The Alaskan Bush People stars are haunted by rumors and accusations that the reality TV hit is not reality after all but that Alaskan Bush People are in fact fake. The Brown family—patriarch Billy Brown, matriarch Ami Brown, and their kids, including Joshua “Bam Bam” Brown, Gabe Brown, Snowbird Brown, Matt Brown, and Rain Brown, are on their ninth season and have quite a following hanging on their every salt-of-the-earth moment.
They’re Not From Alaska
For a show with Alaska in its title, it is peculiar that the Brown clan is said to be not actually from the titular locale. One would think that the family could trace their Alaskan lineage back generations, but that appears not the case. Billy is actually from Texas, where he was born into quite a bit of money. Ami and Billy moved to Alaska in the ’80s and have lived there pretty much since. Billy wrote an autobiography about his Alaskan experience (One Wave at a Time) and sought to make it into a documentary, which ultimately became Alaskan Bush People.
Burned Cabin Alternative Facts
Early on in the show Billy claimed that the government burned down his family’s cabin, which he supposedly built by hand, because it was on state land. He never could prove this, but the topic reverberated throughout the first four episodes of the show. As facts failed to support his claim, the Brown patriarch quietly altered his story; “My cabin burned, and I wasn’t home. That’s all I can say.”
As it turns out, the state of Alaska was pursuing fraud charges against both him and his family for claiming to be Alaskan—and thus profiting from Alaskan oil checks that Alaskan residents receive. This likely encouraged his backpedaling on that burned cabin tale. This fake story has not helped to counter the narrative that the Alaskan Bush People are fake.
Not So Remote Living
On Alaskan Bush People, it appears as if the Brown clan lives miles and miles away from civilization, and they survive off the land and through their hard work and innate knowledge of living in the wild. Many story lines throughout the Browns’ time on television have raised questions as to how far they really are from civilization. When the Brown’s eldest son, Matt, was arrested for fleeing the scene of an accident and a DUI he was in Juneau—the capital of Alaska, not exactly remote.
In 2014, it was reported that the Browns left their home fearing for their lives when they heard gunshots on their property. Later, it was reported that those loud bangs were merely fireworks coming from their neighbor’s house. On the show it appears as if the Browns don’t have neighbors for miles. If they’re hearing fireworks, how close is that neighbor?
When watching, the family is quite adept at making the viewer feel like civilization of any kind is so far away that they are literally “Bush People.” Yet a favorite pizza place of the crew, Grizzly Pizza, is merely a half-mile away from the family’s homestead. Nothing like suffering through a winter food scarcity that comes with bush-living like a nice, piping-hot pizza! Another compelling point that perhaps Alaskan Bush People are fake!
Living Large In Between Filming
Who could blame the Browns for spending all that money they make on the Discovery Channel? The confusion is that they paint a picture on Alaskan Bush People that they live this way 24/7/365 and not only when cameras are rolling. However, they moved into a Southern California mansion when Ami was undergoing cancer treatment. And throughout the show’s run, the family have been reported to live large when the Discovery Channel folks are not chronicling their every move.
Locals report that among the places they frequent, when cameras are not rolling, is the Icy Strait Lodge, a luxurious resort. According to a Radar Online report, multiple members of the family are regularly seen coming and going from the luxe resort.
Dating in the Bush
In one episode on the show, Noah had a date with a young lady named Karynna Kauffman—a former Miss California contestant whom he reportedly met while visiting the lower 48. Upon further digging, it was revealed that the young lady is an actress, who might just like being on a hit show.
It casts doubt on the entire reality of the show when critics claim that the Alaskan Bush People are merely acting to television audiences what they think viewers expect to see from a family living in the wilderness. There’s also the old allegation of reality TV programs: Producers hire actors to play parts to push the storyline that works. This seems to be the case in this potentially fake show.
Lease on Life
Another fun Brown assertion is that they own their land and are doing their best to make it in the rough landscape of Alaska, which is unforgiving at best. “We have our own home on our own land,” Billy has said on the show. Turns out… that is not exactly true.
According to someone with knowledge of the situation, who spoke with Channel Guide Mag. they are leasing the property that is surrounded by Tongass National Forest. The report alleges that the family signed a seven-year lease on the land. Not the largest alternative fact put forth by the Browns, but still…
How’d They Get Ink?
Tattoo parlors are not usually found in the bush. Given that the Brown family sports any number of tattoos, many of their critics wonder how they got so much ink living in the rough and tumble world of the outdoors. Another aspect is that tattoos are not cheap; it can be discerned from the show’s first few seasons that this is a poor family who has to live off the land and their innate survival skills.
Bam Bam and the Producer
Blurring the lines of reality is the entire love affair between Bam Bam Brown and Allison Kagan. She is a producer on the show.
It is rare that a producer of a reality TV program would put him or herself in any kind of position where they would become part of the narrative of their program. However, that’s exactly what happened further raising suspicions about the show and its authenticity.
Another aspect of the show that raises questions is how the family is portrayed as being an all-American wilderness family whose awareness of modern conveniences is at a minimum. Over the years, it’s become clear that they have been quite comfortable with technology. For example, there are numerous YouTube videos from before the show’s beginning. They involve the clan and their use of the site to promote their father’s book. Once the show got going, many of the family members became quite active on social media, interacting with fans and posting snapshots of their lives.
How Now, Brown Cow?
Remember that cow, Sabrina, that the family acquired to help them get dairy—something that was supposedly grossly missing from their lives? Well, on the All That Matters episode of the show, the effort to get the cow to their property was complicated to say the least.
They built a makeshift pen on a barge to get the dairy cow from point “A” to point “B.” The Lynden Tribune interviewed the owner of the dairy farm that Sabrina came from and discovered that a member of their staff was on hand at all times to coach the family about all aspects of dairy cow maintenance. When the cameras weren’t rolling on the Discovery Channel clan, i.e. the other 11 months of the year, Sabrina was living with an Alaskan native who took care of the bovine member of the family. It doesn’t take a farmer to know that one cannot get enough dairy from one cow in a four-week period to sustain a family of the Brown’s size living in the wilderness year-round.
Not-So Secret Family
Billy had said all along on Alaskan Bush People that he had two children from a previous relationship and had not communicated with either child in years. Turns out, sources say that he had reached out to a daughter prior to the show taking off. Why is this important? It makes critics question that authenticity of the “reunion” that was staged between the two on the show. Was it real, or was it fake?
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