(UPDATE: 6/3/2021) Heather Martin contacted me and wanted to let me know she has written a response to both of my blog posts on the overall DaddyOFive subject. If you click this sentence you will be taken to her response.
It has been a busy few weeks. If you have no idea what the DaddyOFive controversy is, I recommend starting back here.
When Mike and Heather Martin decided to do an Invisible Ink prank on their children back on April 12th, nobody anticipated the internet-wide firestorm that would ensue in the weeks that followed. While it seemed innocent from the outset – the yelling and screaming of the parents on the DaddyOFive YouTube channel seemed to put the fear of God in the hearts of those kids: Jake, Emma, Ryan, Cody, and Alex. With 760,000 subscribers, the YouTube money was flowing in. The internet took notice of this out of place situation and began digging deeper into what was going on. This led to Philip DeFranco doing a few videos highlighting the ordeal. It put the DaddyOFive family in the spotlight of millions of people.
When something snowballs to the point where it’s on Good Morning America you know it must have gained a lot of momentum.
Then it became known that there was another side to this story. Rose Hall, the biological mother of Emma and Cody Martin, spoke out in a interview with ChambersOfHeart, revealing that she was concerned about the safety of the children and was fighting to get custody back from Mike and Heather. It came out that she lost Cody in July 2014 after Rose was allegedly duped into signing away majority custody to the Martin couple. Rose seemingly had no choice but play along with whatever demands Heather and Mike made of her in order to satisfy this arrangement (under threat of perjury). This climaxed at the beginning of December 2015 when Emma was taken away from Rose’s house by police, seizing whatever little means of contact the biological mother had of her children after that. Mike Martin’s step-brother is on Rose’s side. Mike Martin’s ex-wife Amy came out on Rose’s side (talked about earlier).
It seemed uncertain what was going to happen. The judge (with a questionable track record) who originally dealt with the custody proceedings in the first place had retired.
It came as a shock to many when a new update came out with the case, pushing the story to the public’s attention once more.
On May 1st, Rose Hall did a video with her lawyer Tim Conlon and gave an update as to the status of the situation. She obtained emergency custody around the same time that Heather and Mike were doing a segment on Good Morning America this past Friday. They are currently getting back into a routine of normalcy with Rose, away with the DaddyOFive household. Frederick County Sheriff’s office assisted with the matter in removing Cody and Emma from the home (later on this is revealed to end up being their school in a literal sense, but “the home” of the Martins in particular). Cody in particular was reluctant to leave at first based on the narrative that Mike and Heather had fed to him (that their biological mother “threw them away like garbage”), but when Rose showed Cody a memento of his that she kept all this time he began to cooperate. It calmed Cody down and helped him remember that Rose loved the kids. For the first time in a long while, both of the children were reunited with Rose’s side of the family. Mike was reportedly reluctant to cooperate with authorities, refusing to hand over the kid’s necessities such as clothing and medications.
Substantiating Ms. Hall’s side of the story are domestic violence ex parte charges against Mike Martin. While these aren’t exactly charges brought on by the state, it’s a petition that alleges domestic violence that allows Ms. Hall to get a emergency protection order against DaddyOFive for the sake of the children. When it expires this Friday is when either a more permanent order is granted or the court will extend the time to hear evidence. More information about what goes into this sort of situation can be read over here, if that’s your fancy.
More details about what happened were revealed by ChambersOfHeart in her update video she did the evening after Rose’s video was released.
Shortly after a Thank You video Rose did with Chambers, the person known as @based_mama told the both of them she found a lawyer. When first briefed on this story, the lawyer thought @based_mama was pranking them and hung up. This lawyer, Tim Conlon, called her back a short time later after doing some research of the case for himself. He was willing to take it.
Within a few days it became clear that Rose was going to need to come up to Maryland in order to handle this DaddyOFive situation. She was going to need money for gas. The GoFundMe funds were still frozen at that point in time, so Chambers started a quiet fundraiser via Paypal to get enough money together for Rose’s immediate travel expenses. They kept this to themselves because they didn’t want Mike or Heather to be notified of Rose’s plans ahead of time. Overall they managed to put together $110. They needed to get this cash to Rose within the day, and the mandatory two to three days necessary for these sort of transactions was too long of a wait. Chambers had the luck of, not only sharing the same bank as Rose, but having a branch of the bank chain in her own town. So when other forms of transfers didn’t work out (Moneygram/Wire), it all came down to this bank. Luckily, Chambers was able to get in touch with the manager at this bank, who told her as long as she had Rose’s bank account information and cash, a deposit was possible. At the end of the ordeal Chambers was able to transfer $120 to Rose safely in time.
When Rose got up to Maryland, it was discovered Mike and Heather had a moving truck in front of their house.
“They were getting ready to up and leave their current location,” Chambers said in her video.
When Rose went with Baltimore PD and the authorities to retrieve Emma and Cody, nobody was around at their house except Mike. As previously mentioned, Mike Martin was uncooperative from this aspect and so the authorities had to figure out where these kids went to school on their own. Once they managed to do so, the officers went and obtained Cody and Emma from school. The second round of money to Rose came into play when she had to go back to Maryland after a brief visit back to North Carolina so Emma and Cody could see that side of the family again for the first time in a long while. Chambers was able to send $120 to her for that trip.
As the person behind the GoFundMe aspect of everything, Chambers took a lot of time in the video to go over the nuances of what exactly happened there as well. When Mike and Heather made opposing GoFundMe campaigns of their own it ended up complicating Chambers in her crowdfunding endeavor. At first, there were accusations that the GoFundMe was a scam. This led staff to reach out to Chambers and request verification that her story was legitimate. She put out a big update and linked to the petition as a result. Chambers put Rose as a beneficiary to the GoFundMe and sent an email invite to her to get the ball rolling on that. A few days passed and this change didn’t go through, and Rose had not yet been verified. Rose trusted Chambers with her personal email account, allowing her to go in and check things for herself. Both of these accounts end up sending emails to GoFundMe staff directly, and they eventually report back they could not verify that Rose is the biological mother of Cody and Emma. In return, Rose and Chambers sent GoFundMe her bank account information, photos with the children, and birth certificates for both of the kids. It was an emotional and intense evening for everyone, but thankfully for them by the next morning the account was verified.
Chambers finally gets in touch with Tim Conlon directly and chat with him about their plan of action. Tim tells her that: he doesn’t plan on “touching any of that lady’s money,” use the money to take Cody to Disneyland and support the kids, and flat-out that he’s doing Rose’s case for free. Chambers emphasized the fact that Rose still needs more funds. For the deprogramming therapy that Emma and Cody are going to need as a result of the traumatic experiences they’ve been through, medicine that the kids were taking while living with Mike and Heather, and for the Hall family to get themselves set up with the children in a stable living situation.
