The operators of a popular YouTube channel were forced to apologize over an April Fools’ prank this week.
Cole and Savannah LaBrant, whose YouTube channel draws millions of views per video and has more than 8.8 million subscribers, issued an apology on April 3. Other other social media platforms, millions of other people follow the couple.
“We do apologize for our misjudgment. We will be better. Thank you all for your support during this time,” the couple said in a joint statement.
On April Fools’ Day, they posted a video, titled, “We Have to Give Our Puppy Away… Saying Goodbye Forever.” The description reads, “We didn’t think Everleigh would be this sad about it,” referring to their young daughter.
Savannah, in the video, tells her daughter that they have to give “give Carl ( a dog) away to somebody else” because they can’t take care of him. The dog, she added, “poops and pees all over our house.”
Cole then tells Everleigh that they will give the dog away “to whoever she wants.” The girl, who appears distraught, then shrugs. Behind her, Savannah begins to laugh.
“April Fools,” Savannah says in the clip. Later, she said that Everleigh “is OK” following the prank. “She cried for like two minutes and she’s the happiest kid ever now, we prank each other all the time,” she said.
The clip drew a torrent of backlash from social media users.
“If you continue to support Cole & Savannah Labrant (who I use to love) please just don’t associate with me ever again,” one young woman wrote on Twitter.
I foresee the nastiest nursing home ever in sociopathic Cole and Sav’s retirement age.
— pir (@pir_anha) April 2, 2019
Maureen Healy, a child psychology author, told Inside Edition that the parents’ prank “went too far.”
“Mom was laughing and smiling as her daughter was crying because she told her they were giving away Carl, the family dog,” Healy said. “How can a child begin to trust you when you prank her about one of her most beloved family members, and tell her that you’re giving it away? This can really hurt a child,” Healy explained.
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
Another person wrote that they don’t “get angry” over the Internet, but “this crosses the line. What kind of sick parent tells their (5-6 year old?) kid they’re giving away the dog as an April fools prank, let alone posts it online for millions on the internet to see?”
I don’t get angry at much online, but this crosses the line. What kind of sick parent tells their (5-6 year old?) kid they’re giving away the dog as an April fools prank, let alone posts it online for millions on the internet to see? https://t.co/qk6dh3WW5j via @stephemcneal
— meaghan (@meaghanpodlaski) April 2, 2019
“You[r] April Fool’s video is textbook emotional and psychological abuse,” said one commenter. “Your child trusts you, and you lied to her simply to make her cry while you filmed. Please take a step back, and rewatch it. I pray you find some clarity, remove the video, and promise your daughter that you will work your hardest to regain her trust.”