There is an important update on the disturbing case of DaddyOFive, and it involves the YouTube community that mobilised itself to get the story out there.
The parents behind DaddyOFive, who came under fire for making what critics describe as gratuitously cruel prank videos on their children, have reportedly lost custody of two kids to their biological mother.
A video shows Rose Hall, the biological mother of Cody, 9, and Emma, 12, with her lawyer saying that she obtained emergency custody of the kids.
"They're doing good," Hall says on the video. "They're getting back to their playful selves."
The lawyer, Tim Conlon of the Custody Place, said the kids are in a "deprogramming sort of mode."
The two also went on to thank the YouTube community for calling attention to the alleged abuse.
Over the past months, DaddyOFive, a.k.a. Mike Martin, and his second wife Heather, caused a backlash within the YouTube community for their pranks, which often targeted the youngest child, Cody.
The channel, which has more than 760,000 subscribers, featured videos of Martin convincing Cody he had been adopted out, smashing his X-box with a hammer, and accusing him of pouring ink on the bedroom floor.
The latter, posted April 12, sparked a controversy that saw many popular YouTubers calling out Martin.
During the prank, the parents swear at Cody for making the mess in his bedroom. When he denies it, they accuse him of lying, causing him to cry.
Among the YouTubers that criticised the parents was Philip DeFranco, who, in a video watched by more than 3 million people, edited clips from DaddyOFive to make his points.
"Now is this child abuse? I would leave that up to child protective services," he says referring to a video when Mike pushes Cody into a shelf, allegedly causing him to bleed from his nose.
"If they've really been called and CPS have said they did nothing wrong — the pushing, the hitting the screaming, putting the kids in these situations, egging them on — if they saw all that, if they've seen all the other things I would personally label emotional abuse."
In a response video called "blocking the haters," the Martins denied any abuse had taken place.
But they since deleted the videos on their "DaddyOFive" YouTube channel and published a public apology.
In an interview aired on Good Morning America, the Martins said they were "ashamed" by their behaviour.
"[What] you see on our YouTube channel is not a reflection of who we are. It's not," Heather Martin said. "It's a character. It was a show, a bad show, but it was a show."
"I am ashamed," Mike Martin said. "It started out as family fun. It started with me and my kids, but then it was just about making a video and then making the next video more crazier than the next."
Police in Baltimore had earlier confirmed they opened an investigation into the Martins.
In her video about the emergency custody, Cody and Emma's biological mother thanks Baltimore's Frederik County authority for assisting and retrieving the children.
Then, she names the YouTubers who helped getting the story the attention it needed — not only Philip De Salvo but also Nick Monroe, Based Mama, SuitYourself, and Chambers of my heart.