Md. parents embroiled in pranking video controversy issues apology, hires crisis management agency
WASHINGTON - The DaddyOFive family, who gained national attention for their controversial YouTube videos showing the parents pranking their children, has hired a Baltimore-based crisis manager to help with damage control after many critics believed their videos were showing the parents being abusive to their kids.
Mike and Heather Martin have hired the Fallston Group to help their family cope with the backlash after a recent video posted earlier this month called "INVISIBLE INK PRANK!" showed the Maryland parents pranking their son in a profanity-filled tirade that left him hysterically in tears.
In the days following the negative criticism, the Martin parents said they were not abusing their children and their videos were fake, over-exaggerated or scripted. They would later pull all of their videos off their YouTube channel.
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On Saturday, the Martins posted a public video apology on their page. The video is less than three minutes long and FOX 5 has been told it is unscripted. Toward the very end, Heather Martin said they are apologetic to their children who have been unable to attend school since the controversial videos sparked outrage.
"We're focused on making sure that our kids don't have to deal with so much backlash from our bad decisions and we realize now what kind of situation we put them in and we're just really sorry to them," said Heather in the video.
The video apology was, in part, the idea of crisis manager Robert Weinhold Jr., the chief executive of the Fallston Group, who is working closely with the family.
"We want to get some family counseling, we want to work with a life coach and we want to stabilize the family in a way that is normal in most people's eyes," he said. "I have been inside the home. I have worked with the family over the past couple of days very intensively and I can tell you that they are very, very remorseful."
Weinhold also said, "They are in the process right now of pushing the pause button and making sure that they are providing a normal lifestyle that they want for them and their children."
Weinhold once worked at the Baltimore Police Department and the Department of Justice. He has worked in crisis management for nearly a decade and said the DaddyOFive controversy is not the worst he has seen. He said his job is to be a problem solver for the Martin family and manage this crisis on a personal and professional level.
Weinhold helped the family craft the apology, which now has more than 900,000 video views as of Monday night.
The crisis manager said while the Martin family may be YouTube sensations, they are not media savvy. Weinhold said he talked to them about the court of public opinion and how their videos were being perceived. He has even gone as far as to teach the family how to interact with co-workers, friends and neighbors amid the controversy.
The Martin family's future on YouTube remains uncertain and they have since taken their prank videos of the site. FOX 5 has been told the family is scared because they said they have received threats.
Weinhold said his job is also to take their calls anytime and reassure them that he will do what he was hired to do.