Jumping back to Mike and Heather, according to Chambers they disappeared with the three other boys after Cody and Emma were reunited. A criminal investigation had been launched, CPS was looking into it, and Chambers had no idea what the deal is with that. It was rumored that Heather lost custody of the 3 other kids, and her ex-husband Rickie Zopp was trying to get them back. According to Maryland judiciary case search, the reopened divorce proceedings between Heather Martin and Rickie Zopp were cancelled/vacated on May 1st.
Chambers goes on to emphasize that Rose Hall is not taking any interviews at this time. Tim Conlon does not want his client misspeaking in her overwhelmed (and camera shy) state. According to him, Mike and Heather’s lawyer are using any recorded interviews she has done as evidence in the proceedings.
There’s still a long legal process ahead. Cody and Emma both need time to recover from this ordeal. Cody especially, while Emma was able to bounce back fairly quickly.
Leading up to this point, we still had the back and forth dynamic between DaddyOFive’s channel and Phil DeFranco.
First was the apology video from Mike and Heather Martin on April 22nd. I was finishing up my earlier piece around the same time this came out, so I didn’t get a proper chance to discuss what it was at the time.They wore their Sunday best for what would be a high production value response to the ongoing controversy.
Heather introduces the video by telling “Team D.O.5.” this would be a different video than they usually do. Reflecting on the “worst week of their lives,” Heather finally admits on camera they made terrible parenting decisions and a desire to amend that.
Whoever edited this together decided to use very abrupt transitions that fade sections of the video in and out from black.
- First Fade [0:19]: Mike speaks for a majority of this section. When he does, he doesn’t make eye contact with the camera as much. Mike says the past week allowed both him and Heather to “jump out of character” and see how they came across to the public. “I understand how everyone feels. I *acknowledge* and I respect how everyone feels about this,” he says. Heather starts to open her frowning mouth to try and interject, but Mike continues. “And I do agree that we put things on the internet that should not be there. We did things that we should not do.” Heather seizes Mike’s moment of pause to take over. She says when looking at the videos from the perspective of a mother, that the actions depicted in them appeared to put the children through turmoil. That’s all we hear as the video fades to black.
- Second Fade [1:09]: Heather says that the kids were excited that people were watching them and that their aim was to see how high of a view count they could get. Mrs. Martin says what started out as harmless turned into a routine of filming content that prioritized “shock factor,” slipping away from a perception of reality. Camera quickly cuts to black again.
- Third Fade [1:33]: Heather says the impression the kids are getting from this controversy is that they’re to blame for some of it. She reaffirms that it wasn’t, saying Mike and herself needed to make better decisions as parents. Mike opens his mouth to speak but the camera fades before we hear what he had to say.
- Fourth Fade [1:44]: Heather states that they were able to give them more stuff than they could before the YouTube channel, and in their minds thought that was the best they could do for them.
- Fifth Fade [1:53]: When the camera cuts in this time, we see Mike wraps his arm around Heather. She says they’re all now in family counseling (despite saying that was already a thing in the Keemstar interview) because they “need it” to get through the media response to the situation, and help give the DaddyOFive children a better understanding of their parents’ failures.
- Sixth Fade [2:12]: The only thing in this section is Heather expressing a desire for the kids to get back to normal lives.
- Seventh Fade [2:21]: Mike speaks again. “I just wanted to take care of everybody, I just wanted everyone to be happy,” he says. Mid-way through that sentence, Heather interrupts. “We just wanted you guys… we wanted them to be happy. We just wanted our kids to be happy and we went about it the wrong way.”
- Eighth Fade [2:32]: Heather says their focus is minimizing the backlash the children receive for their bad decisions – realizing now the type of ordeal they were all placed in. “We’re just really sorry to them,” is the last thing we hear from her. The ending of the video is in itself a final fade-out that cuts off Heather as she’s speaking mid-sentence.
You can see her lips moving, but you’re unable to hear any words coming out.
In contrast to any of the previous videos the Martins finally accept responsibility for DaddyOFive’s content. This is the last of the five stages of grief. Their initial “BLOCKING ALL THE HATERS!” piece responded to the public’s worries with complete dismissal and denial that anything was wrong. At that point, Mike was telling the public that what their family did was what they considered normal. Mr. Martin tells the public that he thinks it’s respectable people would respond so strongly to abuse concerns, but then states it’s not happening there and that folks are wasting time. Heather says they were already investigated by Child Protective Services because of the YouTube channel, and said they found nothing. She tends to stay in the background when possible, only sparsely contributing to the video while Mike is doing most of the talking. When Heather does talk, she tries to reframe the argument and justify the channel’s content. The children go along with Mike’s speech and the direction Heather takes it in, and the camera is just focused on them as they talk. Their rebuttal is YouTube lets their family buy more candy, video games, and luxury stuff to have in their house. According to Mike and Heather, the kids have complete control over what goes up on the channel (while Cody and the other younger children make remarks that suggest they don’t even get to see the content on YouTube sometimes). Jake claims the first prank was his idea, while Alex says Mike got into the habit of vlogging in the first place when he picked up the kids from school. He goes on to say that the fact Mike makes the kids write sentences as punishment is something he doesn’t think is abuse.
“At least you’re not beating us like most parents,” Ryan says.
Mike instructed his Twitter followers to share the video wherever possible as a means of quashing dissent. He laments at the fact he didn’t have a clip of Cody saying people who didn’t like the YouTube channel shouldn’t watch it. Mr. Martin uses the size of his fanbase as a means of discrediting any dissent.
On April 18th there was ChambersOfHeart’s interview with Rose Hall, and the subsequent reaction video Mike Martin posted of Heather’s breakdown while listening to it there was anger. The narrative that the DaddyOFive channel was trying to maintain throughout the past year was shattered. No longer could Heather quietly imply that Cody and Emma were her biological children, for example. But still even then, the only form of addressing it that the family knew was “getting the camera” and make a video. Attempts at bargaining were made in the Keemstar interview, with Boogie’s attempt at offering a peaceful resolution, and in Mike’s own tweets. During their talk with Keem one of the main discussion points at play is a negotiation attempt for Mike to find a middle-ground with the public. Heather took over the talking role more than she had previously. Mike Martin insists that his family has a sense of privacy, despite the very open nature of the blogs. Both himself and Heather were faced with direct questions about their treatment of Cody, and the reasoning they gave for why the kid couldn’t go to Disney World was conflicting. Most importantly the Martins acknowledged some of Cody’s reactions in the channel’s videos were genuine. Keemstar wanted a mental health expert to have access to the DaddyOFive house while they were filming, so that person could make sure the children were okay. At that point Mike and Heather seemed to agree to that, while later on Boogie would reveal that Mr. Martin would decline to get that sort of help. The depression stage of grief comes into effect with “Family Destroyed Over False Aquisations [sic]” being released. The key difference here is the title of the video. Whereas the earlier one with Heather crying was named “False accusations are killing my family,” this one uses a past-tense verb to imply that the controversy was irreversible now. The reality sets in that DaddyOFive and his wife have a lot of explaining to do, leading Mike to straight-up deny that any of it was real. Despite the fact that he said something to that effect in the Keemstar interview. He says the videos were all the kids’ ideas and that they were for “entertainment purposes only,” as a disclaimer. Mike says he was afraid to say they were fake because that “kills” YouTube channels. Mike was afraid of letting anyone down. Heather says the “real” fans that stick by the DaddyOFive YouTube channel after this controversy are the ones that “get it.”
