor of his room then yells at him to get the f*** up to his room. The gag went on for 6 minutes as both Heather and Martin yelled and cussed at a crying Cody, they finally told him it was a joke at the end.
The children’s biological mother, Rose, posted a video to YouTube with her lawyer to give an update on the situation and to thank the YouTube community for helping her children out of the abusive situation.
Statement on DaddyOFive YouTube Page:
"What started out as family fun and entertainment took on a life of its own. Before we knew it, we were caught-up in our families popularity which led to some poor decisions. Upon reflection, we realize there were mistakes made that caused our family some pain; we offer our most humble and sincere apology to those we negatively impacted and offended, particularly our wonderful children. Our children are safe. Off camera and out of character, they are normal, happy kids who play sports and love being with their family and friends. Thank you for your understanding as we work through this difficult time."