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Texas Sues Social Media Influencer For Allegedly Misleading Fitness Clients With Eating Disorders
Texas attorney general Ken Paxon claims in a lawsuit filed by the state that Brittany Dawn Davis sold personalized nutrition and fitness programs to customers beginning in 2014, but never delivered personalized services.
The state of Texas has sued social media influencer Brittany Dawn Davis for allegedly scamming thousands of clients she sold fitness plans to and misleading customers who had eating disorders.
Texas attorney general Ken Paxon filed the lawsuit against Davis—who has since shifted her focus to Christianity—in a Dallas County courthouse on Feb. 1, People reports.
According to the deceptive trade practices lawsuit, Davis began selling online fitness packages, that ranged from $92 to $300, to customers in 2014 after she had amassed a following on social media as a healthy living expert.
Davis claimed the packages would provide customers with individualized nutrition plans, coaching and training, but authorities say Davis’ customers soon discovered that they’d been given the same workouts and fitness plans regardless of their individual needs, Buzz Feed News reports. Past customers say they were also given generic encouragement rather than personalized coaching or never received the services they had paid for.
“She was described as ‘your coach, your confidant, your biggest supporter & friend,’ there to ‘push you, mold you, and to help you find that person that you’ve always wanted to become,’” authorities said in the lawsuit.
Cori Reali told WFAA she spent $115 in 2014 to purchase one of the fitness programs after Davis “made it sound so easy.” According to Reali, she received a program that didn’t have her name on it and said she never received personalized coaching.
While following the program, she said she actually gained nine pounds in two weeks.
“The red flags started to go up,” she said. “I was not individualized. I was not part of this ‘Team Brittany Dawn.’ It set me back. It actually pushed me back into my eating disorder.”
When customers did complain, the attorney general has alleged that her company, Brittany Dawn Fitness LLC, “largely ignored consumer complaints” and “offered only partial refunds” when she did respond.
According to the complaint, at least 14 of the customers who tried to get refunds were people who had eating disorders, including one woman who had told Davis she had wanted to increase her calorie intake and was given a meal plan with “significantly lower” calories.
But authorities allege that she misled her customers about her training. One client reportedly told authorities “the main reason I chose her [Ms. Davis] out of all the coaches out there was specifically that she advertised herself as an ‘eating disorder soldier,’” according to the lawsuit obtained by People.
She has denied that she “accepted customers with eating disorders,” according to the complaint, yet authorities pointed to one exchange with a customer who revealed her struggle with an eating disorder during an onboarding survey.
“I truly need guidance, help, the right information and support right now,” the customer wrote. “I currently have an eating disorder, horrible body image views. … I am underweight for my height.”
Davis allegedly responded, “Great! Welcome to the #teambrittaydawn family.”
She’s also accused of charging a shipping fee to customers even though her content was delivered via email.
The Texas attorney general is seeking between $250,000 and $1 million in civil penalties for what his office described as “false, misleading, and/or deceptive acts or practices,” according to the lawsuit.
Davis has yet to respond to requests for comment from multiple news agencies including Oxygen.com, but she did address the controversy in 2019 after customers like Reali began to file complaints, issuing several now-deleted apologies on her YouTube channel.
“I made a mistake. I made a mistake. I made a mistake,” she said in one, according to “Good Morning America.” “I have taken full responsibility for it. I made things right and I did whatever it took to make things right.”
She went on to say that as a business owner she had “learned from it.”
“I’m a prime example of what can happen when you have a platform and you mess up,” she said.
While she took a brief break from social media, she soon returned with a new focus on Christianity.
“Fitness and health are no longer my identity. My identity is in Christ,” she said in one YouTube video. “You guys know that I went into a season of hiding when everything happened [...] I heard [God] say, ‘Stop trying to hide what I’m using.’”
On Wednesday, she seemingly made reference to her legal trouble in an Instagram Stories post.
“Do you ever just start laughing at Satan’s tactics?” she said, according to People. “They are so petty and so obvious to us that are in the kingdom of God that you can literally just start audibly laughing.”
Davis now offers $125 tickets to self-run weekend religious conferences.