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Ruby Franke videos scrubbed from YouTube after child abuse charges laid

Photo of Ruby Franke, a family vlogger who was arrested and charged with six counts of felony child abuse. Instagram/Moms of Truth

YouTube channels linked to family vlogger Ruby Franke and her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt have been removed from the social media site after they were both charged with six counts of child abuse last week.

“We can confirm that we have terminated two channels linked to Ruby Franke in accordance with our creator responsibility guidelines,” YouTube spokesperson Zatoon Murji told Global News.

The charges against Franke and Hidebrandt came after Franke’s 12-year-old son escaped Hildebrandt’s home in Ivins, Utah and asked a neighbour for food and water, police said. When emergency responders found him, he was injured, emaciated and had duct tape on his wrists and ankles. Franke’s 10-year-old daughter was also found in a similar condition when police searched the home.

For followers of Franke’s social media presence, her charges came as no surprise — as the mom of six has faced criticism for years over her strict parenting style, which was documented in her YouTube videos.

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In addition to the channels and videos being scrubbed from the site, Franke will not be allowed to “use, own, or create any other YouTube accounts,” Murji said, a move that effectively bans her from the platform.

Franke’s original “8 Passengers” channel, which documented the lives of herself, her husband Kevin and their six children, was taken down earlier in 2023, and her personal channel was removed after her arrest. However, Hildebrant’s ConneXions channel as well as her professional therapist page remained online until they were taken down Wednesday, KUTV reported.

According to YouTube’s statement, the site reserves the right to remove videos and channels if a user engages in behaviour that “harms the YouTube community.”

“If a channel owner is accused with clear evidence of a very egregious crime, we may terminate their channel if its content is closely related to the crime or if the channel owner was convicted or pled guilty.”

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YouTube is also warning users not to reupload Franke’s content onto the site, stating it may remove the videos or “terminate the new channel if it’s dedicated to reuploads.”

In the two weeks since Franke’s arrest, a number of her family members have spoken out to denounce her, including her oldest daughter and her sisters.

Most recently, the lawyer for Franke’s husband gave an interview with Law & Crime, claiming that Kevin Franke had no idea about the child abuse that was going on, and that the couple had been separated for over a year.

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Lawyer Randy Kester alleges that Franke told Kevin to move out and not contact their kids about 14 months ago, as the pair worked on their marriage. Kester said the reason for the separation was private but revealed the two “had a difference of opinion about their family parenting.”

“What people don’t understand is that he was trying to preserve his marriage. He was taking direction from her. She’s the one who asked him to leave the house and indicated that in order for him to be able to get back together with her and be a family, that she was requesting that he leave the home and that he not contact her or the children. She later told him that everything was blissful at home and it was so much better without him,” Kester said.

“Emotionally, she was controlling him,” Kester added. “Because she knew how much he valued their marriage and valued their family. And it was his desire to be able to get back with the family and preserve his marriage. Kevin never had any reason to believe that his children were being abused. And if he had even one inkling that his kids were being abused and that the separation wasn’t for any other purpose than to figure out a way between he and Ruby to reunite their family, he would have been down there in two seconds.”

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Kester claims that Kevin was unaware that Franke had moved their younger children to Hildebrandt’s home in Ivins, and said that the dynamic in the Franke’s marriage changed when Hildebrandt came into the picture.

“(Hildebrant) manipulated him in conjunction with Ruby,” Kester said. “She’s kind of the spearhead toward essentially destroying his life and destroying his family. We’re hearing other information that she’s done this to a number of families. And it wasn’t until all this came to light that Kevin came to realize that his family had also been victimized by Jodi.”

When Kester was asked about previous allegations of abuse made against the family before Kevin moved out, Kester claimed that “there hasn’t ever, ever been any allegation that Kevin Franke has ever physically abused his children.”

“There may be some criticism of their parenting as being too strict or too demanding,” Kester acknowledged, but he said “that’s been looked into and there were never any charges filed.”

Rumours of child abuse in the Franke household began in 2020 when one of the kids, Chad, who was 15 at the time, disclosed in a video that his bedroom had been taken away for playing pranks on his little brother and he had been sleeping on a bean bag chair for seven months.

In another video, Franke refused to bring her daughter Eve a packed lunch at school because she said the then-six-year-old was responsible for her own lunch and had forgot to make it.

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In an interview with Insider at the time, Franke said she gave her children “choices” and was teaching them about consequences.

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