Just two months ago, YouTube vloggers Sam and Nia, a married couple in Terrell, Texas, went viral when Sam surprised Nia with her own pregnancy by secretly testing the urine she’d left in their toilet. Sam captured the stunt in a YouTube video that garnered more than 15 million views. Then, three days later, the couple announced that Nia had a miscarriage.
While they received an outpouring of support from many fans who appreciated their honesty about their miscarriage — a painful topic that’s not often talked about — a flurry of negative attention soon followed when people questioned whether the couple was engaging in a publicity stunt.
Sam and Nia responded to the skeptics about the miscarriage post in a video, saying that it had been staged, but staged “by God,” not them. Shortly after the backlash, the couple decided to take a hiatus from posting their personal videos on YouTube.
But that didn’t stop the negative attention, however: A few days later, as a result of the Ashley Madison leak, it was revealed that Sam was a paying member of the extramarital site, prompting the couple to release another video defending their marriage.
In August, viral bloggers Sam and Nia announced their pregnancy. (Photo: Sam and Nia/YouTube)
Now the couple has announced another pregnancy, this time by hiding a hamburger bun in the oven and having their mothers open the oven door to reveal the surprise. The video, which was posted to YouTube on Friday, has only 189,000 views so far — an enormous drop from their previous viral posts.
“They might have started out thinking it would be fun, or wanting to be famous, and now they’re trying to figure out how to maintain being interesting,” Pamela Rutledge, PhD, director, Media Psychology Research Center, tells Yahoo Parenting.
Rutledge acknowledges the couple is likely under a lot of pressure to keep up their viewership, since fewer eyeballs on their YouTube channel leads to a loss of advertising, which cuts into their income.
The miscarriage video caused some viewers to question the couple’s authenticity, which can be hard to bounce back from, notes Rutledge. “People forget that with Internet popularity comes scrutiny,” she says. “When you’re in the public eye, the public is looking at everything — not just what you want them to see. If you define yourself as a Christian vlogger, and then someone finds out you’ve been on Ashley Madison, that’s a story. That’s hypocrisy. [Viewers] think, ‘This guy isn’t authentic; therefore, I need to view everything else with a different lens,’ looking for inconsistencies and faking.”
Rutledge adds: “People hate to be tricked. When you follow someone you think is authentic, you’re giving them your trust. If they’re making this up, they’re violating that social contract. It’s easy to destroy trust in a very short amount of time, and very difficult to rebuild it.”
(First photo: YouTube/Sam and Nia)