For six years, Catherine and Austin McBroom have horrified, shocked, and entertained audiences with their family vlogging YouTube channel, the ACE Family. But now, they are preparing to move on.
In a video posted March 19, the McBrooms announced to their 18.9 million subscribers that 2022 would be their last year on YouTube. Citing a desire to spend more quality time with their kids and to travel, the couple said that they may post sporadically from time to time, but plan to quit as full-time creators at the end of the year.
“I feel like the pressure that we’ve had has just been really unhealthy, and I think traveling and spending time with our family, doing all the things that we really wanna do, the things that we wanna focus 100% on, I think that that will bring us a lot of joy,” Catherine says in the video. “And I think that when we do film and make our video you’ll see and feel that energy, and feel good when you watch us.”
The McBrooms are packing it in at an interesting time. For years, they reigned as one of the top vlogger families, reportedly making more than $6 million a year, though not without controversy. The couple sought YouTube notoriety with shock videos (“I PUT PERIOD BLOOD ON MY HUSBANDS FACE!!!”), kids content (“ELLE LOSES HER FIRST TOOTH! *EMOTIONAL REACTION*,” “STEEL GOT HURT BAD ON CAMERA!!! **SO UNEXPECTED**”), and clickbait titles for mundane content (in “WE HAVE TO LET OUR DOG GO…” the dog just went to a training camp).
Any controversy they attracted just seemed to raise their clout even further. In 2018, racist and sexist tweets from Austin made headlines, and in early 2019, Austin drew backlash for a video where he took a young girl, who some people online suspected to be a relative of his wife’s, to a sex shop and bought her a lollipop shaped like a penis. Later that year, a fellow YouTuber accused Austin of raping a friend, allegations that he denied. The list goes on and on (the couple didn’t return a request for comment).
The McBrooms were one of the kingpins of a generation of YouTubers who didn’t simply survive a litany of scandals but thrived on them. In the latter half of the 2010s, to be a prominent YouTuber was to consistently push the envelope of what you could create without getting banned, chasing the glorious high of a video that would get tens of millions, or even hundreds of millions of views. YouTube financially rewarded creators who went viral. So creators pushed themselves to do bigger stunts, pull off weirder or more outrageous pranks, and became embroiled in seemingly constant hostile feuds with one another.