Inbred Whittaker Family & Soft White Underbelly Controversy Explained (2024)

Accusations being levied at YouTuber Soft White Underbelly (headed up by documentarian Mark Laita) have drummed up controversy surrounding the internet creator and some of his popular subjects, the Whittaker family.

Laita is best known for his on-the-ground investigative deep dives into various grassroots stories across America. He came to fame though through his videos on the West Virginian Whittaker family.

The Whittakers are an incredibly impoverished inbred family living in Odd, West Virginia whom Laita has documented in several videos. The family was the benefactor of a fundraising campaign set up by the Soft White Underbelly YouTube channel which has recently come under fire.

Soft White Underbelly Called Out For Whittaker Family Videos

Inbred Whittaker Family & Soft White Underbelly Controversy Explained (1)

After several years of documenting the now internet-famous Whittaker family, the Soft White Underbelly YouTube channel finds itself marred by controversy thanks to another creator on the ever-popular video platform.

This all started on March 3, 2024, with a video published by popular YouTube creator Tyler Oliveira titled I Investigated the Poorest Region of America...

The 27-minute video saw Oliveira traveling across West Virginia, coming into contact with the Whittaker family among others living in deep poverty.

Oliveira started by revealing he had tried to contact Mark Laita and Soft White Underbelly to get in touch with the Whittakers, but got a response saying the channel had "an exclusive contract with the Whittaker family for all content creation" and would not help the YouTuber:

"Soft White Underbelly has an exclusive contract with the Whitaker family for all content creation. We are also currently in talks about a television series with a broadcast network."

Despite this, Oliveira ventured on, coming across an aid who helps the family, and heading to meet the Whittakers without the help of Soft White Underbelly.

During his time with the family made famous by Laita and Soft White Underbelly, Oliveira did similar things to what Laita and his YouTube channel have been seen doing, cooking for the Whittakers and providing them valuable aid.

Oliveira comes across what he sees as scathing information during his time with the family though when the matriarch Betty was asked about the money from Laita's fundraising efforts by way of two GoFundMe pages

Aside from filming videos with the Whittakers, Laita has been raising funds for the Whittakers since 2022. Across two different GoFundMe pages, the Soft White Underbelly creator raised over $130,000 with the eventual goal being to build a new home for the incredibly poor family.

However, when prodded on where the progress of the house stands, Betty Whittaker told Oliveira, that she does not have any idea what is happening with the money and has heard the money may be gone.

This caused Oliveira to insinuate that Laita and the Soft White Underbelly team may have never had any intention of giving the money to the family, and had run off with the public donations.

While never directly accusing Laita that he had taken advantage and profited off the Whittaker, he heavily alluded to that idea, sicking his droves of committed fans upon Laita and Soft White Underbelly. He does this while saying he plans on raising money for the family as well and hopes to combine his efforts with that of Soft White Underbelly to help the family.

Mark Laita Responds to the Whittaker Family Controversy

Tyler Oliveira's video insinuating Soft White Underbelly and Mark Laita of stealing donations from the Whittaker family's GoFundMe pages, raked in more than 1.5 million views in a week, prompting Laita to respond to the allegations levied against him.

In a video directly addressing the controversy Laita called out Oliveria, expressing that the YouTube creator had created controversy for the sake of clicks and that he was spreading "misinformation" about Laita and his relationship with the Whittaker clan.

Laita laid out that the family had seen the benefit of the money raised for them, so much so, that they were eating away at the funds almost as fast as donations could come in.

The Soft White Underbelly creator outlined the existence of the two different GoFundMe pages, explaining that a second fundraising page has been set up by Laita and his team in 2023 to better streamline where the funds were going, as his initial GoFundMe was not set out with a goal, but was assumed to be going towards building the family a new house.

With these two GoFundMe pages (totaling over $130,000 in donations), Laita set out to help the family, hopefully, build a new home, but - as expressed in his video response - there was one major problem.

The Whittakers had been in constant contact with Laita and his team and were constantly drawing from the pool of donations they had amassed.

