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People Are Accusing Parents With A Family "Prank" YouTube Channel Of Child Abuse

The couple who run the DaddyOFive channel deny any abuse, and have since deleted their "prank videos" and called them completely "fake."

Posted on April 20, 2017, at 5:41 p.m. ET

A recent "kids prank" video uploaded to the channel DaddyOFive has raised a lot of concern and criticism from the YouTube community. The video has since been deleted — but not before popular YouTube commentator Philip DeFranco pulled footage from it and called the stunt possible child abuse.

View this video on YouTube

The original DaddyOFive video was apparently published on April 12 and shows Mike and Heather Martin — the parents of five — pouring invisible ink on their youngest son Cody's bedroom carpet before accusing him of making the mess.

DeFranco's video response and recap pulled clips from that video in which mom Heather is seen screaming obscenities at Cody as she accuses him of creating the ink-stained mess. In the clip, Cody cries hysterically as he denies the accusation, but the parents continue their "prank" by calling him a liar.

"It's just a prank, bruh," Cody's dad Mike says eventually.

Shortly after publishing, the DaddyOFive video drew enough criticism that the parents uploaded another video responding to "the haters." (That one has also been deleted, but other YouTubers have since re-uploaded it to the site.)

YouTube: DaddyOFive

The follow-up video from DaddyOFive featured the Martins with all five of their children denouncing any accusations of exploitation or abuse of their children, and describing any concern as "hate."

"A lot of people don't get it, a lot of people don't get the humor," Mike says in the clip.

Heather jumps in and claims the accusations are creating the only issue for their children. "To all you haters, you're the ones who give our children drama," she said.

DeFranco, who was alarmed by both the ink prank video and their follow-up response, dug deeper into their channel and found other instances that he believed were cause for concern.


"As someone who was abused in their childhood, there are multiple ways to abuse your kid," DeFranco says in his video. "There's mentally and there's physically."

DeFranco pulls footage from other DaddyOFive videos that suggest their pranks regularly target Cody — who seems the most resistant to and outspoken against the pranks.

In one prank clip, Cody is seen being shoved into a bookcase.

After DeFranco's video and allegations went viral, YouTube account Drama Alert interviewed parents Mike and Heather. The couple denied any wrongdoing or abusive behavior. "The videos aren't fake, but some things are exaggerated," Mike said.

View this video on YouTube

"There's no abuse going on here, we're all just making videos and having a good time," Mike tells the interviewer.

Heather says viewers are "only seeing parts" of the captured footage, and of their lives.

When asked if Cody's reactions and breakdowns were real or fake, Heather responds, "Cody is going to grow up to be an actor, I'm pretty sure of that."

"Some of the videos his actions are 100% real, and some of them are exaggerated and he puts on a show," she says.

After backlash and child abuse accusations began to spread, the parents seemed to have deleted all of their videos — except for one. On Wednesday, Mike and Heather uploaded a video titled "Family Destroyed Over False Aquisations" [sic]. They said they've been harassed over these allegations — but this time they claimed all of the videos are entirely fake.

"The videos are fake, they're overexaggerated. Some videos are scripted," Mike says. He then goes on to say the ideas are conceived entirely by the kids, and they all "act it out."

Mike and Heather add they took down all of their videos to protect their family.

The parents end the video by apologizing to anyone they let down, and if they "hurt anybody." But they say they believe DeFranco is responsible for the online "witch hunt" against them.

"I'm sorry all this got out of hand — it wouldn’t have ever got this out of hand if it wasn’t for that DeFranco guy starting all of this, doing all of this to my family," Mike says. "He’s responsible for this."

But as more people watched the re-uploaded prank videos (including one that involved Mike telling Cody he'd put him up for adoption), the outrage grew. People are apparently reporting their videos to YouTube and/or to Child Protective Services.

If you haven't reported @MikeMartin1982 's channel DaddyOFive yet, I really urge you to go report his channel for Child abuse, Please.

I reported the #daddyofive channel on @youtube for child abuse.

There are, however, fans and other people online who are defending and sympathizing with the parents against all of the backlash.

@HeshdeSilva @MikeMartin1982 Ok so if they are being abused give me proof also your bio is bullshit like all u haters wanting to blame them

@HeshdeSilva @ImpulsexVisuals @MikeMartin1982 You are a horrible man. Mike is one of the best fathers on YouTube. W…

CPS Maryland, where the reports would be filed, told BuzzFeed News the law prevents them from confirming whether CPS is currently investigating the parents. They assured people that it's their "duty to conduct either an investigation or assessment if someone reports that a child is in unsafe circumstances," Vernice McKee, a rep for CPS Maryland, said.

please go report daddyofive on YouTube, he's physically and mentally abusing his children for money/views

BuzzFeed News has reached out to Mike and Heather Martin, as well as Philip DeFranco.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.