Parents convicted of child neglect over YouTube pranks still made more videos
In 2017, a Maryland couple who regularly pranked their children and filmed it to post on YouTube were convicted of child neglect.
The YouTube channel, DaddyoFive, run by Michael and Heather Martin, featured their children sometimes crying because of the pranks. It was later taken down.
After their conviction, two of their children were taken from them, and they were told they couldn’t make more videos with their remaining three children.
But earlier this week, a Canadian vlogger, Amanda the Jedi, raised a red flag about the Martins’ newest YouTube channel, FamilyOFive.
“It seems to be a lot of set up situations like, ‘We’re exposing [one son’s] text messages to his girlfriend!’, and basically a bunch of situations designed to embarrass the various kids,” she said in a video.
“There is still footage of kids freaking out because they are being harassed.”
While a description of the channel says “children will not be target of any pranks displayed on this channel, NOT even staged!” videos on the channel featured things like one of the Martin children taking a hit in the groin from a ball, CBS affiliate USA9 news reported.
Another video, where a “child appears to be harassed by family members to the point of emotional meltdown,” also appeared on the channel, USA9 said.
The videos have since been removed and the FamilyOFive channel, and an affiliated FamilyOFive Gaming channel, have been suspended for violating community guidelines.
In response to questions about the video, Heather Martin sent a statement to CBS News, saying, “YouTube is something [they] enjoy as a family.”
“Our family has worked very hard to heal and reestablish ourselves over the past 18 months. Through a lot of hard work and introspection, we are all doing well, and are happy,” the statement read.
“YouTube is something we enjoy as a family, and we will continue to do it, within the strict boundaries we have set for ourselves. For the sake of our privacy and continued healing, I have no further comment or anything past, or present at this time.”
In a statement to USA9, Google, YouTube’s parent company, said “Content that endangers children is unacceptable to us.”
“Given this channel owner’s previous strikes for violating our Guidelines prohibiting child endangerment, we’re removing all of his channels under our Terms of Service,” the statement read.
Other YouTubers applauded the removal of the channels.
Philip De Franco of the Philip De Franco show said, “Good on you YouTube.”
“It is a bit late — and by a bit, I feel like I’m being very giving there — but good!” he said on his channel.