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Popular YouTubers Cole and Savannah LaBrant are being accused of dishonesty regarding their vlog about evacuating during a California wildfire last week, BuzzFeed News reports. The couple’s YouTube channel has over 6 million subscribers, and each family member—including their 5-year-old daughter Everleigh—has over 3 million followers on their Instagram accounts.
The accusations of lying came after the LaBrants uploaded a vlog on their channel on Aug. 13 titled, “WE LEFT OUR HOUSE BECAUSE OF WILDFIRES IN CALIFORNIA.” In the video, Cole explains that he received a text from his wife, who informed him of a wildfire near their home in the Ladera Ranch community of California’s Orange County.
The Holy Fire, which the LaBrants say they evacuated from, burned in the Cleveland National Forest, scorching thousands of acres across Southern California and destroying 18 homes. Up to this point, the fire has been mostly contained and is expected to be fully contained by Aug. 26.
According to KNBC, Ladera Ranch was not listed as one of the evacuated communities for the fire. A smoke advisory, however, was issued to people in the Orange County area.
In the video, Cole LeBrant explains that the fire is “four miles away” from their house and that they’ve just received an evacuation notice, packed their things, and picked up Everleigh. He tells Everleigh that she doesn’t have to be afraid, explaining that fires are her “biggest fear.” The family then makes a trip to San Francisco, where they enjoy their hotel and tourist spots for the remainder of the vlog.
Neighbors of the family are now accusing the video as inauthentic, according to BuzzFeed News. Others say the vloggers’ content is continuously fake and exploitative of their daughter Everleigh for views.
Lemme map this out for you guys 🙂 the blue circle is where cole and sav live and the rest u can figure it out yourself pic.twitter.com/4ldtjZEkmF— sammy misky (@sammymisky) August 17, 2018
Sav, you & Cole need to stop exploiting Ev on three YouTube channels and Instagram for a living, you’re wrong to parade her on the Internet for money. God will watch and see how you exploit even an unborn child for views and money. And Ev isn’t Coles child, yet he lives off her— Cheese Nip (@ItsSnapCat) August 16, 2018
I’ve been saying this forever but the way that cole and sav use their daughter for views and click bait is disgusting. She’s only 5 and has her life on a screen where anybody can see. They also seem to have developed a habit of using a photo of everleigh crying for more views. pic.twitter.com/YCBAybNmKE— Kate (@Bestillmyheart2) August 19, 2018
Neighbors of the couple told Fox 11 they were upset by the LaBrant’s video about their wildfire evacuation.
“I just think it’s really sad they would exploit a situation that’s as serious as a fire that so many people were evacuated just so they could get more likes or more hits on their channel,” one neighbor said.
According to BuzzFeed News, some fans of the YouTubers have defended the vlog, saying the couple evacuated because Savannah LaBrant is pregnant.
H/T BuzzFeed News
Onaje McDowelle is an editorial intern for the Daily Dot. He is studying journalism and African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. His work has appeared in Austin Monthly magazine, GoodMusicAllDay, and Orange magazine.