ROCKVILLE, Md. - A Maryland couple who posts controversial online prank videos involving their children has released a new video claiming that the pranks were staged and that the backlash has put their family in danger.
Mike and Heather Martin, the parents in charge of the YouTube channel, DaddyOFive, posted a new video Wednesday morning explaining their situation. Their YouTube channel, which was started in 2015, features dozens of videos involving their children in pranks with titles like, "PSYCHO CLOWN ATTACKS FAMILY" and "DAD PUNCHES KID IN THE FACE."
After a recent video titled, "INVISIBLE INK PRANK!" was posted on the channel, many online users posted that the parents’ antics were abusive and child protective services should step in. In the video, the parents play a practical joke on their son, Cody, which ends up leaving him crying hysterically following a profanity-laced faux tirade.
The video had over 400,000 views, but was pulled off of YouTube with a message that said: "This video has been removed for violating YouTube's policy on harassment and bullying."
The family posted another YouTube video to respond to the negative posts about the "INVISIBLE INK PRANK!" while explaining that their children were not abused.
"This has gone way to far over FAKE YouTube pranks," the Martins said in the description of the new video posted online Wednesday morning. "We are sorry and we will change our style but you are putting our family in real danger. You are putting the kids that you think you are helping in real danger." (WATCH VIDEO HERE)
Mike Martin said the videos are comprised of ideas created by their children and that they were posted for fun.
"The videos are fake. They're fake," Martin said in the video. "They’re over-exaggerated. Some videos are scripted. They are just played out. The kids' ideas -- we act them out."
"And we have said that," said Heather Martin. "We have said it's their ideas."
"I put in the video description 'for entertainment purposes only,'" said Mike. "I categorized the videos as entertainment or comedy -- something that I know. I have even used keywords a few times. I used the word 'fake' in the keywords and stuff a few times."
Mike also said that his family was being attacked online, has received death threats, and that someone attempted to run his wife off of the road while she was driving with the children. FOX 5 has checked with the Frederick County Sheriff's Office about the latter claim, but they said they have not received any reported incidents.
The family has also claimed they have been investigated and cleared by child protective services. FOX 5 has been unable to confirm that after reaching out to officials in Maryland. Catherine Morris with the Maryland Department of Human Resources told FOX 5 that they could not comment on whether or not an investigation has been conducted, but she added that if someone makes a complaint, they are obligated to investigate.