Frustrated followers of fitness-turned-Christianity influencer Brittany Dawn Davis say it’s her brand pivot to religion that they see as a scam — they’re much more forgiving of her being sued by the state of Texas for deceptive business practices.
Follower Shanna Samul, a 35-year-old mother of four from Reno, Nevada, said the influencer uses the good grace of her religious followers like a “weapon to escape culpability.”
Davis first garnered thousands of followers for her diet and exercise content, but has not posted anything fitness-related on social media since 2019, when thousands of customers who bought personalized diet and exercise plans from her made their complaints public.
The courses from Brittany Dawn Fitness LLC ranged in price from $92 to $300 per month, with Davis supposedly offering individual coaching and plans. However, after talking with each other in a Facebook group, customers realized they’d been sent identical plans.
Weeks after her fitness scandal made headlines, Davis announced in a YouTube video that health and wellness content would no longer be a priority for her on social media. Instead, she said she felt that her “identity is in Christ,” and her social media profiles changed to focus solely on Christian content.
Four of her Christian followers told BuzzFeed News they see her social media pivot as rebranding to Christianity — indulging in its core principle of forgiveness but neglecting its clear command not to lie or cheat. Not only is Davis deleting comments asking her about the lawsuit or her former business, but she’s also planning a religious conference that she’s charging followers to attend.
Bobby, a 37-year-old accountant who has been closely following Davis’s career pivot and asked for her last name not to be published, said she feels “called to expose this huge transgression that is taking place under the guise of Christianity.”
“Most importantly, Christians are called by God to expose people who are dishonest, especially when it comes to preaching,” Bobby said. “We are not meant to immediately trust everyone just because they tell us they believe in God.”
Samul agreed. “If she were truly repentant, she would be facing the things that she has done, and this would be her witness,” she said. “She is not immune because she belongs to Jesus. If anything, she should be held more accountable.”
Despite the widespread media attention, Davis has not publicly addressed the lawsuit since it was filed on Feb. 1, but she has continued to share religious relationship advice, biblical messages curated from pastors, and unattributed quotes about God. Davis has not responded to several requests for comment from BuzzFeed News via email or multiple Instagram accounts.
Despite the lawsuit getting widespread media attention, Davis has not responded publicly at all since it was filed.
“I believe it’s important for Christians and non-Christians alike to know that no matter how much you pray, or how much you repent, you still have to treat each other well here on Earth,” Bobby said.
Davis has referenced her “testimony” — a religious term that refers to one’s journey to Christianity and often refers to a plight or struggle someone has encountered — multiple times, but has not officially shared it, according to her followers. She has spoken about attending a Christian college, but her religious education credentials are not entirely clear.
That is an important question for her audience as she sells tickets for weekend religious conferences run by her ministry, She Lives Freed. In the past, she has charged more than $600 per person for three days of speakers, baptisms, and lodging.
For her one-day conference in April, she is charging $125 per person, and the event’s terms of service say it is nonrefundable. Critics say that is a suspiciously high cost for an event hosted by someone seemingly without seminarial training.
“I feel like she is still scamming and taking advantage of vulnerable women. I am completely disgusted with her recent behavior,” said a Christian woman named Kat, who was a fan of Davis's before stumbling upon a subreddit that revealed her previous fitness business issues. “She’s basically charging women money to be baptized, which is absolutely disgraceful. Jesus already paid the price for our salvation, and she’s making a profit out of it.”
She Lives Freed is not affiliated with Mercy Culture, the nondenominational and outspokenly pro-Trump church Davis said she attends in Fort Worth, Texas. Pastor Landon Schott declined to comment on both Davis and her conferences.
Sharon, a 30-year-old from Texas who bought a ticket to the upcoming She Lives Freed retreat, said the news coverage last week of Davis’s past made her ask for a refund, although she ultimately decided against taking the partial refund she was offered, she said.
She took comfort in the Bible verse Psalm 112:5, which says “Good will come to the one who lends generously and conducts his business fairly” — and she emailed the line to the She Lives Feed team as a piece of advice.
A few commenters also expressed their support for Davis as she continues to face fallout from the lawsuit.
“Girl I see your heart and the enemy trying to bring up your past ... your past [does] not define you anymore,” TikTok user @alishacarkuff commented on one of Davis’s posts.
Albert Cruz, a member of Mercy Culture Church who has worked on charity projects with Davis and her husband, Jordan Nelson, a former police officer who was involved in the settlement of a claim of excessive use of force against a Black man in 2013, said that he felt concerned when he heard about their past behavior, but the actions he’s seen from them have all been positive.
“I feel for them, but I can’t control their past because I didn’t even know they existed,” he said. “I would never want to be judged by my past, just what you see me doing now.”
But that’s not enough for Samul, who cited a passage in the Bible in which Jesus discovered a temple was being misused for the benefit of others instead of being revered as holy.
She said other Christian influencers who “tend to be shills for the prosperity gospel,” a term that has been used to criticize popular pastors like Joel Osteen who preach that faith, positive speech, and donations will earn them favor from God, should also be prepared to be called out.
“Brittany Dawn appeals only to the people in her corner who will support her toxicity without challenging her beliefs,” Samul said. “You can’t run away from your past by hiding in your faith. You have to repent.”