The state of Texas has sued fitness-turned-Christianity influencer Brittany Dawn Davis over claims that her fitness plan program allegedly engaged in deceptive practices and negatively impacted customers with eating disorders.
Davis, a 30-year-old from Fort Worth, first started selling thousands of online fitness packages in 2014 after building her social media profile as a supposed healthy living expert through sharing photos of her body, her diet, and exercise tips.
“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,’” reads the lawsuit from the Texas Attorney General. The documents were filed in the Dallas County Court on Feb. 1 and were first reported on by the Dallas Morning News.
The courses from Brittany Dawn Fitness LLC ranged in price from $92 to $300 per month, with Davis supposedly offering individual coaching and plans.
But through a private Facebook group where members were encouraged to share their progress, Davis’ customers realized she had given many of them the exact same workout and nutrition plans without any personalization.
And rather than providing individual coaching, Davis simply gave “generic and non-substantive” feedback, said the complaint, such as “THAT’S MY GIRL! You’re killing it!” and “you’ve got this babe!”
Davis has not responded to a request from BuzzFeed News for comment.
At least 14 customers mentioned in the complaint who sought refunds from Davis are people with eating disorders. One said that Davis’ social media presence and self-identification as an “eating disorder soldier” led them to believe she had “special training” to address their conditions. One woman — who had a restrictive eating disorder and told David she wanted to increase her calorie intake — said Davis gave her a meal plan that had a “significantly lower” calorie count than what she’d previously been eating. The lawsuit documents said Davis denied accepting customers with eating disorders.
There is no evidence that Davis has professional fitness training, either — the lawsuit doesn’t cover her lack of experience, which is not that unusual in the realm of fitness influencers. Instead, the focus is on Davis’ failure to deliver the personalized products she advertised.
In February 2019, consumer complaints about the fitness program became so widespread that Davis shared a (now-deleted) apology video on YouTube and took her website down. She appeared on Good Morning America to say she has taken “full responsibility” for her “mistake” and “did whatever it took to make things right.”
When Davis returned to social media after a brief break, her audience slowly began to notice a difference in the kind of content she posted. Instead of focusing solely on fitness, her YouTube videos and Instagram posts began to mention Christianity. In November 2019, she addressed the change.
“Fitness and health are no longer my identity. My identity is in Christ,” she said in a 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.’”
Over the past two years, Davis’ page has been entirely rebranded to share faith-based content. She now runs a ministry called She Lives Freed that offers tickets to self-run weekend religious conferences for $125 per person, not including travel or lodging.
She posts religious lifestyle advice alongside her husband, Jordan Nelson — a former police officer who was sued by the ACLU in 2018 for excessive use of force against a Black man.
Both members of the couple faced backlash in October 2021 when Davis tearfully announced that Nelson shot and killed her dog, Brodie, instead of taking him to the vet after he was hit by a car.
Davis has also been called out for shared debunked QAnon talking points and other conspiracies, like the debunked Wayfair child trafficking theory and demonic conspiracies about the 2021 Astroworld tragedy.
Aside from the creation of a small subreddit dedicated to tracking her influence, Davis has faced few tangible repercussions for her controversies since pivoting her focus from fitness to religion. She hasn’t directly addressed any backlash since 2019.
According to the lawsuit, the attorney general’s office is seeking between $250,000 and $1 million in penalties and court fees. However, Attorney General Ken Paxton has faced his own legal and ethical allegations over the past few months. The Donald Trump–endorsed politician is currently engaged in a tight primary race.
In her most recent post on Sunday, Davis appeared to imply that she is processing her fitness program's legal mistakes as evidence of a universal “need” for “Jesus.” Based on the rash of affirming comments from her followers, they agree.
Except for one. “Ya gonna need Jesus all the way to the courthouse too. 🙌👏,” said one comment with 157 likes.