(NewsNation) — Matthew Franke, the nephew of Ruby Franke’s husband, Kevin Franke, opened up in an emotional interview on NewsNation’s “Banfield” about what he witnessed and felt following child abuse charges against the parenting YouTuber.
Ruby Franke was arrested and charged with six counts of aggravated child abuse after an emaciated child reportedly escaped to a neighbor’s house and asked for food.
The arrest sent shockwaves through the extended family, and Matthew Franke’s insights provide a glimpse into the family’s perspective during a challenging time.
I “never thought she would have been capable of doing that,” he said.
Matthew admitted feeling a bit nervous given the sensitive nature of the topic and acknowledged the difficulty of discussing someone within his family circle who had been arrested on such serious charges.
“So if I laugh or chuckle in places where it seems a little bit odd, that’s why,” he said.
Ruby Franke is a Mormon mother of six from Utah. She and her husband, Kevin Franke, ran a YouTube channel called “8 Passengers” about life with their six children, who now range in age from 10 to 20. At the peak of the channel’s popularity, the family had more than two million followers.
8 Passengers garnered controversy for showing the children in vulnerable moments and for what Franke called her strict parenting style.
A number of clips circulating from 8 Passengers show Franke discussing withholding food or threatening to withhold food from her children as punishment.
Those who spoke out against the channel said she was openly abusing her children. The channel was removed from YouTube this year.
When asked about his initial reaction upon hearing of Ruby’s arrest, Matthew described the moment as surreal.
He recounted that he first learned of the situation when he received a flurry of messages in his family group chat.
“The first article … kind of hit and said that she was arrested and talked about, you know, how they were emaciated,” he said. “And so I just kind of sat on the, on the stairwell of the building that I was in and just kind of just took it in.”
Matthew Franke acknowledged that they were not supportive of Ruby Franke.
“We didn’t really talk supportively of Ruby because we … are family specifically, we’ve never really been super fond of her because she hasn’t really been super fond of us,” he said.
Matthew Franke said that he had never witnessed Ruby Franke being harsh or abusive toward the children during the few encounters he had with them over the years.
“I didn’t think that she would … get arrested for anything,” he said. “She had Utah mom vibes and was kind of strict, had strange thought processes on things, but I never thought that she would have been capable of doing that to … the children.”