Celebrity News

Van-Life Influencer Launches Crusade Against Her Reddit Snark Forum

  • Brianna Madia, like many popular influencers, has been the subject of several Reddit “snark” forums.
  • Earlier this year, Madia worked with an amateur investigator to expose the haters she said tarnished her life.
  • But some say her quest for vengeance perpetrates the same vilification she suffered.

Content warning: This story discusses suicidal ideation.

Brianna Madia’s 319,000 Instagram followers are typically treated to dreamy photos of her beatific life on the road, including sweeping desert-scapes, her beloved orange van named Bertha, and her four adorable dogs.

As an early van-lifer, she accrued bold-faced fans like Jason Momoa, and her lengthy Instagram captions, in which she waxed poetic about being madly in love with her husband, Keith, laid the groundwork for a HarperCollins memoir, “Nowhere for Very Long.”

In March, however, Madia, who is based in Moab, Utah, posted a searing, 39-minute video with a decidedly different message.

Tearful and emotionally spent, the 33-year-old described how, after being relentlessly cyberbullied in a Reddit forum called “MadiaSnark,” she collaborated with a digital investigator roughly two years ago to identify 200 “snarkers” — a nickname for scathing critics of influencers — who she says turned her life into a living hell and drove her to suicidal ideation.

Madia hugging two of her dogs while out in nature.


Madia, an early van-lifer, said a Reddit snark forum turned her life into a living hell.

Brian Madia


In a quest for retribution, she planned to expose them, including their names — and, in some cases, their locations and occupations.

“I sat with these names for over a year trying to figure out do I really wanna go through with doing anything legally? This is exhausting. I just want it to go away,” Madia told Insider. “And I just started dropping names and it felt so good.”

In October 2021, Madia also learned her now-ex-husband, Keith, who she was with for 11 years, had participated in the forum – a revelation that didn’t emerge from the investigation, he told Insider, but from a letter he publicly penned on MadiaSnark.

Nevertheless, it sent Madia “over the edge” and into the hospital with a panic attack, she said – a gutting revelation as Keith was key to a tragic controversy that turned her into such a hated figure in the first place.

“I think that was probably one of those moments in your life where you become a completely different person,” Madia told Insider.

In her video, Madia released 25 names of people she claimed were snarkers alongside screenshots of vicious comments she said they’d made. Ultimately, Madia said, the snarking lept off the screen and into her real life. She was doxxed and said she lost out on work.

“If you think you are anonymous, if you think you are invincible, if you think you won’t ever be found and asked to defend the things you’ve said and done,” she said at the top of her video exposé, “you are sorely, sorely mistaken.”

Screenshots of Madia's YouTube video, wearing a cowboy hat and appearing emotional.


Media recounted the yearslong saga in a 39-minute video on Instagram and YouTube.



Countless snark subreddits thrive unabated today, with arguably the most popular, Blogsnark, fueling a perverse symbiosis between creators and haters. But the rise of snarking has also raised questions about the tenuous line between criticism and abuse.

Madia has been one of the first influencers to fight back against her snark community tactically, and at scale. While her quest for vengeance has received wide support, some wonder whether she’s taken things too far. They say doxxing critics marks a step beyond justice, perpetrating the same vilification that she has suffered.

A troubling incident with her ex made Madia ripe for online hate

Much of the snarking directed at Madia can be traced back to a near-fatal car accident in 2018 when Madia’s ex-husband, Keith, accidentally struck their dog, Dagwood.

As Keith tells it, they were letting their dogs run beside the van while driving one day, when Dagwood suddenly took a 90-degree turn, and Keith felt a bump on the back driver’s side tire. He wrapped the injured dog in a towel, he said, as they drove for hours to the nearest vet.

“I’ve never seen or smelled things like I did that day,” Keith said.

Keith Media wearing sunglasses and a backpack taking a selfie in front of a mountain.


Keith told Insider the shame and secrecy of the 2018 accident became all-consuming.

Keith Madia


A GoFundMe for Dagwood’s care raised a staggering $95,197, and he ultimately survived. But Madia initially kept the facts of the accident from her followers, and didn’t reveal that Keith had been the one driving until July 2020, after they had separated — a secret she said she kept to protect them.

Keith told Insider that he felt shame and fear around the accident. “Because of that platform and because of the money, I wasn’t allowed to talk about it,” he said. “I think in some ways, I was protecting her. I think in some ways, she felt like she was protecting me.”

After Madia revealed the truth, she offered refunds in an attempt to make things right, but said only six of 7,000 donors took her up on the offer.

She acknowledged that $95,197 sounds like an “insane” figure but claims that Dagwood was in the ICU for 29 days and had to undergo six surgeries, two blood transfusions, skin grafting, and six months of physical therapy. She claimed she also donated some of the money to other dogs in need. When asked, Madia did not provide Insider with documents to corroborate the expenditures.

Keith agreed that Dagwood’s expenses were astronomical and that the couple had paid forward some of the donations to other dogs in need, but told Insider that thousands of dollars from the GoFundMe were spent on some of their own expenses, like rent, as they had moved out of the van and into an apartment to care for Dagwood. (The GoFundMe specified that “All donations will go towards helping cover the cost of Dagwood’s extensive surgeries and recovery.”)

“This is not meant to hurt Brianna as I was also a part of the accident,” Keith said. “It’s time to be accountable and transparent with everyone who donated.”

Dagwood the dog peaks out from two orange van doors.


