YouTube has shut down a channel belonging to two Maryland parents who were convicted of child neglect for videos that showed them tormenting their young children.
According to The Guardian, YouTube removed Mike and Heather Martin’s FamilyOFive channel and their gaming channel and banned them from the platform. The decision comes months after the Martins were sentenced to five years’ probation for child neglect. WTTG reported that the couple also lost custody of two of their children and are barred from contacting them without a judge’s approval.
“Content that endangers children is unacceptable to us. We have worked extensively alongside experts in child safety to make sure we have strict policies and are aggressively enforcing them,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement. “Given this channel owner’s previous strikes for violating our Guidelines prohibiting child endangerment, we’re removing all of his channels under our Terms of Service.”
Mike’s previous DaddyOFive channel sparked outrage, leading many users to accuse the couple of abusing their children. One video reportedly showed Mike spraying disappearing ink on his son’s bedroom floor then blaming and berating him for it in an expletive-laden tirade. The child was reduced to tears before the father told him it “was just a prank.”
Following their conviction, the Martins moved from Maryland to West Virginia with the three children still in their custody and continued to post videos on YouTube. WUSA reported that the content on their FamilyOFive channel was “toned down” but still showcased much of the controversial content that landed them in hot water in the first place.
According to the news station, a video posted in February showed one child being made to explain a bruise he apparently received when playing with an older brother. The couple claimed that videos on the channel—which boasted 400,000 subscribers—were staged and were often devised by the children.
Declining to comment on the state of their channel, the Martins provided WUSA with the following statement:
“Our family has worked very hard to heal and reestablish ourselves over the past 18 months. Through a lot of hard work and introspection, we are all doing well, and are happy. YouTube is something we enjoy as a family, and we will continue to do it, within the strict boundaries we have set for ourselves. For the sake of our privacy and continued healing, I have no further comment or anything past, or present at this time.”
[Featured Image: GMA/ABC News screenshot]