Popular YouTuber DaddyOFive is issuing an apology after losing custody of his kids for online pranks that have been deemed abusive.
Mike Martin, along with his wife Heather, lost custody of his two kids Emma, 12, and Cody, 9, after years of subjecting them to mean-spirited pranks for views on the video platform.
Their biological mother, Rose Hall, has regained custody of the kids on an emergency custody order and explained that the children need extensive counseling.
"They’re getting back to their playful selves,” Rose said, before her attorney added, "The kids are in a deprogramming sort of mode in the moment."
Cody, the youngest of the five children, which also include Heather's three sons from a previous relationship, was usually the target of the extensive pranks, which included convincing him he would be adopted and not bringing him along on a family trip to Disneyland. In another disturbing video, a teacher sends a note home revealing that Cody is harming himself, and his dad just makes fun of him on camera.
"The world does not revolve around you," Mike screams at a visibly upset Cody.
In an apology video, Mike and Heather admit they were going for the "shock factor" and regret posting the videos to YouTube.
"This has been the absolute worst week of our lives and we realize that we have made some terrible parenting decisions and we just want to make things right," Heather said. "As a mother, over the past 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 things."
According to New York Magazine, the parents were earning roughly $350,000 per year from their popular channel, from which the incriminating videos have since been deleted.
The family is also currently under investigation by Child Protective Services. However, YouTuber Joy Sparkle BS, who has been documenting the abuse on her channel, claims Mike has been charged with domestic violence and possibly on the run with the other three kids.