Original article from Independent
A family has lost custody of two children featured in a series of “prank” videos, which some said actually showed child abuse.
The YouTube account “DaddyOFive” became wildly popular in recent weeks after posting videos where two parents played “pranks” on their children. In particular, they would accuse one child, named Cody, of a range of bad behaviour – and then punish him physically and emotionally for it.
Now Rose Hall, the biological mother of 9-year-old Cody and his sister Emma, says that she has obtained emergency custody of her children.
“They’re doing good,” Ms Hall says on the video where she appears with her lawyer. “They’re getting back to their playful selves.”
DaddyOFive’s creators, which included Cody’s father, claimed that the videos were harmless pranks and that the children didn’t mind taking part in them. But a range of prominent YouTubers said that the videos depicted abuse – pointing to videos where the parents scream and swear at the kids, tell them they are going to be adopted and one where Cody’s father appears to push him into a bookcase.
The videos gained the channel almost 800,000 subscribers and millions of views, as well as supporters who said they enjoyed the stunts being shown in the video. But they also attracted detractors, including YouTube star Philip DeFranco, who released a video editing some of the more horrifying clips together.
That video was viewed more than three million times and brought widespread condemnation of the DaddyOFive channel.
As well as the apparent developments between the parents of Cody and his sister, the Martin family posted a video on their DaddyOFive channel apologising for what they did, and appeared on US TV. They said that they were unaware of the effect the videos would have on their children and apologised for them getting out of hand.
The rest of the videos have now been removed from the channel and the apology has been viewed almost two million times.
The Martins had initially said that the people who opposed the videos were “haters” and that by criticising the stunts they were in fact upsetting the children more.