Everybody loves a good prank. Well … some people like a good prank. The purpose of a prank is not to be malicious or hurtful but, in the best of cases, to show some affection towards someone you care about. It’s all in good fun.
For the parents behind the popular YouTube channel DaddyOFive, the pranks they performed on their kids led them to be criminally charged for child neglect.
For anyone unfamiliar with DaddyOFive, the channel featured Michael Martin and his wife, Heather, performing various pranks on their five kids, two of which are Michael’s with another woman.
The channel, which was presented as a prank channel, featured the Martins physically and verbally abusing, taunting, and pranking their five kids. Though it’s presented as if it’s all in good fun, the kids don’t appear to be having much fun. In fact, it looks very much like the opposite of fun for these kids.
Two kids, in particular, are given more focus than the other three. These two are Cody and Emma, the two kids that Michael had with another woman. In many of the videos, which have since been removed, Cody is made the brunt of physical and verbal abuse. And when he’s upset, which is quite often, he’s told that he doesn’t get the joke.
The two most notable videos are when Michael shoves Cody into a bookshelf, causing a bloody nose, and another where he forces his other son to slap Emma in the face in what he calls a “game.”
The biggest problem was that the more upset the kids got, the more views the videos received.
It took some time to get attention to the abuse, but thanks to people like YouTuber Philip DeFranco, the proper authorities arrived at the Martin household, took Cody and Emma away from the violent home, and returned them to their biological mother. The Martins were then charged with two counts of child neglect.
The Martins vehemently denied these allegations, arguing that people just don’t understand the family, that the videos were taken out of context, and that they’re not abusive parents.
But after it became clear that the state had enough to convict the Martins of child neglect, the couple took an Alford plea, which is a plea wherein the defendants are allowed to claim innocence, but acknowledge that the state has enough evidence to make a conviction.
So, the Martins have been sentenced to five years probation. If they violate that probation, they could face up to 10 years in prison.
In order to maintain their income, which is entirely reliant on YouTube views, the Martins have resorted to pranking each other on their MommyOFive channel. But when viewing these pages, one can’t help but be aware of the vacant space that was once filled by crying children.
If you were to ask Mike Martin, however, he’d tell you, “It’s just a prank, bro.”