Dagwood peaks out from Madia’s orange van.

Brianna Madia


Keith shared a 28-page invoice from Bend Animal Emergency in Bend, Oregon that tallies up to $51,145 in total charges. However, both he and Madia said that the medical expenses were greater, as Dagwood required subsequent care.

Keith also shared bank statements with Insider, highlighting transactions he claimed went towards their rent at the time, which added up to over $10,000. He also said a small, separate pocket of funds was either put toward day-to-day expenses or into savings.

“I don’t believe we were responsible or in the right mind to handle this amount of donations correctly, appropriately, or transparently,” he added.

Madia agrees that some of the money was used for rent and other necessities, but said she told followers at the time in an Instagram comment (which she is now unable to locate) that funds would be allocated to some personal expenses.

“I don’t know, did we order a pizza because we had to keep vigil over Dagwood 24/7?” she said. “I know that I did not misuse those funds. I didn’t go on a fucking Disney cruise.”

Valid criticism eventually spiraled into vitriol

Users of the MadiaSnark subreddit relentlessly rehashed the GoFundMe controversy. But the criticism wasn’t coming from documented donors, Madia said, and subsequently spun into unbridled vitriol.

Commenters in the subreddit called her an “insufferable cunt” who abused drugs, per the video. They also said she had “nearly killed her dog for clout,” and accused her of only claiming to be suicidal for attention.

In her video, Madia outlined the fallout. Redditors doxxed her, she said. They falsified stories to get sponsors — including a pet food company — to drop her, she said. They claimed she was destroying Airbnbs. They managed to get a (virtual) stop on her book tour canceled, she added. (Madia shared what she said were screenshots of the pet food company confirming the sponsorship had been discontinued, as well as the bookstore announcing the event cancellation.)

“Those people left the computer screen and infiltrated my real life,” she told Insider. “They got involved in my marriage. I mean, it was just nonstop.”

A screenshot of the now-shuttered MadiaSnark Reddit forum.


MadiaSnark shuttered on February 24, per its moderators.



Roughly two years ago, the tide began to turn when a woman who calls herself Selena stumbled upon one of Madia’s posts while doomscrolling on Instagram.

Selena, who declined to disclose her real name but who confirmed her role in these events over a phone call, told Insider that she saw mention of MadiaSnark in the comments and started to poke around. She wasn’t a fan, but upon further inspection, became both fascinated and concerned by the disproportionate response to Madia’s actions.

Cyberbullying was also an issue that hit close to home, as a friend had been bullied to the point of a suicide attempt, she told Insider. “I saw a random opportunity to do something about it and I did,” she said.

Selena, who had taken courses in digital forensics and coding — and whom Madia likens to “Batman” — posed as a hater on the MadiaSnark message board to glean intel. She identified snarkers by finding their screen names on other social media accounts or reverse-image-searching photos they’d shared on Reddit of their dogs or tattoos.

“Everything I did was completely legal and based on information that they freely gave,” Selena said.

‘It feels exactly like Bri to get revenge,’ Keith said.

Keith told Insider he began dipping onto MadiaSnark after the couple’s breakup, anonymously responding to the occasional comment.

Then, in October 2021, he posted a lengthy letter — complete with a selfie as proof of his identity — to set the record straight about Dagwood and his battle with drug addiction that intensified in the wake of the accident. “I bottled that guilt up so tight that it almost killed me,” he wrote. (Keith told Insider he’s now been sober for roughly two years.)

“I saw a place where I could voice myself to people that knew the story, that were talking about the story,” Keith told Insider. “I didn’t want to be a part of the hate. I wanted to be a part of the clarification.”

MadiaSnark was shuttered on February 24, per a note from its moderators, just before Madia published her video expose. Keith said he’s glad the forum is gone, as “there were a lot of just hateful things being said,” but he disagrees with Madia’s decision to name names. “It feels hypocritical, and it feels exactly like Bri to get revenge.”

Other former snarkers have apologized publicly for their participation, but cautioned against Madia’s tactics.

“I don’t feel like waiting around for weeks to find out if my name is posted,” one person claiming to be a former member of MadiaSnark commented under Madia’s video in March. “Please don’t look up and harass the women she names in this video — that is just perpetuating the same harmful, vindictive behaviors that hurt Brianna.”

Despite a wave of dissent, Madia said she firmly stands by her actions and plans to continue releasing names. She hopes the exposures serve as a warning shot to would-be snarkers. And she’s also working on a follow-up book about the saga.

“They weren’t gonna stop, they’re still not gonna stop, and I’m sorry, desperate times call for desperate measures,” she said, noting the abuse still hasn’t ceased even amid the doxxing. “These people – they’re drug addicts, and I am the drug.”

Of the 25 names of the alleged snarkers she released publicly in the video, Insider could not identify many, in part because of how common some names are. Accurate contact information for others was not readily available. Of the 25 alleged snarkers, Insider was able to locate eight and reached out for comment. None responded.

Today, in the absence of MadiaSnark, a faction of critics have doubled down on a new Reddit forum, ExposingBriannaMadia, Madia said. She said Selena is investigating that venue as well, and Madia is weighing a defamation suit and a civil stalking injunction against two of her most vicious critics.

“I’ve gotten a lot of apologies,” she told Insider, “which I don’t forgive these people. I never will. I don’t think a single one of those would’ve arrived in my inbox had they not been terrified of me outing them.”

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