It stands as the finale in a series of reactions from the Martin couple.
Myself and others made a public effort to assist Frederick and Baltimore County authorities in locating archives of the videos. This was after the Baltimore Sun put out an article on April 24th talking about the situation, with a section dedicated to that perspective on the investigation. When it came to the Child Protective Services aspect of it, a spokesperson for the Maryland Department of Human Resources said they couldn’t comment on that. Generally speaking, law enforcement from the Montgomery, Baltimore, and Frederick counties were made aware if the videos. Frederick County’s sheriff’s office in particular was making sure that the videos were shot within their jurisdiction before taking any action.
Baltimore County Police were having a hard time locating a complete archive of the channel’s videos:
Baltimore County Police Officer Jennifer Peach said Baltimore County police are also reviewing the many videos that the couple uploaded to YouTube, “but we’re having a hard time because many were removed or blocked” and were filmed indoors, making it difficult to determine the location in Maryland.
Thus necessitating the public’s urge to help.
Philly D would dip his toe back into the DaddyOFive subject himself. Starting with a series of tweets directed at Baltimore Police’s twitter account directing their attention to the archive.org back-up of DaddyOFive’s channel, topping that off with a video highlighting this aspect of the investigation.
An important thing to remember about the DaddyOFive situation is that two of the videos up on the official YouTube channel were taken down for violating site rules. “INVISIBLE INK PRANK! ( EPIC FREAKOUT )” uploaded on April 12th 2017 was removed for harassment and bullying. “Alex SLAPPED Emma in the FACE” uploaded on October 17th 2016 was removed for the same thing.
When the controversy was unfolding, people saw this coming. DaddyOFive went into lockdown, putting all the videos on the YouTube channel to private.
“I’m sorry everyone but I have taken down/demonetized all videos my family’s safety is more important than fake videos,” Mike tweeted on April 19th.
This created an artificial demand for DaddyOFive videos. People’s curiosity was reaching a peak because of the drama and controversy that was unfolding – but when they’d go to look further they’d see DaddyOFive’s channel was empty. Luckily, someone by the name of @YourselfSuit was able to archive the entire video collection. He even uploaded an evidence reel highlighting moments of interest on the DaddyOFive YouTube channel.
I had first discovered YouTube was removing mirrors of DaddyOFive videos on April 24th. A separate user by the name of @Sinatra_Says had gotten hit that same afternoon. On May 3rd @YourselfSuit had announced that YouTube took his evidence reel video down for a community guidelines strike. After a vocal Twitter campaign the video was put back up with an age restriction attached to it. It wasn’t limited to just @YourselfSuit either. JoySparkleBS would get several videos flagged as a result of alleged privacy violations.
The strikes against small YouTube channels had evolved beyond just mirroring the videos and spiraled onto commentary videos that had merely used clips at specific points.
This is seen in the case of Ragestew’s channel. While he made a video on May 3rd explaining his ordeal, I reached out directly to get his side of the story.
I made a commentary video about DO5, similar to the few others I have on my channel. In the video I showed clips of what I believed was child abuse, all from videos from DO5’s channel. The clips were the same ones used by Philip Defranco in commentary videos, and many other big youtubers. I made the video to bring awareness to the situation. I was condemning the child abuse, since I went through similar things in my childhood. Youtube took the video down after a few days and gave me a strike for having child abuse in the video. I appealed it by saying the clips were used in a transformative way, to bring awareness and make criticism, and the appeal was rejected. I’m angry because these clips were all from DO5 channel who uploaded this stuff daily for over a year, and Youtube never did anything about it. I make a COMMENTARY video talking about the videos being fucked up and showing clips, they give me a strike.
Given the timing of the initial mirrors being removed from YouTube alongside a separate piece of news in the DaddyOFive story, many would suspect these two factors had correlation.
These mysterious strikes could have come from the same folks who crafted the DaddyOFive apology video where the Martins are dressed up in their Sunday-best attire.
Helping the Martins is a PR firm known as the Fallston Group. This first became known via Tisha Lewis with FOX 5 in DC in the afternoon of April 24th. On the 25th, I had concerns that they were responsible for removing a key document from Scribd that was crucial to Rose’s part of this overall story. Unfortunately I have nothing to substantiate this beyond my own suspicion. Those aren’t unfounded given the portfolio of past clients this organization has assisted: the Chief Public Information Officer for the Maryland Transit Administration, the President of the CEO Club of Baltimore, the Public and Government Affairs Manager of AAA Mid-Atlantic, a PR Executive and Former Mayoral Press Secretary for City of Baltimore, a Former Baltimore Police Commissioner, the Chief of Staff at Maryland General Assembly, and the President/CEO of Hamilton Bank are just a few of the companies that Fallston have been involved in.
It begs the question of why help a family of YouTube “pranksters” at all? Fallston thought of that too. On the 28th they released a blog called “Why Help DaddyOFive?” on their website. Within it, they revealed the group was first contacted at the end of the previous week (around April 21st). The team went directly to the home of the Martins in order to assess the situation, speaking to the family for three hours. According to Fallston they had a choice of either walking away from this family who made problematic content on their YouTube channel, or assist them in their confusion to get them the help they needed and on a better path. At the end of the day, helping DaddyOFive lined up with Fallston Group’s mission on helping people who are in a time of crisis. Things were square as long as their clients are willing to accept responsibility for errors in judgement they make. Fallston makes it clear they don’t condone the content posted on the DaddyOFive YouTube channel, but they wanted to help share their experiences and resources to the Martin family to make sure this ordeal had some sense of management going forward.
They admit that Fallston Group helped Mike and Heather make their apology video. According to them it wasn’t scripted, with the cuts and fade-outs that happened in-between while the video was rolling were done in order to eliminate redundancy.
Fallston Group adds this paragraph.
