The YouTube video dividing the internet
A mother in the US is under fire after leaving her sons in tears in cruel prank.
THE parents of five children who shot to internet stardom courtesy of a series of cruel pranks are now receiving counselling after their latest video backfired.
Mike and Heather Martin, the couple behind Daddyofive’s prank videos, were slammed last week.
Now they’ve used the same YouTube channel to apologise.
“Right now we are under attack,” Martin told his viewers after the couple were accused of “mental torture” towards their five kids.
“This has been the absolute worst week of our life and we realise that we have made some terrible parenting decisions and we just want to make things right.”
Heather said they’ve used the week to do some thinking and realised they crossed lines they never intended to cross.
“During this week we have had lots of time to stand back and … I acknowledge and respect how everyone feels about this and I do agree that we put things on the internet that should not be there, we did things that we should not,” she said.
“As a mother, looking back at the videos, if I didn’t know those people and I saw some of those things … I would think ‘Oh my god, those poor children’.
“We feel like we went from something that wasn’t so bad and then we just kept going more and more for the shock factor.”
She broke down describing how the children had blamed themselves for the backlash and admitted her family was in counselling.
The video that sparked the outrage, titled “Invisible Ink Prank”, has been viewed 349,641 times, and has people arguing over whether the “prank” on brothers Cody and Alex constitutes child abuse.
The video opens with mum Heather giggling conspiratorially to the camera.
“I got a prank for Cody,” she says. She dangles a container of invisible or disappearing ink, in front of the camera and says “I’m going to squirt it all over his carpet and start flipping out.”
She tells viewers about the time Cody actually did spill ink on the carpet, and how they had to have it professionally cleaned.
“I’m going to make him think he did it again, and he’s going to flip out because he really didn’t do it,” she says, barely able to contain her glee.
The video might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but so far, it only seems a bit mean.
Things quickly deteriorate after Heather pours ink around Cody’s room and yells for her son to come up and explain what’s happened.
“Get your f**king ass up here!” she screams. “What the f**k?!”
Dad Mike, who’s holding the camera, chimes in and yells, “What did you do?!”
Cody runs up the stairs, confused. “I didn’t do that!” he yells.
As the gobsmacked boy denies making the mess — he dissolves into tears. “I didn’t do it! I swear!” he cries.
Brother Alex unwittingly gets dragged into the drama when he walks into the room to see what the yelling is about. Heather yells at him: “You were f**king up here too?”
“You did it too!” Mike yells. Alex starts crying and goes to sit on the bed looking completely heartbroken.
The video continues for six excruciatingly long minutes before Mike and Heather tell the boys it’s all a joke, and that the ink will disappear.
They laugh and taunt as Alex and Cody sit miserable and utterly shell-shocked on the bed.
At the end, Cody is told to do the “outro”. Mike zooms in on his son’s tearstained face as Cody asks viewers to like and subscribe to their channel.
With tens of thousands of followers and a polarising subject matter, the video was bound to get a lot of traction online. There are reactions from both sides: some call the video “mental torture” while others find the family downright hysterical.
“This guy is beyond delusional,” writes Reddit user SituatedSynapses. “It’s sickening to even think he’s a legal guardian to five children. Needless to say, this guy does all of this ON CAMERA. He must be five times more abusive when he’s not being recorded. These kids need to be taken away from his custody.”
@tribe_of_two on Instagram is more succinct: “@the_official_daddyofive why is mentally torturing your kids till they cry funny to you?”
The family recently posted a reply video called “Blocking All The Haters,” in which they sit down to talk about “Invisible Ink Prank”.
Cody and Alex are quizzed about how they feel, and both boys confirm they’re fine, not traumatised. Older brother Ryan pops into frame and says “It’s just a prank, bro.”
The video has now been removed for “violating YouTube’s policy on harassment and bullying”.
This article originally appeared on Kidspot.