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From YouTube Stardom to Controversy: The Shocking Unraveling of Ruby Franke and 8 Passengers


Meet Ruby Franke, the influential figure behind the now-defunct 8 Passengers YouTube channel, who has recently made headlines for all the wrong reasons. This once-beloved family channel, chronicling the lives of Ruby, her husband Kevin, and their six children, has faced mounting concerns and criticisms from viewers about their parenting methods.

Ruby Franke’s world took a dark turn when she was arrested on two counts of aggravated child abuse. Disturbingly, the arrest followed the discovery of a malnourished child with open wounds, their extremities bound with duct tape. Ruby’s business partner and collaborator, Jodi Hildebrandt, the founder of the controversial life counseling organization ConneXions, faced the same charges. Together, they created content that many critics argue promoted an excessively strict style of parenting.

This isn’t the first time Ruby Franke has faced public scrutiny. Her parenting vlogs, now deleted, had long sparked accusations of abuse by concerned viewers. As the news of their arrest circulates, both Franke and Hildebrandt have remained silent, not responding to emails or calls. It remains unclear if they have legal representation.

So, who is Ruby Franke, and what was 8 Passengers all about? Ruby and Kevin Franke launched their family YouTube channel in early 2015, offering a glimpse into their lives raising six children in Utah. Their content centered on their parenting style, the children’s upbringing, and homeschooling, as devout members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

However, as of now, the 8 Passengers channel is conspicuously absent from YouTube, with no official explanation provided. Forbes had reported its removal earlier this year, but YouTube has not yet offered insight into the matter.

The Frankes’ attorney, Randy Kester, and their adult children, Shari and Chad, have remained tight-lipped, leaving many questions unanswered.

Criticism against family channels on YouTube has been mounting, with concerns about the exploitation of children and allegations of abusive behavior. The Frankes, despite amassing a sizable following, found themselves at the center of such criticism. A Change.org petition in June 2020 called for an investigation into their family after a video revealed their son, Chad, had been subjected to a punishing seven-month bean bag ordeal. Utah’s Division of Child and Family Services investigated but closed the case due to unsupported claims.

The Frankes were also criticized for various instances, including refusing to bring lunch to their daughter at school and threatening to dispose of their children’s possessions. Jodi Hildebrandt’s organization, ConneXions, known for its strict parenting teachings, further fueled concerns. One video even suggested that a child not following their « principles of truth » might be cut off from their family.

Ruby Franke frequently collaborated with Hildebrandt for ConneXions and was labeled as a « certified mental fitness trainer » for the organization.

As for the accusations against Ruby Franke, she was arrested for aggravated child abuse, defined in Utah as causing « serious physical injury » to a child or allowing such injury to occur. The Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safety Department found evidence leading them to another child in a similar condition in a nearby home, resulting in both children being hospitalized. Four more minors were placed in the care of the Division of Child and Family Services.

In response to these disturbing events, Shari Franke, the eldest of the Franke children, posted an enigmatic Instagram Story, hinting at the gravity of the situation.

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