05 Mayo 2017 11:19
Image credit: Dailymotion.
Online jokes rubbing people up the wrong way or causing offence are nothing new, but when children are involved, the argument is about more than just the acceptable boundaries of humour.
That's exactly what happened with DaddyOFive, a controversial YouTube channel run by two parents who have now had the custody of their children taken away from them because the 'jokes' they played on the kids were considered by many to be closer to child abuse.
So, what's it all about?
The controversy erupted a few weeks ago, when DaddyOFive uploaded a video of themselves playing a practical joke on their kids. The mother, Heather Martin, deliberately spills ink on the carpet. She then calls for Cody, one of their sons, and begins yelling and swearing at him, accusing him of having done it. Cody protests his innocence, eventually breaking down in floods of tears. At the end of the video the boy's dad, Mike Martin, cackles before confessing – in a tone that's far from reassuring – 'it's just a prank, bruh!'
Mike's nine-year-old son, Cody, is usually the victim of these supposed practical jokes.
Many in the YouTube community began speaking out, claiming that the children, especially Cody, were being abused physically and psychologically. The video we described above has now been removed for breaching YouTube guidelines, but you can see some of it in this clip compilation by Philip DeFranco.
The controversial content has won the channel around 800,000 subscribers, which means the couple behind the videos made profit from them.
Heather and Mike's response
Mike made a video reply, berating the 'haters' who just didn't get their family's sense of humour. He goes on to explain that Cody and the other children were completely fine with the prank. Heather asks the kids: 'Was anybody traumatized?' The children reply 'No' but then Cody adds: 'I don’t even know what that word means, but no.'
'[Our videos] are edited to make it look like it's a lot worse than it is. We are also a family and we are also trying to make a YouTube channel. They're not fake, but some things are a little exaggerated,' Mike explains. Keemster defended the parents at first, but he changed his mind after seeing a video of the children beating each other up.
All of DaddyOFive's videos have been deleted, except one in which Heather and Mike – having now lost custody of the children – finally take responsibility and apologise for their actions. Rose Hall, the biological mother of Cody and Emma, now has sole custody of the children.
'They're doing good,' Ms Hall says in the video where she appears with her lawyer. 'They're getting back to their playful selves.'