Laita revealed he had been getting calls from the family on a nearly bi-weekly basis asking for money, and they had chipped away at the donation total, spending more than $100,000 of it in the last year on things that they deemed were emergencies.

To ensure he could clear his name of the accusations levied against him by Oliveira in his YouTube video, Laita even provided bank records of the transactions of him sending the Whittakers fund, with the Soft White Underbelly creator even admitting he had covered the tax on all the transactions so the Whittaker family would get 100% of the money.

He even went as far as to reach out directly to Betty Whittaker on camera, where she told viewers he had been providing the family money and her confusion during the Tyler Oliveira video was a mistake.

Laita has since deactivated the GoFundMe pages benefitting the Whittakers and has publicly stated he will no longer be covering the family.

Shortly after Laita's response, Oliveira posted another video, saying he commends Soft White Underbelly for being truthful and providing evidence to clear their name but still questions some of their actions after he posted his initial video.

Commenters have not been too kind to Oliveira since the incident, voicing their dismay in the comments to his response, saying he seemingly instigated the conflict, was proven wrong, and then would not know up to his actions.

Inbred Whittaker Family & Soft White Underbelly Controversy Explained (2024)


What was the controversy with Soft White Underbelly? ›

Tyler Oliveira's video insinuating Soft White Underbelly and Mark Laita of stealing donations from the Whittaker family's GoFundMe pages, raked in more than 1.5 million views in a week, prompting Laita to respond to the allegations levied against him.

What is the story behind the Whittaker family? ›

The Whittakers are one of the most well-known families in America due to their complicated history with inbreeding. Devastating genetic defects have left some members of the West Virginian family communicating through grunts and barks rather than words or sign language.

How much money was raised for the Whittaker family? ›

"The Whittaker one has generated like $130,000 (£102,000) between the $77k and the $55k it is right now so it's roughly $130k I think.

What does inbreeding do to humans? ›

Inbreeding in humans greatly increases the risk for hom*ozygous recessive traits, as well as other complications including, but not limited to: reduced fertility, higher risk of early mortality, and reduced immune function.

What nationality has the most inbreeding? ›

Prevalence is highest in Arab countries, followed by India, Japan, Brazil and Israel. They are most common in lower educational and socioeconomic groups, the traditionally religious, and the early married, but are declining with modernization.

What family is known for inbreeding? ›

The Whittakers, known as America's most inbred family, have a unique way of communicating - using grunts and gestures instead of words or sign language. This unusual trait is due to their long history of inbreeding, which has led to some heartbreaking genetic defects.

How many Whittaker siblings are there? ›

How many Whittakers are there? The surviving Whittaker family members are siblings Betty, Lorraine, Ray, and their cousin Timmy. The four are close to Larry and Kenneth, who are part of their extended family.

What is the soft underbelly approach? ›

The “soft underbelly” is a reference to what Winston Churchill described Italy as during WW2, when the Allies were choosing from where to invade Nazi-occupied Europe in 1943. What he was clearly seeking was the Achilles Heel; a kink in the armour of the Axis Powers, where they would have weaker defences.

What does "soft underbelly" mean? ›

Noun. soft underbelly (plural soft underbellies) (idiomatic) A weak spot; a soft spot.

What happened to Amanda Rabb? ›

Again, Lima tried for conservatorship, which wasn't granted, but she still finacled Amanda into court. ordered rehab in the summer of 2020. May 9th of 2021, Amanda died under Lima's care. Lima then lied about her cause of death, saying it was a seizure disorder.

What is the Soft White Underbelly phrase? ›

The phrase “soft white underbelly” describes the anatomy of a broad spectrum of animals ranging from sharks to amphibians to birds and even some mammals. Why is the most notorious biological vulnerability on Earth so ubiquitous?

How old is Mark Laita from Soft White Underbelly? ›

Profile summary
Full nameMark Laita
Age64 years old (as of 2024)
Zodiac signAquarius
Place of birthMidwest City of Detroit, United States
Current residenceLos Angeles, California, United States
21 more rows
Feb 29, 2024

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