‘Alaskan Bush People’ And Privacy: Why Is Everyone In Their Business?

Toni Matthews - Author
By

Jun. 28 2016, Updated 4:32 p.m. ET

Alaskan Bush People is a very popular reality TV series. Even so, its’ stars are often at the center of scandals and questionable behaviors. As such, people are heavily invested in the Alaskan Bush People series and its stars. Very invested.

It’s rare that I write an article on this Discovery Channel program and don’t get feedback of some sort. Most of the Alaskan Bush People commentary these days is a bit cynical. Yet Alaskan Bush People still has its loyal fan base, ready to remind everyone that they love the show no matter what.

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That’s why I’ll occasionally be hit with “why is everyone bothering the Browns?” or “why are you writing about their business? Leave them alone!” comments. It’s actually a topic worthy of deeper thought and discussion: Does the Alaskan Bush People cast have a reasonable expectation of privacy?

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It’s important to remember that thanks to Alaskan Bush People, the Browns are now world-famous celebrities. Another phrase used to describe people in their situation would be “public figures.” According to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, public figures have a “diminished privacy interest,” or considerably lower expectation of privacy than the average person.

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“[P]ersons who have placed themselves in the public light, e.g., through politics, or voluntarily participate in the public arena have a significantly diminished privacy interest than others.”

“For example, a court held that a person ‘closely associated with’ former U.S. President Ronald Reagan had a ‘significantly diminished’ privacy interest in information about his 40-year-old traffic violations because he was a public figure.”

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The Browns’ status as celebrities is what make them public figures, and so makes it somewhat reasonable to seek information about them online. Their Alaskan Bush People series and real life drama tend to generate enough interest that justifies a closer look — and articles being written about them across the web.

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It’s important to remember this family voluntarily agreed to be filmed for Alaskan Bush People. They’ve shared various opinions on topics and aspects of their (alleged) daily lives. Once that kind of information becomes public, it’s only logical to assume others are going to have something to say. Especially those Alaskans who feel the Brown family doesn’t represent a genuine portrayal of Alaska or life in the bush.

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It’s also important to recall that the Brown family criminal case generated a lot of scrutiny. The “Wolf Pack” claimed to be Alaskan residents living a certain way and with certain moral codes and this was turned upside down by a series of revelations. These self-proclaimed “Alaskan Bush People” were charged with lying about being in the state of Alaska when they weren’t. Although Billy Brown claimed the accusation “broke his heart,” it didn’t change the fact that he and his family misrepresented themselves as being in Alaska for a period of years when they weren’t.

When famous people act in a deviant or criminal manner, it’s bound to get people talking, and that spreading interest inevitably causes a bright light to shine on their every move.

Alaskan Bush People producers scrambled to tweak the show to keep it interesting, but it proved to be at the worst possible time. Without the criminal case, viewers might have been more forgiving about hiring an actress to portray a love interest or staging a family reunion. But with the constant negative light on the Browns, the fakeness of Alaskan Bush People just became decisively more glaring. Meanwhile, indignant Alaskans became that much more eager to spill the beans about why the series is fake, and what’s happening with the Browns away from their TV show.

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Bringing things full circle, certain off-camera rumors are now being talked about in the series, which will, of course, lead to more discussion and digging by gossip and news sources.

Rumors that son Matt Brown may be headed to rehab could be about to be addressed on the show for the first time. There’s also word that a planned reunion between his mom Ami and her estranged family will make it onto Alaskan Bush People at some point. Once these situations are discussed on camera and addressed by members of the Brown clan, it can then be confirmed – or smacked down – by news sources.

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Let’s not forget the dark turn the Twila Wilson situation took once we learned from Radar Online Billy Brown had actually lied. Not only had he contacted her throughout the years, but he also may not have bothered to reach out to his daughter when it was learned his 14-year-old granddaughter was tragically killed. That’s not a nice thing to hear about someone who constantly goes on about how important family is to him.

And so the Browns are very much public figures, individuals whose on- and off-camera antics are bound to be researched and reported. It may be unpleasant for fans repeatedly to come across articles with a negative tone or that reveal what some feel should be “private” facts about their lives. However, with Alaskan Bush People it’s just a consequence of choosing to be reality TV stars and in the spotlight.

Do you think the Browns deserve more privacy than what they’re given or should the Alaskan Bush People stars expect to be a constant hot topic? Please share your thoughts below!

[Image via the Discovery Channel]

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