I just waved goodbye to my daughter and granddaughter — they’re driving back to Wisconsin. We had an exhausting weekend with a 4 year old (soon to be five!) who was full of energy and was running circles around us.
No sooner had they left than I sit down and read about Ruby Franke.
Ruby Franke, the family vlogger behind the now-defunct YouTube channel 8 passengers has been formally charged with six counts of felony child abuse by a Washington County attorney in Utah, court documents show.
Franke and her business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt, were arrested last week after Franke’s 12-year-old son climbed out a window and ran to a neighbor’s house asking for food and water.
The neighbor, noticing duct tape around the child’s ankles and wrists, called the police. The responding officer said the child appeared severely malnourished and had sustained “deep lacerations” from being tied up with a rope.
When police searched Hildebrandt’s home, they found Franke’s 10-year-old daughter in a similar condition and transported both children to the hospital for malnourishment. In total, the four Franke children still living at home were taken into the care of Utah’s Child and Family Services. Her two other children are adults.
Hildebrandt was also charged with six felony counts of aggravated child abuse.
I am at a loss. I cannot imagine doing that to a child. But I can see three factors in the story that would drive a person to child abuse, not that it excuses it.
- Conservative bullshit. There is an old-time conservative tradition that children must be beaten — “spare the rod, spoil the child,” all that crap. Not in my immediate family, fortunately, but I knew kids who came to school with welts, and some of my relatives could be fierce with a switch. These people still exist.
- Religious sadism. If God says it’s OK, then swat that child. It’s even in the ten commandments, when it’s read as “Honor your father and mother…OR ELSE.” It’s especially strong in Mormonism, where so many children are literally thrown out of the house to fend for themselves if they don’t follow arbitrary Mormon rules.
- Capitalism. Family vlogging or mommy vlogging can be extremely profitable, but only if the kids are doing interesting things, and if the parents are willing to expose their private struggles to the world. If there isn’t enough drama in day-to-day life, then make some. And if they kids aren’t sufficiently profitable in their trained chimpanzee antics, well, then they must be punished.
Now Franke’s sisters have issued a statement.
“For the last 3 years we have kept quiet on the subject of our sister Ruby Franke for the sake of her children. Behind the public scene we have done everything we could to try and make sure the kids were safe,” the statement began.
“Ruby was arrested which needed to happen. Jodi was arrested which needed to happen. The kids are now safe, which is the number one priority.”
Oh, yeah? You knew about this for three years and said nothing?
Her neighbors commented.
The neighbors of recently-arrested YouTube family vlogger Ruby Franke were reportedly not surprised to see her Utah home swarmed by police. Some were just happy that the authorities weren’t pulling bodies from the house.
“Everyone is just breathing a collective sigh of relief because we thought they were going to come out of that house with body bags,” one of her neighbors told NBC News.
It was so bad that you were anticipating dead children, but you didn’t call CPS? This is just disturbing, that everyone knew and everyone kept kept quiet, and that Franke also had 2 million subscribers to her creepy YouTube channel, and all those people just watched.
That’s a little unfair. At least some of them complained enough that YouTube finally took the channel down. She just moved on to another inappropriate grift.
The channel was taken down earlier this year amid a growing chorus of criticism over Franke’s strict parenting tactics, which included threatening to take away meals.
In recent weeks, Franke had been collaborating with Hildebrandt on ConneXions, a mental health counseling service that also faced criticism for its parenting advice, including shame-based learning and shunning those who don’t share your values.
Hildebrandt is another piece of work, an ex-therapist who had her license revoked.
The founder of the company, Jodi Hildebrandt, is a therapist who had her license suspended in 2012 after she disclosed a patient’s “porn addiction” to his Mormon church leaders, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.
It’s astonishing that anyone would take mental health advice from either of those two losers.
By the way, their Instagram channel, Moms of Truth, is still up and available if you are really interested in seeing a pair of hypocrites complaining about “woke.”