There is no question the Martins, in light of the public concern, took another look at the content they had shared through the eyes of people who don’t know them personally, and upon reflection, recognized the error of their ways. They now fully understand that they crossed the line and they describe how what started out as family fun quickly escalated into shock value for the purpose of viewership and subscriptions. They were caught up in their own characters and popularity – they were blinded by YouTube fame and again, upon reflection, made some very poor decisions.
Fallston goes on to talk about how devastating internet backlash is, and how the safety of the kids is a high priority.
But even so – they say it doesn’t replace their accountability.
What Drove Mike
As we learned in the update from the earlier piece, much of Mike’s upbringing is reflected in the way he parented the DaddyOFive children. According to his step-brother James Britton, Mike Martin learned most of his harsh behaviors from the way his step-mother Audrey treated him.
Cody and Emma were singled out in this aspect, being the only ones with their names on the family punishment board. You can see it for yourself in “It’s raining inside my truck Vlog” at 4 minutes 30 seconds. Mike shows it because his fans were asking about it, saying the numbers written down represent the number of sentences that the children have to write. The subject matter of these sentences correlates to the punishment. “Lieing [sic]” means they have to write “I will not lie” 50 times. An unclean room means they have to write “I will keep my room clean” 100 times. If the kids aren’t getting ready for school at what Mike considers an acceptable pace, they have to write 100 sentences. Cody and Emma are a part of a “level system” that signify their privileges. 3 is the highest, and the tally marks represent points they have. If they lose all the points, they drop a level. There’s proof that the other kids had to write sentences, such as Ryan’s punishment of 1000 for hiding Pepsi cans behind his bed.
While it’s not even mentioned in the video, there’s a color coded spreadsheet in the bottom-left corner of the board. This is where the kids school performance is shared with the rest of the family.
I was shown an image of one of Cody’s bruises. This picture was allegedly taken back when he returned from a trip to Mike’s, in the time period where Rose had joint custody. Based on my own knowledge of the family’s situation there was a clear pattern of punishment within the household before the YouTube channel was even a thing. His ex-wife Amy (who I spoke with in my previous article) recently did an hour long interview that went over many of these habits Mike had. Early on in their marriage, there were signs of him being easily possessive and jealous. He was clingy, and wanted Amy to be with him at all possible times. Mike told Amy he was depressed and had bi-polar disorder, along with ADHD. But given the amount of medical experimentation that was done on him in his youth, he became reluctant in his adult years to seek any treatment for this. Amy says many of the behaviors Mike exhibited during their marriage mirrored the relationship between Audrey Martin and Charles Britton as it was described in my previous article. While on the surface, according to Amy, Mike and her 3 year old son got along fairly well and were buddies. But over time there was a progression of strict authoritarian parenting as a means of vying for control. Much like Heather would try and take position of Cody and Emma’s “real mother,” Mike demanded the same sort of position out of Amy’s son. Further mirroring the DaddyOFive behaviors, Amy noticed Mike would inspect her son’s backpack when he got home from school. Drinking was also a factor in their marriage.
If you were to pick any DaddyOFive video at random from this list, you’d likely choose one where Mike is shouting. He had a tendency to do that.
According to Amy, Mike had talents at making videos and photoshop. At night he’d record freestyle rap on the computer. It was Mike’s way of expressing his own feelings and coping with his own shortcomings. The person who Amy was on this podcast of had his own thoughts. Mike’s fear of abandonment because of his childhood echoed into his adult years very clearly in the YouTube videos. After pulling off a prank on the children, Mike would beg for their forgiveness and force them to essentially accept this apology of sorts he’d put out for his actions.
These concepts together made the DaddyOFive channel. It’s Mike’s outlet where he expresses his frustrations and shares his life with the world. A man who still holds onto some of the things that he encountered as a boy, reflecting it back on a new generation as an adult. It’s not a matter of defining what’s real or fake – no matter what, these videos happened.
Mike Martin had a YouTube channel in the days before DaddyOFive came into existence. According to the Socialblade page this gaming related channel was created back in July 2008. An archive of a viewer comment on one of DaddyOFive’s videos says he has been a viewer since his TheRealRageMode era, and the single comment left on this channel’s discussion page matches the writing style of Mike’s twitter. According to Mike’s ex-wife Amy (who confirmed his YouTube channel’s name and that it was a thing), he had a video series called “i’m bored” that consisted of Mike going around their house “talking shit” (according to Amy) and not doing anything. The channels that TheRealRageMode subscribed to included DaddyOFive and the DaddyOFive Gaming channel.
As someone who did not graduate High School and couldn’t hold a job, Mike Martin wanted fame. With DaddyOFive he got it. 100 thousand subscribers. 200,000. 300K. 500,000 by December 2016. It kept on climbing. He was hungry for the numbers. Mike had his eyes set on one million. If we travel down the road of Mike Martin’s Twitter account we can see the changes that took place over time. Specifically when it comes to the video uploads in particular, there’s a very quick uptick to a daily regimen of content on their channel. If you look at the number of uploads between September and March, DaddyOFive was consistently releasing over 30 videos a month across his channels.
Mr. Mike Martin had a routine. It never seemed like such a thing would happen based on the one-off randomness of his initial presentation for “prank” videos in July 2016, but nevertheless a method to this madness had appeared. For every new video he would upload, he’d notify everyone that it was coming. Then he’d top it off with not one, but two tweets when the video was up. An automated one posted via a notification bot, and a manual one where he presented the public the new video on his own. Day in, day out. Like clockwork. But this machine wasn’t perfect. Sometimes he’d wind up his first tweet only to be blocked by unforeseen issues with uploading and YouTube. That devastated DaddyOFive. He thought it was a big let-down if there was a mistake. Generally speaking there’s a clear pattern of behavior when it comes to Mike’s desire to not disappoint his fans. He didn’t want to make videos too short, pressured if an uploaded was too late, and took negative responses personally. DaddyOFive would even upload on the road to stick to his self-imposed schedule.
Topping it all off were audience driven polls that helped Mike decide what to do next. There’s at least five of them from what I found (They don’t show up in the archives, but they do if you click back to the original links and check for yourself).
If none of that is a sufficient indication, on December 19th 2016 Mike Martin had a giveaway contest. The basic idea of the rules was that you had to somehow standout on the DaddyOFive YouTube channel. It was a competition vying for attention. Mike got showered in it.
“Alex and Ryan got pranked so bad that they cried wait till you see tonight’s video it’s hilarious,” Mike once tweeted.
To Mike Martin, his kids were YouTube content. Their pain was what DaddyOFive considered preview worthy material. The shock value had to keep ramping up (like saying his wife pulled a knife on him) so people would keep getting drawn in. The recurring theme of hard-line parenting his kids was something that Mike himself bought into when it came to enticing viewers. DaddyOFive sometimes answered questions about what people saw in the videos as if they were supposed to be taken in a serious capacity. Mike Martin pushed this notion that they were bad at listening. He tried to blur the line between what was real and what was fake fairly often. When he sent Cody to Military School (as a “prank”) on January 28th he even prefaced it by saying Cody was acting bad that morning and confirmed it as such on Twitter after the video was uploaded.
