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  • Rachel Ulatowski

8 Passengers: The Real and Concerning Reason Why They Quit YouTube

Updated: Jul 30

The 8 Passengers were of one YouTube's biggest, and most controversial, family vloggers, but they have seemingly disappeared in 2022. 8 Passengers is a YouTube channel that follows the daily life of the Franke family - parents, Kevin & Ruby, and their six kids, Shari, Chad, Abby, Julie, Russell, and Eve. In 2020, the family made headlines and sparked a CPS investigation after a now-deleted video was posted to the 8 Passenger channel where they revealed their son, Chad, slept on the floor for 7 months as a punishment for pranking his brother. Other concerning instances were also pointed out, such as them letting their kindergartner, Eve, go an entire day without lunch after she forgot hers at home. The scandal sparked a CPS investigation (which was closed after not enough evidence was found) and also spurned a Business Insider article on the family. However, as of 2022, the 8 Passengers have seemingly left YouTube. Considering their controversy and their child exploitation, some might consider their YouTube absence a good thing, but, unfortunately, it seems they may be up to something more nefarious this time.


Did 8 Passengers Really Quit YouTube?


As for the question of did they quit YouTube - the answer is yes, and no. Officially, 8 Passengers has not called it quits, but their vlogging has only continually decreased and shows no signs of picking up. The 8 Passengers took a small break from vlogging after the child abuse scandal. However, they soon returned and maintained nearly daily postings throughout 2020. By 2021, they had moved over to posting roughly every other day. By the end of August 2021, their videos had tapered off into an irregular schedule. 8 Passengers began posting only a handful of videos a month with no particular schedule. As of 2022, their vlogging has practically stopped altogether with only a single video being posted this year so far. On January 2nd, 2022, they posed a video on Eve's baptism, and have posted no further videos as of January 30th.


Why Don't The 8 Passengers Post Anymore?


For a long time, the 8 Passengers were largely silent and gave no excuse for the reduction in posting. However, on December 17th, 2021, Ruby Franke finally shed some light on the situation with a video titled Life Changes. She stated that she was no longer posting as much as she used to due to getting involved with the mental health community. She is working very closely with Jodi Hildebrandt and her company called ConneXions. As part of her work, her and Hildebrandt hosted a conference to provide counseling and encouragement to married couples. For the conference, Ruby talked about manipulation and gaslighting in marriage, while Kevin spoke about presiding, providing, and protecting as a husband. Ruby indicated that she still wants to vlog, but that it is no longer her priority, as she has found her passion with ConneXions.



What Is ConneXions and What's The Problem?


Okay, so Ruby isn't vlogging and exploiting her children anymore, and is spending her time doing conferences and podcasts for mental health counseling - that's great, right? Well, not exactly. What ConneXions is, is essentially a training program developed by Hildebrandt, who describes herself as an author, educator, and mother. The ConneXions curriculum is designed to, "help treat those lost and stranded in the darkness of distortion–which addictions, fear, sadness, and all other self-destructive behaviors derive from." The ConneXions curriculum strives to help individuals take responsibility for their thoughts, feelings, and actions in a way that will help their relationships thrive. However, the problem with ConneXions is the sheer lack of credentials and necessity to adhere to state laws.


Jodi Hildebrandt Put On Probation For Blackmail


The glow of ConneXions starts to dim almost immediately when one takes a closer look at founder, Jodi Hildebrandt. In 2012, Hildebrandt was put on probation and in danger of losing her license as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor. The probation occurred when Hildebrandt violated her patient's privacy and even took to blackmailing him. A patient, referred to as John Doe, began marriage counseling with Hildebrandt in 2008. However, the patient quickly realized he was receiving very little counseling, with Hildebrandt instead alleging he had a porn addiction, which he denies. She began charging the couple $1,2000 - $2,000 monthly bills for their therapy sessions and when Doe attempted to question her counseling, she turned to blackmail. She purportedly discussed Doe's fictitious addiction with LDS church officials and BYU officials to unravel his personal life. As result of violating state laws by disclosing classified information, Hildebrandt was put on probation for 18 months.



Ruby Franke: The ConneXions Untrained Life Coach


How does Ruby Franke figure into all of this? She has been brought on and taught by Hildebrandt to be a ConneXions "life coach." What exactly does that mean? It means she is an unlicensed, nonprofessional individual seeking to provide counseling to others. The whole concept of creating a counseling business that is not compromised of licensed professional is very troublesome. For one, the lack of license and professional training, means these unqualified life coaches are not actually held to any laws, ethics, or HIPPA confidentiality as a medical professional would be. Hildebrandt's questionable past and her accumulation of unqualified individuals who have no professional experience is very concerning. With its model, ConneXions is posed as a credible, wholesome, training program for couples and individuals in need of counseling, but underneath, it is a lot of unqualified and questionable individuals posing as mental health professionals without being held to any of the standards that an actual health professional would be held to.


Why Are Ruby and Kevin Franke So Involved With ConneXions?


As for why Ruby and Kevin are so "passionate" about ConneXions is quite a mystery. It is unknown if they are receiving any monetary compensation for their efforts or why they have become central figures in the business. Upon looking at the ConneXions website, one will find that Ruby and Kevin have become the face of ConneXions. As for why ConneXions desires a stay-at-home mom and an Engineering professor to be the face of a counseling curriculum is also a mystery. What Hildebrandt and the Frankes have in common, however, is controversy. The Frankes were accused of abusing and exploiting their children, while Hildebrandt temporarily lost her license for violating state laws, blackmailing a client, and disclosing sensitive information about a client. Needless to say, the Franke's and Hildebrandt's team-up seems awfully suspicious and also certainly raises deep concerns for the kind of teachings and counseling they are giving.

Kevin Franke photo featured on Connexionsclassrooms.com

 

The entire ConneXions model is very fishy. The business is founded on making counselors, therapist, and life coaches out of regular individuals who have no specialized training or qualifications. The utilization of Kevin and Ruby Franke, for example, is likely due solely to their social media audience. They are being used to draw in more of the YouTube community into ConneXions, not because they are qualified and professional individuals who are capable of being life coaches. The exact agreement between the Frankes and ConneXions is unknown. It is unknown if the Frankes are being monetarily compensated, but the fact that they are so invested to the point of leaving YouTube, hints at some compensation. There is nothing yet to condemn this Hildebrandt and Franke duo, but things certainly do seem suspicious. Both the Frankes and Hildebrandt are known to have taken part in questionable practices and have received public scrutiny for their actions. It is very strange that such controversial figures are the head of a business providing counseling and curriculums to others.

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