The LaBrant Fam is one of the most popular family influencer channels on YouTube. To date, the account boasts over 13 million subscribers with videos garnering anywhere from 40 million to over 100 million views.
Over the years The LaBrant Fam has grown both in size and in popularity, and so too have their controversies. But in order to understand what the hype is all about and why this suburban California-turned-Tennessee family has such a hold on social media, let’s take a look at who they are and how they became so famous.
Who is The LaBrant Fam?
The LaBrant Fam consists of husband and wife Cole and Savannah LaBrant and their four children; Everleigh, Posie, Zealand, and Sunday. Like many family influencers, The LaBrant Fam participates in the usual YouTube activities such as challenges, viral trends, pranks, vlogs, and Q&A videos.
However, before their account became the huge hit it is today, things started out small for Cole and Savannah. Cole gained notoriety on the now-defunct social media platform Vine. He met Savannah at 19 years old and eventually transitioned over to YouTube. During the early years of their relationship, before they were known as The LaBrant Fam, the pair were known as Cole&Sav, and their very public display of affection is what won over the hearts of millions. In 2017, their wedding video went viral and drew the most viewers the channel had seen up to that point. However, the real ace up their sleeve, the one component that’s kept viewers coming back for more, was and is Savannah’s daughter Everleigh, whom Savannah had with her late ex-boyfriend Tommy Smith, and who Cole LaBrant now step-fathers.
This segues perfectly into the first bit of controversy:
Exploiting their children for clicks and profit
Of all the niches that exist on social media, family influencers are one of the most controversial, and for obvious reasons. In the case of The LaBrant Fam, Cole and Savannah have opened what appears to be every aspect of their lives to their 13 million subscribers on YouTube (and an additional 17.2 million followers across Savannah, Cole, and Everleigh’s Instagrams). Everything from birthing videos, first day of school videos, morning routines, home activities, theme park trips – you name it, they’ve filmed it.
Because YouTube pays its creators around $5 for every 1,000 views, according to Forbes, a video with, say, one hundred million views such as Cole and Everleigh’s viral Daddy-daughter carpool karaoke video, earned The LaBrant Fam over $500,000 in its lifetime.
That one video alone made more for The LaBrant Fam than over five years of income for an upper-middle-class family in America.
Look, everyone has to make a living, and there’s clearly an audience who enjoy not only getting the inside scoop of other families’ lives but also being a fly on the wall. This involves the larger discussion about how social media skews people’s perception of reality, but at the end of the day The LaBrant Fam has leaned into the fabrication of it all, and people have proven they’re willing to watch.
Accused of faking a fire evacuation
Beyond the overall discussion of exploitation, The LaBrant Fam has been involved in a wide range of controversies that truly took a turn around 2018 when they were accused of faking a fire evacuation.
2018 saw some of California’s worst wildfires to date. The state experienced the total annihilation of a town called Paradise, which tragically killed 58 people, according to The New York Times. Similarly, much of Ventura County and Malibu saw devastating loss both in life and land in the Woolsey Fire. Students were sent home from school, families lost entire homes, the state lost entire towns, and people lost their lives.
While all this was happening The LaBrant Fam made a video called WE LEFT OUR HOUSE BECAUSE OF FIRES IN CALIFORNIA, which originally had a thumbnail photo of Cole, Savannah, and Everliegh looking scared with a photoshopped mountainside going up in a fiery blaze behind them. They were called callous for making light of the situation and for using a headline and a photo that implied they, too, had been asked to evacuate their home.
After watching the video it was discovered that Cole, Savannah, and Everleigh were not required to evacuate their home, nor were they asked to leave by authorities. They left because Everleigh had a fear of fires, and many of the nearly five million viewers who watched the video came to the end of it feeling bamboozled and upset.
Using cancer as clickbait
Among some of The LaBrant Fam’s worst controversies is their “documentary” called She got diagnosed with cancer. (documentary), posted on Aug. 28, 2021. The headline alone is attention-grabbing, but what really worried people (and drew them in) was the original thumbnail of Cole, Savannah, and their three children holding hands in their backyard, which has since been changed to Cole leaning over the sickbed of a child (not their daughter) who has cancer.
