A Maryland couple who ran a monetized YouTube channel called “DaddyoFive” featuring videos of their family life with their five children have found themselves in hot water. The father and stepmother recently lost custody of two of their children after posting a video that showed the couple playing mean tricks on the children. The videos have been taken off the channel, but clips can be found showing the pair preparing disappearing ink and using it to accuse their 9-year-old stepson of ruining their carpet. They scream at him and he is shown crying and declaring his innocence. Eventually, the parents reveal that it is disappearing ink. The couple made several prank videos and others where they scream at their children and push them around. The 9-year-old boy received the brunt of this negative attention.
Others in the YouTube community viewed the video and found it cruel. One YouTube star became concerned and talked about the children in his own video. More than three million people viewed his video and became engaged at the issue, banding together to bring attention to the couple’s apparent mistreatment of their children. In an interview with Time magazine, the YouTube star who voiced his misgivings about the couple’s behavior said, “It was one of the most concerning things I have seen in a long time. I was horrified.”
An online petition was started demanding an investigation of the family by Child Protective Services. The couple, who reside in Damascus, Maryland, defended themselves saying that the children enjoyed participating in the videos and called the pranks “harmless.”
The biological mother of the 9-year-old boy and his 12-year-old sister, who has also been featured in some of the videos, reported she was heartbroken to see her children being abused. Both children are now back with their mother after she obtained an emergency custody order. In a YouTube video of her own, she appeared with her lawyer to let everyone know that the children are with her and are doing okay.
The father and stepmother issued a public apology and made an appearance on a morning television show where they insisted that the videos were not a true reflection of their family. They said that the children’ emotions were exaggerated for show as were the videos. The stepmother acknowledged the poor nature of the videos and the need to reevaluate their parenting decisions. For his part, the father said that the videos started off as family fun, but that being a YouTube star pushed him to make each video crazier than the next.
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