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I don’t have children. Sometimes I regret not having a child but these days I’m mostly glad because, after the hell that my ex-husband put me through over the past few years, I would’ve really dreaded having to face that asshole on a regular basis regarding the children. I also would’ve had to face the possibility of periodically going back to court over child visitation and custody issues because my husband left me for a seriously mentally ill woman and he married her just two months after our divorce was final. I would’ve been really concerned about exposing a child to whatever drama that would result from having a seriously mentally ill stepmother.

There are too many people who have no business ever becoming parents but they have one or more kids anyway and it’s the children who usually suffer. A case in point is a YouTube controversy that originally started last year but it has continued into this year. Here’s a quick recap.

A YouTube channel was created in 2015 called DaddyOFive. It was a series of videos featuring the real-life adventures of Mike Martin, his wife Heather, and their five children (hence the name). The videos were supposed to be light-hearted entertainment featuring a fun yet quirky family.

One regular feature of these videos had the parents playing pranks on one or more of their children. The videos began to gain popularity and the parents were able to make revenue from their videos.

As time went on, the so-called “pranks” took on a more disturbing tone and they became more and more controversial. The shit really began to hit the fan last year when popular YouTube commentator Philip DeFranco made this video questioning whether these “pranks” are actually child abuse. (This video have a few brief excerpts from the video where one of the kids was targeted in a “prank” that involved invisible ink.)

When DeFranco’s video went viral, there was more public scrutiny aimed at Mike and Heather Martin over allegations that their kids were being abused on video while profiting off of that abuse. The Martins responded to DeFranco’s video by blaming him for the public vitriol being aimed at them. DeFranco responded with a second video where he included more disturbing scenes from other DaddyOFive videos, which included the couple’s only daughter being slapped in the face by her brother after prompting by their father, one of the smaller boys being body-slammed to the ground by his larger brother, and one of the sons asking his father to leave him alone and stop filming him only to have the father continue putting the camera on the boy.

That second video only added fuel to the fire. It turned out that two of the children were Mike Martin’s from a previous marriage or relationship. (I wasn’t able to figure out whether he was ever married to that previous woman or not.) They were also the same two children who bore the brunt of those so-called “pranks.” The children’s biological mother soon got wind of the existence of those videos and she responded by getting a lawyer and filing for sole custody of the children, which she ultimately won. Here’s the biological mother’s brief interview on Good Morning America from last year, where she explained how she felt when she learned about her children’s appearance in those videos.

On top of it, the local authorities began to investigate the child abuse claims. What’s really embarrassing is that I learned that these two so-called “parents” lived in my state (Maryland).

Ultimately Mike and Heather Martin removed most of the videos from the DaddyOFive channel with the exception of a video featuring just the two of them where they apologized for their videos. A few months later they were sentenced to five year’s probation for child neglect. As part of the probation, Mike and Heather are not allowed to contact Mike’s two children in any way unless a judge authorizes it first.

So things died down a bit regarding DaddyOFive. There were no new videos uploaded and the couple seemed to keep a low profile for the rest of 2017. Sometime after the controversy and receiving probation Mike and Heather Martin took the remaining three children and moved from Maryland to West Virginia. Okay, I can understand that decision to some extent because that move gave them the opportunity to make a fresh start in their lives and put the recent past behind them. If they had stayed off-line, they probably would’ve eventually fallen into obscurity.

But that didn’t happen. The family re-emerged online just one year later with two new video channels—FamilyOFive and FamilyOFive Gaming. I can understand the name to some extent since Mike, Heather, and the three sons are now a family of five. But I find it mind-boggling that Mike and Heather would give both of those channels a similar name to the DaddyOFive channel that got them into trouble in the first place.

It wouldn’t be long before Philip DeFranco began to devote a video to FamilyOFive, especially since this new video series included footage of one of the sons being hit hard in the groin with a ball.

But, wait, there’s more. Amanda the Jedi made this video featuring more disturbing footage involving the three sons under the guise of “entertainment.”

In addition, local station WUSA9 started to extensively cover the story and they contacted YouTube and the local authorities in the couple’s former (Frederick County, Maryland) and current (Berkeley County, West Virginia) residences for their responses regarding the matter.

In any case, YouTube finally pulled the plug a few days ago and took down all of the DaddyOFive/FamilyOFive channels and banned Mike and Heather Martin from the platform. I applaud YouTube for making that decision. Child abuse should never be considered entertainment and people should not be allowed to profit from it.

While it’s great that Mike and Heather Martin are gone from YouTube, this story doesn’t exactly have a happy ending. If you conduct a YouTube search under DaddyOFive, you’ll see that many of the original DaddyOFive videos have been re-uploaded on to YouTube by people using names like Team Takedown, Post, DaddyOFive Re-uploaded, ToxicFaygo 29, Legendary Posts, daddyofive archive, That One Guy, Fire Phoenix, polly annner, and DaddyOfive ReUploading. And these re-uploaded videos are just the tip of the iceberg, which once again proves the adage that the Internet is forever and it’s the children who will suffer the most for years to come.

There’s something else that I also find concerning. If Mike and Heather acted atrociously towards their children in front of the camera, can you imagine what family life is like when the cameras are turned off? I really believe that the three remaining children should be removed immediately from their parents and placed either with other relatives or in foster homes so they’ll have a chance to lead normal lives without having a camera focused on them while they are being abused by their so-called “parents.”

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