Parents reveal reason behind shocking prank videos

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A Maryland couple is under fire for their YouTube pranks, which have gotten millions of views and sparked outrage, child abuse accusations and a police investigation. (WLS)

A Maryland couple is under fire for their YouTube pranks, which have gotten millions of views and sparked outrage, child abuse accusations and a police investigation.

Mike and Heather Martin spoke exclusively with ABC News, to apologize and reveal the real reason they made the "Daddy O Five" videos.

"We love our kids. They're the most important thing in the world to us. We made poor parenting choices by portraying ourselves this way. But we are not bad people," Heather Martin said, sobbing.

The Martins want the world to see them differently from the infamous videos that made them YouTube stars.

But some of the videos, which show them pranking - and at times, screaming profanities at - their crying children, have recently brought widespread criticism and allegations of abuse.

"I am ashamed. This just - it started out as family fun. It started with me and my kids. We were just... But then it was just about making a video and then making the next video more crazier than the next," Mike Martin said.

"They would get excited when they would get a lot of views. You know, it was more for shock value. We were going for shock value," Heather Martin said. "What you see on our YouTube channel is not a reflection of who we are. It's not. It's a character. It was a show. A bad show. But it was a show."

Mike Martin agreed with ABC's T.J. Holmes, saying it was a show children should not have been involved in. Holmes asked what audiences were supposed to believe to be real.

"We did do pranks. But most of the time, the kids knew about 'em. They were planned. Some stuff is real. Some stuff was acted out, scripted," Heather Martin said.

Holmes asked if they were suggesting their children's cries and sobs weren't real.

"Not every single time. Some of it was acted. Some of it was," Heather Martin said.

The couple claimed some of their children's emotions were exaggerated, all for the sake of making more dramatic videos and getting more views. Mike Martin said deep down, he just thought becoming a celebrity would make his kids proud.

Martin: "You got dads out there, they're lawyers. I'm not no lawyer. You've got dads out there that are doctors. I can't do that. I felt like I'm not bein' the dad that they deserve. I'm no hero to them. But then startin' YouTube and seein' how happy these kids get when they get these views..."

Holmes: "I'm a dad. And it hurt my gut to hear you said what you just did. Do you really think your kids - you weren't a hero to your kids before this?

Martin: "I didn't feel like it. I swear to God, I didn't feel like it. I felt like, you know, I was a stay at home dad."


The family started going to counseling together, but the children said they miss those videos.

"We would be like, 'Dad, when are we going to make the next video?' It was just something I really looked forward to," one of the Martin children said.

The Martin kids said they hope to make a comeback with more tactful movies in the future.
Related Topics:
familyparentingyoutubeprankviral videochild abuseinvestigationu.s. & worldMaryland
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