Cody was used as clickbait. When I say that, there’s countless examples backing that up. Clickbait. Clickbait. Clickbait. People came to expect it. It made Mike laugh.
There are a variety of replies to Mike Martin’s tweets that happened way before the recent controversy first began that reveal the dynamic between the household and the YouTube audience. When Cody had scraped his arm in school that February and Mike had decided to yell at him with a music track in the background for the audience, someone tried to warn him about the severity of the situation. His upsets were people’s entertainment. Viewers sometimes joined in on the ragging, while others bought into the gimmick as if Mike was showing an accurate depiction of their household. The fans loved a fighter. They loved seeing him ticked off. On at least one occasion his fans suggested he get a beating. People would go as far as to diagnose Cody in their replies and these comments went by without a word from Mike.
“i expect cody to be bad always,” someone wrote.
#TeamDontMilitarizeCody was a hashtag somebody actually used at some point. Other kids like Jake had their own stereotypes as the bully or bad guy. People were heartbroken to see Emma get pushed around on camera. Blind to the fact of if Alex crying in the corner for half the video was real or not. It only took the channel until late September 2016 (a few months since their start) to get accused of having clickbait titles. But at the same time people thought Mike Martin looked genuinely angry with how he reprimanded his children. That all the yelling he did seemed unnecessary.
If Mike Martin throws himself at the mercy of his audience, and his demographics tend to consist of mostly children – what direction was the channel going to go in? In absolutely no way do I condone some of the behaviors in the video, or the actions that took place within. It comes down to the dual nature of Mike. The kids related to the immaturity and the childish humor.
It all boils down to the YouTube videos themselves at the end of the day. We could go over the exterior factors for an eon, but the best way to see this is in practice.
People have been going over the YouTube videos with a fine-tooth comb to analyze and better understand the full extent of what’s going on in the DaddyOFive videos. A YouTuber named Sylvibot has recently reviewed around 70 of them and attempted to find examples of abuse going in the Martin household. Not only was she able to find that, Sylvibot went as far as to say she found a consistent pattern of behavior when it came to Mike Martin’s actions in these videos. While this focuses on Sylvibot’s video in particular, you can find more analysis videos in this playlist.
This focus on Cody is due to his oppositional defiant disorder and the reactions he makes as a result of that. According to Sylvibot’s observations the DaddyOFive fan club thinks Jake is the coolest of the children (see “JAKE GETS A GUN!” and “JAKE GOT MORE GUNS!!“) while Cody is ostracized as strange (see “Why Did My Son Do This!”) in contrast. They’re worried this mentality carries over into real life when the family meets fans in person, and that the parents attempt to justify this by giving the DaddyOFive kids gifts and other rewards for their participation in this channel. Sylvibot says the reason these kids aren’t saying anything is wrong with their home life is because that’s the only life they know and don’t want to risk anything that could disrupt that, no matter what. What concerns her is the suicidal thoughts that Emma expresses in some of the videos, and the self-harm Cody demonstrates in others. Trapping the children in this abuse is the fact that none of the kids are allowed locks on their doors even though they specifically request it. Mike doesn’t know how to respond when the children have worrisome thoughts.
Slyvibot highlights a level of inconsistency when it comes to the reprimanding Mike does between Cody and the other children. That is to say, Cody is allowed to get away with much less than any of the other boys. But moreover even when it comes down to them, Alex and Ryan express their discontent with the amount of leniency that Jake has in the household. The point where parental intervention is needed the most is when Jake or any of the other kids push Cody to a breaking point. Instead of intervening, Mike Martin just films it and laughs it off instead. He acts as if Cody was in the wrong in the first place. An example used is the “prank” where Cody gets put up for adoption.
“This is why everyone says I need to bust y’all’s ass,” Mike says.
In “Cody Bad at School,” Sylvibot highlights another example of these moments where Mike’s misguided parenting comes into play. DaddyOFive yells at him in the morning before the kids go to school because he didn’t clean his room. When the kids come home in the afternoon and it’s revealed Cody scraped his arm until it bled, Mike films his entire shout-down at the lad. Cody tries to explain to Mike why he couldn’t focus in school, Mr. Martin just says the world doesn’t revolve around him. Sylvibot makes a note that it drags on for way too long, as if Mike was doing it for the sake of content. This goes as far as Mike having one of the other sons hold the camera while he sits down with Cody to have a heart-to-heart chat with him. He even laments about his mother (presumably Audrey) being harsh on Mike at a young age.
Sylvibot says it’s made evidently clear that this channel is not made by the kids at all.
She goes on to talk about the whole “Cody not going to Disneyland” debacle. It’s loomed over him throughout several vlogs on the DaddyOFive channel, and all the build up is for naught when it comes to the time of the actual trip. Cody is shipped off to the Grandparent’s with the family dogs. The reason he didn’t get to go changes throughout several videos. Heather claimed “he put poop everywhere several times” initially, whereas in their interview with Keemstar Mike says the toilet overflowed, and finally in their “False Aquisations [sic]” video Mike says he was afraid the child would get lost. The inconsistent reasons given for Cody’s inability to go Disney World reflect the inconsistent punishment that is doled out to the kids.
This imbalance speaks to the core of Mike Martin.
There are two Mike Martins. In more ways than one.
The top layer is the Mike that gets seen in the videos in a battle against the Mike of reality. As far as DaddyOFive viewers were aware – the reactions of the children in the videos was just good acting. This is the layer that covered everything that lay beneath the surface of the YouTube channel. If Mike Martin treated the DaddyOFive kids like he did the viewers and fans, this mess would have never happened. Out of all the videos up there – how many of them were the audience in on? How many were they not?
“BLOCKING ALL THE HATERS!!” forced Mike to confront that.
The middle layer is the Mike that harshly disciplines the children, at odds with the one that wants to be their best friend. At [12:30] in this video he slides down the stairs on a cardboard box. The appeal of DaddyOFive was a part of him knew how to have some fun. That’s why there’s an entire channel of his dedicated to video games. It’s that creativity that brought forth his ghost adventures series. There’s a sense of reluctance the kids have, every time Mike switches back and forth between these modes. What do you think is going through Mike’s or Cody’s head when he smashes Cody’s Xbox? At what point do pranks like putting Cody up for adoption and pretending to send him to military school cause more harm than good? Further, what’s the long-lasting impact of putting up videos where the kids go “psycho” on each other? For every silly string, water gun, and stink bomb goof immortalized for eternity – there’s a serious meltdown, whooping, and moment of shame close by.
