Monetizing Child Abuse: Why DaddyOFive Disgusts Me

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I greatly dislike YouTube prank channels. Pranks are all well and good, but most of the time those prank channels are scripted and fake, and it annoys me that they try to pass things off as authentic. I’m all for entertainment, but stop trying to pass off ‘social experiments’ that you’ve concocted in a script and editing room for documentary-style truth.

However, I have never hoped for videos to be fake more than when I first stumbled onto the DaddyOFive videos. The YouTube channel sported a combination of personal vlog and prank videos, the latter consisting of a Maryland father and mother pulling pranks on their five children. I use the term ‘prank’ loosely, of course, because if anyone has seen the videos, they would know that these are not pranks.

DaddyOFive, identified by the Philly Voice as Mike Martin, has (or rather had) over 750,000 subscribers for the verified account. The majority of the time, Martin’s videos contained set-ups for outrageous situations so that he and his wife, Heather, could then scream and berate their children, provoking horrific emotional reactions for their own amusement. They cruelly destroy the children’s possessions, frame the kids for bad behavior before shouting at them, and in one particularly cruel video they convince the children that they are under a Purge-style attack, terrifying the little ones and arming them with baseball bats and other weaponry to defend themselves.

Typically, I prefer to list the facts of a situation as objectively as possible before interjecting my own opinion, but in this case, there really is no other way to describe these videos. When pitching this topic idea to the editor here at TrigTent, the possibility of things getting blown out of proportion was discussed. We’re all familiar with the internet mob, and unfortunately, it’s rather disturbing how difficult it can be to distinguish between what’s real and what’s scripted these days. Upon research though, the few videos that I managed to watch made me not only uncomfortable, but rather emotional. I wanted to give this guy the benefit of the doubt, but it’s next to impossible.

It all started with a video posted April 12, entitled “Invisible Ink Prank! (Epic Freakout).” Father Mike and mother Heather spray the floor of their son Cody’s bedroom with invisible ink, and then proceed to film 6.5 minutes of deranged screaming and their son’s terrified response.

“Get your f–king a– up here!” Heather shouts down to the kids. “What the f–k did you do?! What the f–k?!” she screams repeatedly, as her husband films.

“What the hell is that,” Mike says, panning out to a mess of strewn Uno cards and fake ink spilled everywhere.

“I didn’t do that!” Cody says, breaking down in tears and clutching his chest in fear. “I swear to God I didn’t do that!” he explains frantically. “Mom and Dad, I didn’t do that! I swear!” His siblings in the frame of the camera are visibly distressed, with one brother even starting to get upset as well. Cody’s denials only send his parents into further fury, as they lay into the boy.

“You're writing a thousand sentences,” Mike yells. “I'm gonna have to sell all your Pokemon stuff!” The bewildered boy breaks down in tears as the prank drags on, before Heather finally reveals that she sprayed the disappearing ink on the floor.
“It's just a prank, brah,” the dad tells the stunned boy. “You guys got pranked hard.”

Yeah brah, because watching Cody get tomato red in the face, crying and screaming and physically frightened is just a bucket of laughs for everyone.

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