In Quest for YouTube Views, Couple Loses Custody of Kids

YouTube stars Mike and Heather Martin lose custody of 2 of 5 kids after abuse allegations
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2017 8:03 AM CDT

A Maryland couple famous on YouTube for what they originally painted as "pranks" on their kids have lost custody of two of their five children after a public outcry, the Independent and Washington Post report. Rose Hall of North Carolina, the biological mom of 9-year-old Emma and 11-year-old Cody—who were seen in the DaddyOFive videos being yelled at and perhaps even physically abused—gained temporary emergency custody of the children on Friday from Mike and Heather Martin, per the Frederick County Circuit Court in Maryland, where the Martins live. The videos on the DaddyOFive YouTube channel, which has more than 760,000 subscribers, had become "wildly popular," the Independent notes, but things began to come apart after another YouTube personality, Philip DeFranco, posted a video compilation of the Martins' worst antics on April 17 and more people started to take notice.

"This has been the absolute worst week of our life," a tearful Heather Martin says on a video posted on the DaddyOFive channel less than a week later, husband Mike at her side; all their other "prank" videos have since been removed. She noted they'd made "some terrible parenting decisions" and become carried away with "the shock factor" to get more views—a stark difference from a since-removed video (clips can be seen in DeFranco's video) in which they taunted the "haters." Per the Post, Hall first alerted authorities in October about the DaddyOFive videos, which she also began commenting on. Other YouTubers helped raise funds for her legal representation and called Tim Conlon, the lawyer who helped her get the kids. In a video update Monday with Hall, Conlon says Emma and Cody are now "deprogramming" while a CPS probe is ongoing. (Five YouTube stars making big bucks.)

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