In a video titled “USING CODY FOR TARGET PRACTICE!” what lessons do you think that teaches? One of the most controversial videos on the channel was “Alex SLAPPED Emma in the FACE,” in which Mike approved Alex giving a hard SLAP to Emma’s face and making her cry.
The bottom layer is the Mike that works on his videos day in and day out for his family, sparring against the Mike that does it for the personal fame and elevation for himself. As seen in the Good Morning America interview, these two things were at odds. That is to say, Mike Martin thought the success of his DaddyOFive YouTube channel would make the children proud of him. Mike himself admits that he’s not a doctor or a lawyer, and he says the only way to success he saw was this YouTube channel that got traction by happenstance. He thinks the closest thing to heroism is uploading videos like “ALEX BAD AT SCHOOL!”, “Alex was BAD on the BUS”, “ALEX HITS DAD IN THE NUTS!!”, “CODY BAD IN SCHOOL!!”, “CODY GETS THE BELT!!”, “Emma BIT a CHUNK out of Cody!”, “JAKE BEATS UP RYAN”, “Jake BEATS UP Alex”, “Ryan MISSED the BUS”, and “Ryan gets a SPANKING!” online. In a vlog that was mainly celebrating Emma’s birthday, Mike decided to title it “LOST CHILD prank” because for a short two minute segment the family pretends to abandon Cody in the mall.
“I’m a dad, and it hurt my gut to hear you say what you just said.” T.J. Holmes of ABC said. “Do you really think your kids…. you aren’t a hero to your kids before this?”
“I didn’t feel like it.” Mike confesses. “I swear to God I didn’t feel like it.”
But Mike Martin wasn’t the only parent helming the DaddyOFive YouTube channel.
What Drove Heather
Heather implied in a DaddyOFive Q&A video that she was the biological mother of Cody and Emma Martin. When responding to a question if either of them were adopted, Heather said “No, unfortunately not,” in response. She goes on to say their “Nan” had red-hair. That Heather’s mother is a ginger. This would be a striking contrast to the statement given in “Family Destroyed Over False Aquisations [sic],” where Heather reveals that the family is a blended one.
She goes on to claim some sort of ownership as the mother of Cody and Emma.
And someone had some interview with the kids biological mother. And ya know, it broke me down because they said “we have their REAL mother”…. I’M their real mother.
As explored in my previous article on this subject, Heather was the main point of interaction between Mike Martin and Rose Hall. She initially told Rose that she understood having his biological mother in his life was important to him, and yet Heather would end up pulling the rug out from under Rose. As we’d find out in Rose’s update video with Tim Conlon – Heather apparently told Cody that Rose “threw him away like he was garbage,” but here in May 2015 we can see Heather telling Rose that Cody was distancing himself from his biological mother.
A puppet show of emotions, and Heather was in charge. But it turns out that control extended beyond the family’s social interactions.
When it comes to understanding Heather Martin’s background, we have to look a little bit deeper. She’s the person in charge of the upkeep and expenses for this whole show. When it comes to purchasing merchandise for the channel? She takes care of it. Who bought the house’s security alarms? Heather did.
These things are in her name. From the YouTube channel to the house the family first lived in when they started.
The house the Martin family lived in at the start of the DaddyOFive controversy (now) is actually a rental.While in itself a rental is not a controversial thing (despite my initial assumption, they do mention the fact they’re renting very briefly in this video). People do that all the time. But following the money back it reveals an important aspect of the bigger picture.
The point boils down to the fact DaddyOFive’s channel makes a big deal about this new house. “OUR NEW HOUSE,” “The movers STOLE my TV,” “First Vlog in the NEW HOUSE,” “First NIGHT in the NEW HOUSE,” “LAST night in the old house,” and “First FanMail in the NEW house,” all showcase the process of this transition. Taking place on the 14th, 15th, 16th, and 22nd of November, along with December 1st and 2nd, respectively in the order of the title’s mention. Mike praises his security system is top-of-the-line because apparently YouTubers “need” that no matter what. In particular you can see the amount of stuff the Martin family has obtained by the point of the First Vlog video. Big fancy windows, televisions in the kids’ bedrooms, Mike even comments on the excessive size of the house at one point when Cody is banished to the “East Wing” by DaddyOFive.
At the same time as all of this, Heather Martin was dealing with bankruptcy proceedings. Two years after the automatic stay is lifted on her home in Baltimore, happens to be the exact time that her and DaddyOFive moved into their current house. That is to say the earlier address of Mike and Heather Martin’s DaddyOFive YouTube channel was foreclosed. You can confirm it’s theirs by looking at the business registration paperwork for DaddyOFive that has only Heather’s name on it signed in August 2016, which lists the same address as the foreclosed house. By the end of September 2016 we see that the Martins had begun the process of renting their current house seen in a majority of the YouTube videos. There’d be no mention of how this was possible in the November 2016 DaddyOFive vlog where the family is introduced to the house for the first time. They’d have time to show us around the place, certainly. Mike even comments on how nice the house is. But nothing about how it was bought.
Why would the Martins want to appear rich, then?
For this section, I recommend reading the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 from the American Bar Association. At no point in this section am I asserting what’s legal or illegal, only shedding a better light into the background circumstances of the DaddyOFive YouTube channel as it applies to Heather Martin’s sole ownership of it. For informative purposes only. The documentation used in this section is taken from the PACER files related to t
Between the end of March 2008 to mid-July 2008, Heather Withrow-Zopp (Martin) filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy with her husband at the time, Rickie. They had a mortgage on their house and their car somewhere in the ballpark beyond $200,000, and a number of smaller bills and expenses piling up (a lot of medical, some jewelry, and over $100 to Blockbuster) alongside that. It’s pretty straightforward. The couple decided to forfeit the car and the house, went through credit counseling, and that was that.
On it’s own there’s nothing remarkable about it. That is, until you consider the complicated route Heather’s second bankruptcy had gone down. Some important things to make a note of in this are the fact that Heather was seeing Mike Martin by 2011 and they were officially married on January 18, 2014.
By December 10th 2013, Heather Withrow found herself once more in the bankruptcy hot-seat. This time she filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy alone. She owed over a grand to the IRS since 2010. Over $4000 in utility bills, thousands of dollars owed across 7 different credit cards, and over $3000 in cell phone related charges. To get the point, in the interim since her last bankruptcy, Heather let the expenses get away from herself. In these documents we come to find out she got credit consultation via the internet. Her filings stated at that time she was unmarried and Mike was not living in the household.
Heather Withrow didn’t report that Mike was part of her household income on her Chapter 13 filings, and there’s doubts if she hasn’t her reported new household income/expenses are accurate.
