A popular YouTube couple decided to play an April Fools’ Day prank on their young daughter, but the video — which shows the parents breaking the news that they’re giving away the family dog — has landed the stars in the doghouse with their followers.
Cole and Savannah LaBrant have amassed more than 8.7 million followers on their YouTube channel, The LaBrant Fam, where they chronicle their lighthearted day-to-day lives. More often than not, their videos also star 6-year-old Everleigh — Savannah’s daughter from a previous relationship — as well as the couple’s infant daughter, Posie, and the family’s tiny Pomeranian, Carl.
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On Monday, April 1, the Labrant Fam channel posted a video called “We Have To Give Our Puppy Away … Saying Goodbye Forever.” About halfway through the 14-minute video, the family is lounging on the sofa, and Everleigh is shown with her head buried in a pillow.
“We just had to inform her of some bad news and sad news that she didn’t know about,” says Cole to the camera. “And we kind of thought that she already knew, but we hadn’t told her. And Savannah told her the sad news.” The mom and stepdad then feign concern, asking the girl, “You OK? What’s the matter?”
Cole then prompts Everleigh to announce the sad news to viewers, but the clearly distraught little girl shakes her head and chooses to stay quiet. So Savannah steps in to say, “So we have kind of been discussing Carl lately. There’s a few reasons for why we are doing what we’re doing.” The mom goes on to list three key reasons the family is rehoming the dog.
“Basically, we’re giving Carl away to somebody else because we feel like we can’t take good enough care of him at our house. We’re always gone. We’re always filming,” Savannah says. “Second, he pees all over our house all the time. We had to leave for like eight hours at a time once, and he’ll just poop and pee all over the place.”
The third reason, Savannah explained, is that the fenced-in yard in the family’s new home is too big for tiny Carl. “We feel like he would just get lost in our yard,” she says.
Then, Cole continues to taunt the girl by putting her in charge of choosing a new family for the dog. “We’re gonna let her give him away to whoever she wants,” he says. “Who do you want to give him away to?” But Everleigh, clutching the fluffy white pooch and wearing a heartbreakingly sad expression, doesn’t say a word.
That’s when the parents pull the plug on the prank. “So, also, the last thing that we wanted to tell you is that tomorrow is April Fools’,” Cole says. “And this is our April Fools’ video,” Savannah adds with a smile. But instead of laughing it off, the girl bursts into tears and takes a few minutes to recover.
“We didn’t think Everleigh would be this sad about it,” the parents wrote on their YouTube channel. “Too far?” Cole then asks viewers.
The backlash was so strong that the LaBrant Fam has now disabled comments on all of their videos. But fans and non-fans alike are taking to social media to slam the “sadistic” prank.
If you continue to support Cole & Savannah Labrant (who I use to love) please just don't associate with me ever tf again…
— Emily Rose (@emmynoelrose) April 3, 2019
Look, SOME things are NOT funny as an April Fool's joke. And when it comes to our KIDS, we have to do NICE. FUN pranks – not something that TRAUMATIZES THEM! I hope these idiot YouTuber parents get a CLUE. Poor little girl!!! :'( https://t.co/Jxeo037gHQ
— Holly (Quirin) (@Quirin64) April 3, 2019
“I have been a supporter of your channel for a long time and love your beautiful family but I can’t see you guys the same after this,” a former fan wrote on Facebook. “That’s a disgusting joke to play on a kid … I am so appalled by this and can not believe you would do this to your child. I cried after watching this and cannot believe a parent would do this!”
“Violating her trust. Not OK. You must ask her for forgiveness otherwise this will impact her for a lifetime,” another commented. “Parenting fail, big-time.”
But the couple did have a few defenders.
“She’s a child, she’ll bounce back — get over it already!!!!” someone wrote.
“Hahah my mom used to do the same kind of April Fools’ Day jokes on me! And she got me every time,” another said. “She will think about this one day and laugh like I do, love you guys, amazing people! Don’t take all these other comments to heart because of a joke!”
You are missing the point of this story: this is not the exception. Making a small child cry about losing her puppy is what April Fools’ Day IS ALL ABOUT. It is Halloween with all the fun and pageantry drained away, and tricks not only real, but amplified. https://t.co/mO3zDcOXrT
— Max Leibman (@maxleibman) April 2, 2019
At the end of the video, Savannah assures viewers that Everleigh did bounce back from the prank some saw as outright cruel. “If this offended any of you guys, she’s OK,” she says. “She cried for two minutes, and she’s the happiest kid ever now.”
This is not the first time Everleigh has had to contend with losing Carl. The family believed Carl had run away or been kidnapped in a past video, and they’d also sent him away to a trainer as a puppy — two scenarios that also gave Everleigh the same sad pout.
Yahoo Lifestyle has reached out to the LaBrant family for comment, but so far the couple has not addressed the backlash publicly.
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