Last week, YouTuber Nikki Phillippi and husband Dan Phillippi faced severe backlash when they revealed to Nikki’s 1.3 million subscribers that they euthanised their 9-year-old bull terrier, Bowser.
According to the couple, Bowser bit their son Logan after the 1-year-old attempted to take some of Bowser’s food. Rather than putting in the time to train Bowser or rehome him, Nikki and Dan chose to put him down… but not before staging a deeply disturbing photoshoot with Bowser and Logan side-by-side.
Criticism of Nikki and Dan’s decision quickly transcended Reddit forums, drama channels, and Twitter fodder, garnering negative attention from mainstream media outlets around the world. Though many are shocked and disgusted, those who have followed the couple are not entirely surprised.
Since making her YouTube debut back in 2010 with a November favourites video, Nikki has spent years ignoring concerns from fans who feel the influencer uses her platform to spread controversial messages to her millions of followers.
Here’s a look back at some of Nikki Phillippi’s problematic behaviour over the years.
Self-diagnosed eating disorder
TW: Eating disorders.
After years of sticking to positive, upbeat lifestyle content, Nikki opened up about her eating disorder in a 2015 sit-down video. Despite the sensitive subject matter, fans took issue with the video as Nikki seemed to self-diagnose, gave vague recovery advice, shared the different diets she’d tried, and put her numbers (weight, calories, measurements) on the screen which can be triggering for those suffering from an eating disorder.
In the following years, Nikki proceeded to create a slew of content promoting healthy eating and even weight loss tips.
Bizarre marriage advice
Nikki made headlines back in 2017 when she revealed to fans that she had stopped speaking to her husband Dan for two weeks without notice in an effort to fix their marriage. In a video titled ‘Why I Didn’t Speak to my Husband for 2 Weeks,’ Nikki said she gave Dan the silent treatment in an attempt to strengthen their emotional connection, as she felt their marital issues always fell on her to resolve. She claimed her therapist suggested this method, and Dan broke down in tears after two weeks of Nikki’s lack of communication. The YouTuber told fans that their marriage and connection were now better than ever but many felt her video could have dangerous implications for those seeking genuine relationship advice.
In 2018, Nikki came under fire for promoting essential oil multi-level marketing scheme (MLM), Young Living. Predatory in nature, the MLM business model resembles a pyramid scheme and relies heavily on recruiting additional direct sellers to turn a profit. Despite promises of flexible work hours, uncapped earning potential, and the opportunity to run their own “business,” it is estimated that around 99% of MLM sellers make no money or lose money in these schemes.
Though not every MLM is created equal, Young Living has long been one of the most controversial in the space, given the founder‘s con artist history and the lack of scientific evidence surrounding the efficacy and safety of essential oils, particularly for pets.
That same year, Nikki and Dan revealed that they had started the process of adopting a baby from Thailand. The news was met with excitement from fans, however, two months later the couple uploaded a video titled, ‘We’re Not Adopting From Thailand Anymore.’ In the video, Nikki explained they had stopped the process as they would not legally be allowed to put their baby on social media in its first year with their family as per Thai laws. This is because the adoption takes one year to finalise— a factor both Nikki and Dan said they were “not okay with”.
After being denied an exception to this law, the couple decided to adopt from Korea instead, making several videos about the process. Then in September 2018, Nikki and Dan announced they were no longer adopting from Korea anymore either, as their adoption agency allegedly told them they would not be easily approved due to their social media presence.
As a result, they decided to pursue domestic adoption in the United States through foster care, leading Nikki to spread harmful misinformation about the U.S. domestic adoption process in the months following on her channel. Nikki and Dan later admitted to spreading misinformation but did not take the videos down.
In April 2019 their adoption journey ended when they claimed to be dropped by their foster care agency. Many believed it was due to their spreading of misinformation. They also announced they were pregnant that May.
Spreading COVID-19 misinformation & anti-vaxx rhetoric
Fast forward to 2020, and Nikki began using coronavirus for click-bait throughout her content— namely, one controversial video titled, ‘My Virus Story’ where she talked about her experience being sick with a virus years ago. In the video, Nikki said she and her sister (who was also sick with the virus) used high-dose intravenous vitamin C to cure their virus and she seemingly encouraged those sick with COVID-19 to look into it.
In September 2020, Nikki uploaded a Q&A where she spread misinformation about vaccines, saying those who think anti-vaxxers are “crazy” haven’t done enough research and spoke in support of anti-vaxx leader Del Bigtree, evening encouraging fans to seek out his content.
Promotes ‘All Lives Matter’ messaging
In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, Nikki shared an Instagram story that many felt was in support of the All Lives Matter movement in an effort to discredit the Black Lives Matter protests happening around the world.
Reddit users also allegedly found Nikki followed and liked posts from alt-right commentator Brittany Sellner around that same time.
Despite Nikki’s continued problematic behaviour, she chooses to ignore public criticism and has refused to address nearly all of these controversies, including Bowser’s euthanasia.
However, Bowser’s untimely death seems to be the last straw for over 32,000 fans who have signed a petition to have YouTube permanently demonetise her channels. To sign the petition to have Nikki Phillippi’s channels demonetised click here.