What’s relevant here is that Heather’s original Chapter 13 plan lays out the time period that this debt would be paid off in (60 months). But moreover, there’s a typo in the paperwork submitted that day. They would submit a new plan at the end of January 2014, after Heather officially married Mike. In this amended Chapter 13 plan, she forgot to sign it. February 3rd. Trustee objects to the plan, wants it amended with pay stubs for 60 days prior to the filing, wants the house surrendered. March 25th 2014. Numerous objections from the Trustee: failure to dedicate all disposable earnings in several places, failure to properly provide payments to entities owed to, failure to properly include all owners of the property the family was living at, and discrepancies in the attorney fees are just some of the errors observed in the objection. May 20th. Many of these discrepancies are still outstanding.
It’s not until July 1st 2014 that we see the final confirmation and approval from the judge. In any of the paperwork filed after Mike and Heather got married, but before this confirmation, he’s never mentioned once. It’s like Mike Martin doesn’t exist.
According to uscourts.gov in regards to Chapter 13:
Married individuals must gather this information for their spouse regardless of whether they are filing a joint petition, separate individual petitions, or even if only one spouse is filing. In a situation where only one spouse files, the income and expenses of the non-filing spouse is required so that the court, the trustee and creditors can evaluate the household’s financial position.
The last document in this Chapter 13 bankruptcy case is an address change. Even at this point when she has moved with Mike and the kids to their rental home, Heather Martin goes by the name of Withrow. Despite the fact that on the paperwork for the DaddyOFive YouTube channel, she signs it as Heather Martin.
I am not in a position to deem what’s legal and illegal, but given the circumstances of Heather’s bankruptcy background it leaves room to question where the DaddyOFive profits really went. Someone with demonstrably very little accountability to their money management is in charge of where funding goes for five children’s profits from a YouTube channel dedicated to pranking them. Heather Martin can’t claim ignorance because her background is in accounting (6:00 of this video establishes that).
If you wanted to know how aware of DaddyOFive’s content Heather is, we can look towards her opening speech in a December 2016 video “A SPECIAL MESSAGE FOR DAD” she made for Mike’s birthday.
“We’re a lot of fun, we’ve a lot of jokes. And we prank each other and we do all this stuff. And we love you guys, and most of you are very good to us. The kids absolutely love YouTube and love all you guys. They always wanna know what you guys are saying about their videos, and how they’re doing. But on a serious note, DaddyOFive gets so much shit for his channel and the content and things that are on it. And one thing you guys need to realize is – everything he does is for his kids. He’s probably the most amazing dad I’ve ever met in my life. And I’m not just saying that because he’s my husband. He plays with the kids, he’s always coming up with fun things for them to do. They wanted to go into this YouTube stuff and they really wanted to make this channel. He was leery at first because it could go one way or another, and he did it because his kids wanted to do it, and they are excited about it. And they make videos and they watch their own content and laugh at it. This is just the kind of family that we are. They’re so fun, and they’re so creative.”
“They fight. They argue. Tell me that you don’t argue with your siblings, and fight with your siblings. I mean everyone does. I have two younger sisters and when we were growing up, we always fought with each other. I know DaddyOFive has been getting a lot of hate lately, and getting a lot of people talking crap, and saying how bad of a dad he is. Look at the big picture of things and not just the little things that you can pick out of our content and try to flip it six ways from Sunday. Most of our fans actually understand our channel and know that having five kids is crazy.”
Heather Martin is more involved in the content then she implied in recent videos and television interviews. It was something that was carefully monitored by her in the comments sections of videos and overall aware of.
When it comes to the YouTube channel, there are times where we get to see MommyOFive take a role in the videos.
First, an example of calm. When it comes to “MY WIFE BROKE MY TOOTH!!……almost” the opening of the video has Heather lamenting at the fact her children can’t do their chores (she’d later yell at Mike about the same thing). Peppering swears throughout the early parts of the video that go on talking about this, it eventually leads to a scene upstairs where Mike calls Cody a bad kid, and Heather implies Emma is stupid. We see the Martin couple out and about in public with no kids. Heather takes Mike out to Five Guys for lunch, they go to the movies, Mike tags along while Heather browses vacuum cleaners, and they go to a steakhouse for dinner. Without the DaddyOFive children, a day in the life of the couple seems fairly mundane in comparison to their usual chaos.
What happens when when we throw the kids into the equation? We see it happen in “MOM HAS A MELTDOWN!!” when Heather yells at Mike about chores and other responsibilities, criticizing him for being lazy about his contribution. Her conniption started over a load of laundry, as seen starting in 7:22 in the meltdown video. It drags on for a good three minutes – with the wear and tear being visible on her face.
“Do you have sand in your vagina?,” was Mike’s retort. After joking around about putting up Emma for adoption, then Mike, then Heather, her reply at [21:07] is “Nothing in this house would run without me.”
Heather Martin is very liberal with her use of kitchen knives. In “PRANK ON MOM GOES HORRIBLY WRONG ( ENDS IN FIGHT ),” a wet Heather pulls a knife on Mike when he sprays her with a super soaker gun for a prank. She was unreceptive to the humor and the exchange devolved into a more heated argument. Heather chases Mike around the house waving around a knife in her hand. In “PSYCHO WIFE PULLS KNIFE ON HUSBAND!!,” we see that Heather is in charge of many household chores and buys clothes for Mike, all the meanwhile putting up with his attempts to annoy her while she does her routine. The knife part comes in due to the fact that Heather is not only willing to tolerate and humor Mike as he films her, she escalates it. Grabbing a kitchen knife from the counter, Heather isn’t afraid to whip it around at him so DaddyOFive backs off from her. If you go to [14:12] of the video you’ll be taken into another intense moment where Heather is shouting at Mike and waving a knife at him.
There was that one time Heather ran around the house chasing Jake with a spoon. In “Cody Gets Kicked Out!!” Heather says she doesn’t like Cody. In “Lost Child PRANK” she calls him a dickhead. In “Booger Prank Meltdown!!” she urges Cody to fight back against the other kids more aggressively. In the video where Cody gets put up for adoption, Heather plays along with Mike and threatens to take away all of Cody’s stuff “for real,” making it clear that it isn’t part of a prank. Heather calls the kid a demon. In “Getting Ready For Disney!!” Heather tells Mike to be angry at Cody for the fact that he wasn’t going to Disney World, whereas Mike himself was simply upset at that. She claims Cody would make everyone miserable, and says he needs to behave himself and whatever is going on with him is not normal.
“He’s crazy. Crazy ginger snap,” Heather says when describing Cody. She had previously told Rose that she tried to be good to all the children.
