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Why do people think Alaskan Bush People is fake?

Ami and Billy Brown on Alaskan Bush People
Ami and Billy Brown during their time in Alaska on Alaskan Bush People

One of the biggest criticisms of Discovery’s hit show Alaskan Bush People is that it’s fake — but why do people think it’s not real?

A huge debate has raged about the truth behind the show ever since it first went to air, with Facebook groups and videos springing up left, right and center with names like “Alaskan Bush People Exposed” and “Why Alaskan Bush People is Completely Fake”.

People are often extremely divided on the issue and generally sit in one of four camps — those who love the show and don’t think it’s fake, those who love watching the show and don’t care if it’s fake, those who think it’s fake but still watch the show, and those who think it’s fake so stopped watching.

But why do people care so much about it? And where does the whole claim of it being fake come from?

The first question is hard to answer but the second one is relatively simple, with the accusations stemming back to before the show even started.

Here are the main sticking points…

Fraud case

In 2015, Billy Brown and Bam Bam pleaded guilty in a fraud case for lying on their application forms for Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend. The fund allows people who live in Alaska year-round to be given an annual payout funded by local oil money.

The Browns ended up in court because they falsified details about their residency in Alaska. To be eligible for the fund, you can’t spend more than 180 days outside of the state — something which they seemingly did.

Not actually cut off from society

During the first season it was claimed that the show was filmed not far from other homes and half a mile away from a pizza parlour, so not really in the ‘wild’ at all.

They ‘stayed in comfy lodgings while not filming’

It was also claimed that the family used to stay at Icy Strait Lodge in Hoonah, AK, between filming rather than at their “Browntown” homestead as depicted on the show.

Noah ‘dated an actress’

After Season 4 the family apparently went to California where Noah Brown met a pretty brunette on a beach called Karryna Kauffman. She later appeared on the show in Season 5 after travelling to Browntown for a “date”.

However, shortly afterwards it emerged she was an actress when fans stumbled across her IMDB page. This  prompted speculation that she had been hired by Discovery for the show.

Billy’s book

The show has previously described the Browns as a “recently discovered” family, but patriarch Billy Brown wrote the book One Wave at a Time, which went on to inspire the series, in 2007 — seven years before the show first aired.

Its description reads: “A true adventure of how a scared boy, orphaned at sixteen, grew to be a dad and husband of character as he fought to survive in the wilderness of Alaska, while running from the emptiness left by his childhood loss.”

However, the family reportedly then left Alaska to go to the lower 48 specifically to try and get someone to turn it into a film or TV series. For that time, they obviously weren’t living the wild life at all.

It’s claimed that the show then actually ended up being a reenactment of the sentiments in the book, so in a way a fabrication.

Social media

Another claim made against the family and the show is that while they made it look like the family were technologically backward, they had a website long before the show was filmed — to market Billy’s book.

Several of the children have also had various social media accounts over the years where they would often post things which had nothing to do with living in the wilderness. Several of them are still active on social media today.

The family are now in California after leaving Alaska following matriarch Ami’s diagnosis with stage 3b, possibly stage 4, lung cancer. However, they later plan to move to Colorado to set up a new permanent home.

Whether the cameras will follow them there, and if they do whether people will still think that it’s fake, remains to be seen. Here’s the latest on Alaskan Bush People Season 8.

What do you think? Do you think Alaskan Bush People is fake? If so, does it matter? Let us know in the comments below.


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