After Earlene Branson’s attempt to reunite with her daughter, Ami Brown from Alaskan Bush People failed earlier this month, it seemed as though that would be the last social media would hear of it. Now, it seems that Les Branson, Ami’s brother, is not going to let the story go.
At the end of June, word started spreading on social media that Earlene Branson was going to be making a 7,000-mile round-trip journey to Alaska in an attempt to reunite with Ami. Her family claims they have not heard from her in more than 30 years. Earlene’s great-nephew, Charles Gilbert, took charge of the voyage and funded the entire trip.
At first, social media was told they would be able to follow Earlene’s trip on a special Facebook page, Memaw’s Trip to Alaska, as well as a YouTube channel by the same name. Many who decided to follow these pages were disappointed to find the updates were few and far between, and all content was eventually deleted from both pages.
Alaskan Bush People fan pages grew angry when they learned the Brown family was not in “Browntown” when Earlene arrived. They soon discovered through fan photos that Billy, Ami, Matt, Bam, Gabe, Bear, Noah, Snowbird, and Rain Brown had skipped town and were vacationing in Hawaii with Billy’s daughter from his first marriage, Twila.
Earlene’s family claimed that they had tried many different ways to contact the Brown family before they headed to Alaska, but they had no success in reaching them. When Earlene arrived in Alaska and the community learned that the Browns were not there, they went out of their way to make sure Earlene had an enjoyable stay, even if she wasn’t able to reunite with her daughter.
Outrage grew when it was revealed that Earlene’s trip may have been nothing more than a publicity stunt by Ami’s brother, Les Branson. While Earlene’s family was claiming that they had no way of reaching the Browns, it was discovered that Les, Earlene’s great-nephew, Charles, Billy’s daughter, Twila, and the owner of the Icy Straight Lodge, a motel the Browns are rumored to live in when they are not filming episodes in “Browntown,” were all members of a secret Alaskan Bush People VIP group. It was hard for anyone to imagine that Les and Charles did not use this direct contact to Billy’s daughter, who went to Hawaii with them, and the owner of the motel where the Browns live, to let the Browns know they were headed to Alaska.
While many felt angered and used by Earlene’s family using her as a publicity stunt, much of the talk had died down on social media. That is until Les decided to contact the media in an attempt to share his version of the story.
In an interview with the Weatherford Democrat, Les made it known that he felt social media got the wrong impression about the purpose of the trip.
“Branson feels the family has been misrepresented in other media outlets, regarding the trip.”
Les shared the trip to Alaska had nothing to do with being on Alaskan Bush People but was “simply a family matter that has nothing to do with the Discovery Channel.” Many in pro and anti Alaskan Bush People fan groups wonder then why Les went to great effort to make the trip to Alaska so public. He even went so far as to create his own press release and share it on social media.
It really is unclear what the purpose of Earlene’s trip to Alaska was. If the trip was simply an effort to reunite with Ami, there really was no reason her family needed to go blasting word of the trip all over social media. While it seems Earlene’s intentions were pure, many continue to wonder if the rest of her family was hoping to cash in on their 15 minutes of fame.
[Image via Twitter]