MommyOFive has her own YouTube channel that was done in the same spirit as DaddyOFive. In her first video “Tin Can Challenge,” uploaded in October 2016, Heather says she intended on posting once a week. She states that she didn’t know what to post since most of the stuff the family did was posted over on the DaddyOFive main channel. Heather ends up uploading on a monthly basis instead. While there are only six videos on that channel there’s enough of the same theme identifiable. They outsourced one of the giveaway winner announcements to MommyOFive’s channel. Along with another challenge video, people got to see her do a test run of Playstation VR and a vlog where she burned herself cooking.
The main point of interest to MommyOFive’s YouTube channel is a prank video called “PRANK GONE WRONG DAD PULLS A GUN!!,” released February 24th 2017. Using Jake and Ryan as actors, Heather walks the camera she’s holding around the living room to show us the other recording devices around the house she had set-up. The group had planned to stage a break-in into the family house that evening, setting off the alarms to make it look like an intruder got inside. This intruder (Jake in a ski mask), was going to urge a panicked Mike to “hurry up and turn off” the alarm system in a deep gruntish voice. Heather is meticulous in the placement of these kids, telling Ryan when he should get the camera based on what she predicted Mike would do in response. She giggles into the camera beforehand, telling us this was her “delivering” to the audience after people hit the like button on her last video enough.
At [2:55] the alarms are blasting. Mike exits from his bedroom with a gun in his hand. Heather is screaming frantically in what sounds like a legitimately horrified tone.
“WHO THE FUCK IS IN THE HOUSE,” Mike shouts from his position of cover behind a kitchen wall. One of the younger kids peers out from the basement and expresses their worry at the commotion, but Mike snaps a finger at him to get back down. Pointing a firearm at Jake and his own wife, DaddyOFive screams at this intruder to get the f*ck out.
Heather quickly tells Mike it’s Jake. Mr. Martin looks around the room to realize he’s been pranked.
“WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU ALL,” Mike screams. Heather was laughing a bit beforehand but this had caused the room to go silent. “ARE YOU FUCKING RETARDED?!?” he says in a follow-up.
DaddyOFive is furious, turning around to slap the camera out of Ryan’s hands.
“I’VE GOT A FUCKING GUN AND SOMEBODY COULD’VE GOTTEN SHOT. YOU’RE PLAYING FUCKING GAMES,” he yells.
Mike doesn’t find the humor in it as Heather and the kids are chortling. He’s still got a serious look on his face when he checks the safety on his pistol. Mike shouted at his wife that she can’t trigger the alarm like that because the cops will show up. An onlooker from across the street had peered into the window as a result of this chaos, and Heather tells Mike he needed to put his gun away. Text messages from the alarm company were coming in, and all Heather could think about was how hilarious it was that Mike was “screaming like a fool.”
[5:25] Mike and Heather have a sit down. Heather has this playful look on her face, where she says she knows she was bad in a non-serious fashion. In between the cut in the video, the cops had shown up at the house according to Heather because they had set their alarms off. She’s still half-hearted while Mike yells about the consequences to her, and what could’ve gone wrong. Heather says since she paid for the alarm she was going to take the blame for the prank.
“It was funny,” Heather shrugs. “It would’ve been even funnier if one of them gingers rolled down the steps,” she said. “Squealin’.”
Heather’s closing argument was the prank is “mild” because the kids only almost got shot.
Everything Mike Martin did? Heather either stood by and allowed it to happen, or she fanned the flames of the situation to up the shock value. Mrs. Martin turned the family’s drama into a business. When Heather told Rose that Cody was excelling under her care in December 2014, what do you think she’d say now in retrospect? In light of every kick to the face, every shout-down recorded for a YouTube audience, In light of pretending to abandon the boy in a mall. every time he was bullied for the sake of YouTube entertainment.
That is not an assertion of fact, that is the reality. Watch Mike Martin give a stamp of approval on it for himself.
One doesn’t need to accuse of Mike or Heather of being in the wrong at this point, they flat-out admitted it the moment they uploaded their PR-friendly apology video on April 22nd.
Someone who uses invisible ink to write messages doesn’t want their intentions to be known to prying eyes. Heather Withrow didn’t want the courts to know she was also Heather Martin, so she signed bankruptcy documents under these separate names. Seeming to conceal the fact that Mike Martin in fact existed. Putting her signature on the DaddyOFive LLC paperwork, Heather was free to quietly stand behind Mike as he brought in the money from the YouTube channel, open to spend on whatever she thought was best. That agreement worked out for Mike because his mother Audrey was like that with her husband Charles.
The words written down with an invisible ink pen quickly vanish when exposed to the passage of time. By jumping from 0 to 100 and chasing Mike around the house with a kitchen knife, it’s harder to judge when Heather is serious about something. The sentences are written down but they lack a lasting impact of any value. That’s also Mike’s job as a parent. In December 2016 when Heather made that video message assuaging the fans of any controversy concerns, it clearly didn’t last. Here we are in April/May 2017 with the DaddyOFive couple dealing with the same issue.
Invisible ink just leaves the user with the question of – what was the point of doing that in the first place?
When it comes to understanding the lasting impact of the DaddyOFive controversy, we’ll be looking beyond the immediate circumstances of the family itself. The fate of the Martins is up in the air right now. The situation is too unpredictable to make that kind of a call. The YouTube channel couldn’t last a year with their cycle of controversial content. But the impact of what it shows the public about what goes on online is sure to be talked about for a long time.
Ashley Taylor first got involved when she saw the video by Phil DeFranco on the subject, initially thinking it was just another YouTube drama being blown out of proportion. When she looked into it deeper, Ashley came to realize the extent of what was happening on the DaddyOFive channel. It was “sickening” and unbelievable to her that they had success for their content. As an actor in the NYC area, she had a unique perspective on things. Beyond the immediate need to rescue the children from the father and step-mother, child performers on YouTube in general need regulations for their work much like what Hollywood is afforded. For film and television they have protections that deal with the extent of working hours, conditions, and amount of income (15%) that’s guaranteed to go to the children.
Taylor organized a letter writing campaign to Governor Hogan of Maryland to help raise his and the public’s awareness to this issue. You can see what that entails in a video uploaded by her on the 25th of April, along with a playlist of some of the participants who joined in alongside Ashley. Another one of these projects is something called C.O.D.Y. (Children Online Deserve Your protection).
6 Replies to “The Legacy of DaddyOFive”
Wow, hell of a post. Thanks for writing this, from seeing the first PhillyD video right up to this post it’s really been a ride. In the end, I just want to know that those kids are safe and being afforded a decent chance at getting raised in a safe and hopefully loving environment.
This first class journalism of a very harrowing & emotive subject.
Thank you very much for documenting this complex story, Nick.
If only there were more journalists who had such integrity, our societies would be much stronger for it.
thanks for writing this. even though it’s long it’s worth a read.