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Brittany Dawn in a YouTube video talking about intermittent fasting to her about 247,000 followers on the platform. Show caption Brittany Dawn in a YouTube video talking about intermittent fasting to her about 247,000 followers on the platform. Photograph: Brittany Dawn/YouTube
Texas

Brittany Dawn Davis’s followers claim they received similar meal plans and were conned out of paid one-on-one consults

Wed 16 Feb 2022 11.00 GMT

Brittany Dawn Davis, a fitness and Christianity influencer from Fort Worth, is being sued by the state of Texas for promising her followers personalized exercise and nutrition plans that never materialized. Davis’s website promised unsuspecting clients that her Brittany Dawn Fitness (BDF) crew would be with them “every step of the way”, but instead her followers received a generic diet and workout plan not unique to them. The state believes this amounts to “deceptive trade practices” and is seeking damages from $250,000 up to $1m.

Davis, who has almost 1 million TikTok followers, became a lifestyle influencer after competing in “bikini competitions”, bodybuilding events where the contestants stay in swimsuits. She launched her business, bdawnfit.com, in March 2014 claiming it promoted a holistic approach to health, including “flexible dieting, effective training, balanced living, and community support”.

Davis sold custom fitness and diet plans, priced between $92 and $300, as well as her own personal time to each client, but after speaking with one another, clients realized they were given similar or identical plans, and never had face-time with the fitness coach. When they complained on Instagram, some said Davis deleted their comments.

A Brittany Dawn sample meal plan found on Dawn’s Pinterest includes instructions for what to eat Monday through Wednesday. Breakfast on this plan is some variety of “1 scoop isolate protein, 1/2 cup of oats, and 1 whole egg.” Lunch and dinner is a protein like chicken or fish and “green veggies”.

Cori Reali, one of Davis’s clients in Wisconsin, who suffered from an eating disorder, told Dallas’s WFAA that she paid $115 for one of Davis’s customized plans but said she never received specific guidance. “The red flags started to go up. 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.”

By 2019, those who claimed they had been scammed by Davis began contacting each other on Facebook. A petition to “Stop Brittany Dawn [Davis] Fitness Scams” was created, which has now amassed over 15,000 signatures. It claimed that Davis “falsely promotes women empowerment on her social media platforms, while continually scamming and lying to her followers, clients, and fans”.

In a now-deleted apology video posted to YouTube, Davis said: “I apologize to anyone who feels like they got scammed from me … I now realize that I should have had more help and that this is a lesson that I am having to learn the hard way, and for that, I am sorry.”

Her fitness website is still active, but the Better Business Bureau has placed it on alert. It’s not currently possible to purchase any fitness plans.

However, despite her apologies, Davis’s customer service team did not offer her customers full refunds. Davis said she would offer partial-to-full refunds to some customers, but first asked them to sign non-disclosure agreements.

Davis did not respond to the Guardian’s request for comment.

Davis has since pivoted to lifestyle and religious content. She now hosts Christian retreats in different cities across Texas and charges $125 for admission. These retreats promise a “gospel centered day with other God-fearing women”, according to her website. Davis says it will be a space where attendees “will be sharing our hearts on preparing for difficult seasons, staying faithful on your walk with the Lord, and how our seasons of difficulty often lead to our Kingdom calling”.

She continues to post on Instagram most days and two weeks ago she announced to her about 466,000 followers, “the long hair went away yesterday, short-haired Britt is BACK”.

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