Clearly, the implication here was that one of their daughters — Everleigh or Posie (Sunday was not born yet) — was diagnosed with cancer. Well, no. As it turns out, the video was about how Cole and Savannah were worried that Posie might have had cancer. After the first 10 minutes in which the viewer sits on the edge of their seat waiting to hear about Posie’s cancer, they then share their journey of discovering that far more families than they ever believed have children suffering from cancer, and it was them — the infamous “she” in the headline — who had cancer, not any of their children.
It’s not lost on the viewer how much Cole and Savannah care about childhood cancer — otherwise they wouldn’t have made the video — but the damage was done, and the backlash was swift and immediate.
Comparing abortions to the Holocaust
In April 2022, The LaBrant Fam bumped up against perhaps their most contentious controversy to date with yet another documentary (don’t they realize these get them in trouble?) about abortions. The video came just two months before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in America and reversed the federal right to receive an abortion.
The video, titled simply Abortion. (documentary) infamously compared the number of abortions in America to that of the Holocaust, claiming abortions in the U.S. rank the highest among worldwide atrocities.
Known for leaning heavily and publically on their Christian faith, viewers blasted The LaBrant Fam for publicizing their opinion to an audience that is mostly made up of children and young kids.
It wasn’t long before old tweets made by Cole in 2018 began to resurface online. In them, he claimed that if ever his daughter was assaulted and raped he would “encourage” her to keep the baby and would “happily love and raise that baby as my own if she did not want to.”
Addressing why they chose to make the documentary in the first place, especially amid the growing public debate, Cole said it was because they hoped to sway at least one mother from aborting her baby.
“We’ve been asked by our friends, by family, by mentors, why are we making this? There’s so much at risk, why are we even making this, why are we adding flames to an already crazy burning fire?
“And the answer is just if one baby is safe from this, if one mom chooses to keep her baby from it, then it’s all worth it… I know there’s gonna be one mom watching, maybe five, maybe 10, maybe 100, maybe a thousand, we have no idea the ripple effects.”
“This documentary by no means is trying to illegalize abortion, after this documentary you’re still gonna have the choice.”
Following the release of Abortion. (documentary) both Cole and Savannah made their Twitter accounts private. Nevertheless, the family has continued to upload content to YouTube and their other social media platforms. In fact, in April 2023, Cole and Everlieh embarked on a joint YouTube channel titled Cole and Ev. The inaguaral video earned one million views right off the bat, but it was the music video they uploaded several months later on Sept. 4, 2023, that scored them their next controversy.
Everleigh’s first music video, “Like Taylor Swift”
On Sept. 4, 2023, The LaBrant Fam experienced yet more controversy after Everliegh published a music video titled “Like Taylor Swift.” The song, although innocent and fun, rubbed many people the wrong way. Before long, it started seeing comparisons to Rebecca Black’s infamously catchy tune “Friday” from the summer of 2011.
Now 10 years old, Everliegh sports a set of braces and elongated limbs in the music video. Dancing beside a group of backup dancers (also presumably around 10 years old), she sings about moving from California to Tennessee and “trying to find the girl that I was meant to be.” She jumps playfully on a trampoline, does cartwheels, talks about loving her family — but naysayers couldn’t care less.
Flooding Cole’s TikTok with negative comments, critics accused “Like Taylor Swift” of being written by AI instead of Everleigh, as Cole promotes. They also complained that the bridge is nothing more than stolen song titles from Taylor Swift’s catalog boasting of zero originality. Meanwhile, in an effort to promote the song and possibly push it to become viral, Cole released a clip of himself lip-syncing to the track, calling it “the best song you ever heard.”
The backlash was so swift and severe that former Nickelodeon star and guest of the LaBrant Fam YouTube channel, JoJo Siwa, stepped in to stem the flow of criticism. Against the backdrop of herself singing in the car, Siwa condemned bullying, especially committed by adults to kids, and said anyone who criticized Everligh or the song should be “embarrassed” and needs to “grow up.”
The “Like Taylor Swift” controversy is admittedly the least severe and least warranted of all the issues The LaBrant Fam has faced since venturing into the public eye. Nevertheless, it tells a clear story of the growing public perception this All-American family has incurred in recent years.
Now, over half a decade since Cole and Savannah first met and began sharing their relationship with the world, The LaBrant Fam is amid their largest backlog of controversies to date. As it stands, they sit on a pile of content that has, in one way or another, sat poorly with millions of people.
In recent years, they expressed no intention of stopping anytime soon, but with the last few years of controversy hanging over their heads, the future of The LaBrant Fam looks murkier than ever.