YouTube dad who gained millions of views ‘pranking’ two young children loses custody to biological mother
Mike Martin made his children Emma, 12, and Cody, nine, the ‘stars’ of his channel in which he filmed himself telling them they were adopted and smashing their X-Box games console.
Other videos show Cody being pushed and suffering a bloody nose – in which Martin later claimed the video was fake – and being shouted and sworn at.
The nine-year-old was often seen crying or throwing things in frustration – and in one shouting, “I hate my life, just kill me”.
More than 19,000 people signed a petition calling on Child Protective Services to investigate the family in Baltimore, Maryland, US.
Their biological mother Rose Hall has since uploaded a video with her lawyer Tim Conlon, of the Custody Place, saying she had won emergency custody of the children.
She said: “They’re doing good. They’re getting back to their playful selves.
Conlon added: “The kids are in a deprogramming sort of mode in the moment.”
On April 22, Mr Martin and his second wife Heather uploaded an ‘apology video’ in response to outrage over their pranks.
Mike said in the video: “I understand and acknowledge and respect how everyone feel. We put things on the Internet that should not be there and did things we should not do.”
Heather added: “This has been the absolute worst week of our life. We realise we have made some terrible parenting decisions.”
They also claimed the children had been given the final say on whether videos were uploaded.
A statement of their Facebook page later said: “We deeply apologize for your feelings of concern. We DO NOT condone child abuse in any way, shape or form.”
According to New York Magazine, the couple were making around $10,000-a-month (£7,760-a-month) from the YouTube channel.