|Born||Michael Christopher Martin|
December 17, 1982
Maryland, United States
|Residence||Falling Waters, WV|
|Occupation||YouTube personality, vlogger|
|Height||62 in (160 cm)|
|Subscribers||Channel Terminated (713,000 at peak)|
|Total views||6.9 million+|
|Subscriber and view counts updated as of May 21, 2018.|
FamilyOFive, formerly known as DaddyOFive, was a YouTube channel and online alias of Michael Christopher "Mike" Martin (born December 17, 1982), which focused on daily vlogging and "prank" videos. At its peak, the channel's videos featured Martin, his wife Heather Martin—also known by her online alias MommyOFive—and their children. In 2017, following claims that the parents were abusing their children in the "prank" videos, the channel became the center of a public controversy, as many saw their content as extreme in nature.
Created in 2015, the channel achieved success earning up to 176 million video views and around 750,000 subscribers at its peak. However, after the aforementioned controversy, all videos on the channel were removed, and the Martins stopped producing videos on the channel, aside from a formal public apology video. Mike Martin and Heather Martin took an Alford plea in September 2017 in regards to two counts per person of Maryland state child neglect charges and received supervised probation for five years.
The Martins ceased creating content on the DaddyOFive channel as a result of court ordered probation, but began producing similar content on a new channel called FamilyOFive, which was terminated by YouTube in July 2018 following renewed interest in the family. However, the Martins have an official website, and a gaming channel on Twitch.
Creation of channel and rise in popularity
The channel was created on August 13, 2015; the channel's about page says, "we as a FAMILY DECIDED to make this YouTube channel just for fun." The channel focused on Mike Martin, his wife Heather and their five children: Jake, Ryan, Emma, Cody, and Alex. Mike and Heather Martin do not have any biological children together. Jake, Ryan and Alex are Heather's children from a previous marriage. Cody and Emma are Mike and his ex-girlfriend's children. The channel accumulated around 750,000 subscribers and 176 million views, prior to Martin removing the videos from public viewing. The Guardian and New York Magazine reported the videos were made private, while Time and The Washington Post reported that the videos were deleted.
Controversy and public response
The family became the center of abuse claims following these prank videos which became gradually more extreme, with many videos involving Martin encouraging his eldest child, Jake, to physically and mentally abuse his younger siblings, often to the point of severe injury. One such video involved Cody, the youngest child, being thrown through a doorway by Jake and against a bookcase by Martin; he was left with what appeared to be injuries to his face. Another video involved Alex, the second youngest, being instructed by Martin to slap his step sister Emma (who is Cody's biological sister) across the face for failing to perform a water bottle flip correctly; He was never reprimanded despite leaving Emma visibly hurt. American YouTube personality and news commentator Philip DeFranco released a series of videos covering the channel and sharing his distaste for the content they created, starting with "WOW... We Need To Talk About This..." on April 17, 2017. He primarily focused on a video involving invisible ink being spilt, with Cody and Alex being falsely accused of making the mess. In the video, Cody cries and pleads hysterically after being screamed and sworn at and accused of lying, with Alex also facing a similar treatment from the parents. DeFranco's first video covering the channel was uploaded on April 17, and is credited by many news outlets for shining a light on the channel's extreme content. Andrew Griffin of The Independent wrote, "[DeFranco's] video was viewed more than three million times and brought widespread condemnation of the DaddyOFive channel." The video has led to debates about sharenting and children being minor celebrities on social media. Two of the family's children, Cody and Emma, were removed from their custody and returned to their biological mother. The creators also issued a public apology for the videos and state they are "a loving, close-knit family."
Post-controversy status and plea agreement
The DaddyOFive channel released a video on July 7 showing text expressing that it is not a dead channel and asking viewers to subscribe to Heather's MommyOFive channel for new videos and updates. In July 2017, DaddyOFive and MommyOFive channel had around 730,000 subscribers and 4.7 million video views, and around 110,000 subscribers and 2.1 million video views, respectively. Later, they changed their channel name to FamilyOFive after receiving the silver play button for MommyOFive.
Prosecutors from the Frederick County Circuit Court filed criminal charges against Michael and Heather Martin in August 2017, with each person facing two counts of "neglect of a minor". On September 11, 2017, the Martins pleaded guilty by way of an Alford plea and were sentenced to five years of supervised probation.
The FamilyOFive channel, a new outlet for the Martins' videos created while they were on probation, re-instituted the questionable pattern of behavior regarding abuse of the children featured in the videos. The channel was subsequently terminated on July 18, 2018, for violating YouTube's Community Guidelines, according to several news sources, and YouTube now requires videos featuring children to comply with local child labor laws.
Despite their final termination, the Martins continue to post videos on their official website behind a monthly $5 subscription fee, and continue streaming gaming videos on their Twitch channel.
On January 8, 2019 Mike Martin was accused of allegedly uploading a video August 2018, featuring Cody and despite breaking a major probation rule, the Martin's supervised probation was reduced to probation before judgement.
The Martins also deleted all of the videos on their website stating "In order to move on with the healing process from the 2017 events, we have AGREED WILLINGLY to remove our videos, from even this site. For the sake and well being of our family Mike and I feel it is best that we take a long break from the public spotlight."
- New York Times - Children Taken From Maryland Couple After YouTube ‘Prank’ Videos - 3rd May 2017
- The Legacy of DaddyOFive (5th May 2017)
- "DaddyOFive — YouTube about page". YouTube. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
- Cresci, Elena (May 7, 2017). "Mean stream: how YouTube prank channel DaddyOFive enraged the internet". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
- Dunphy, Rachel (April 28, 2017). "The Abusive 'Pranks' of YouTube Family Vloggers". Select All. New York Magazine. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
- Gajanan, Mahita (May 3, 2017). "YouTube Star DaddyOFive Loses Custody of 2 Children Shown in 'Prank' Videos". Time. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
- Ohlheiser, Abby (April 26, 2017). "The saga of a YouTube family who pulled disturbing pranks on their own kids". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
- Hern, Alex. "FamilyOFive: YouTube bans 'pranksters' after child abuse conviction". The Guardian Online. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
- "WOW... We Need To Talk About This..."
- "YouTube pranksters Daddyofive deny child abuse claims". Newsbeat. BBC. April 18, 2017. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
- DeFranco, Philip (April 17, 2017). WOW... We Need To Talk About This... The Philip DeFranco Show. YouTube. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
- Griffin, Andrew (May 2, 2017). "YouTube star Daddyofive loses custody of two children featured in 'prank' video, mother says". The Independent. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
- Abidin, Crystal; Leaver, Tamin. "When exploiting kids for cash goes wrong on YouTube: the lessons of DaddyOFive". The Conversation. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
- DaddyOFive channel UPDATE!!. DaddyOFive. YouTube. July 7, 2017. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
- "MommyOFive — YouTube about page". YouTube. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
- Loos, Kelsi. "Ijamsville couple behind 'DaddyOFive' videos charged with neglect". The Frederick News Post. Retrieved 2017-08-12.
- Augenstein, Neal. "'DaddyOFive' parents found guilty of neglect, avoid jail". WTOP-FM. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
- Google. "Child Safety on YouTube". Google.