Biological mother Rose Hall says she has gained emergency custody of the two youngest children who appear in the controversial DaddyoFive YouTube videos. (Ulysses Muñoz / Baltimore Sun)
Two additional YouTube channels from the creators of the controversial “DaddyOFive” videos were removed Wednesday.
The channels by Michael and Heather Martin, “FamilyOFive” and “FamilyOFive Gaming,” were taken down Wednesday, a spokesperson for YouTube confirmed.
“Content that endangers children is unacceptable to us. We have worked extensively alongside experts in child safety to make sure we have strict policies and are aggressively enforcing them,” a YouTube spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “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 Martins, the couple behind “DaddyOFive,” were convicted of child neglect in 2017 and are serving five years of probation. The “DaddyOFive” channel, which was also terminated, included a collection of more than 300 “prank” videos that showed the Martins destroying an Xbox, and berating and cursing at two of their five children. Other videos showed Michael Martin pushing his son Cody Martin into a bookcase, giving him a bloody nose, and ordering one of his stepsons to slap his daughter, Emma Martin.
“What happened more than a year ago was devastating to our family,” Heather Martin said in an email. “Back then, we made some terrible parenting decisions then focused on healing and moving forward.”
Posting social media videos of Cody and Emma would have violated the terms of the Martins’ probation. But the latest videos, heavily promoted on Michael Martin’s Instagram page, appear to have featured his three stepsons.
“The decision to come back to YouTube was not taken lightly, it was a family decision,” Heather Martin’s emailed statement said. “The three children involved in our current channels are happy and eager participants. We have never forced them to be on YouTube, it’s their passion. FamilyOFive and FamilyOFive Gaming was in fact their channel, their hobby and what they looked forward to each day. ”
Lindy Angel, chief attorney for sexual offenses and the family violence unit for the Frederick County state’s attorney’s office, said the Martins were not entirely prohibited from creating social media videos. Angel represented the state in the case against the Martins last year.
“It would have been permissible for Martin to record the … older boys as long as the subject matter did not approach the kind of abusive yelling and humiliation that the original videos depicted,” she said in an email. “I was not aware that anything of that nature had been recently posted.”
It’s unclear how long the newer YouTube channels operated. Links to the “FamilyOFive” and “FamilyOFive Gaming” channels and links to videos Michael Martin posted on his Instagram were broken Thursday morning.
“This video is no longer available because the YouTube account associated with this video has been terminated,” a message on several of Martin’s links to recent YouTube videos read.
The Martins also have a “FamilyOFive” channel on Twitch, another video streaming website. There were no videos posted to the channel as of Thursday morning, but a warning on the page indicated the videos were for “mature audiences.”
Heather Martin said in an email she was disappointed that YouTube removed its channels, and the family has appealed the decision.
“I am sorry that our return has upset some people, that was not our intention,” she said in an email. “However, there are many, many more who currently enjoy the entertainment value. We just want our kids to know that there will be times in life that you fall flat on your face. There will be times where you mess up and it is your fault, but you have to live with the consequences and take responsibility — we did. However, during those times, I also want my children to know that they are strong enough to get up, dust themselves off and move forward.”