The popular Christian vlogger Sam Rader—best known for “surprising” his wife with her own positive pregnancy test in a viral video—had a paid account on the cheating website Ashley Madison in 2013, the Daily Mail reports. Sam is a leader in a new industry of online evangelism, posting daily videos of his upstanding, Jesus-loving family for hundreds of thousands of subscribers.
Sam, whose new “manager” told the Daily Mail from a vlogger conference in Seattle that “we are not going to comment on this right now,” has done such a good job marketing his Christian family values on YouTube that he quit his job this month to vlog full time. (We reached out to Sam for comment but have not heard back.) Though his latest pregnancy stunt video was controversial, Sam has built a real, loyal following preaching the bible and vlogging about wanting to be a “good man” to his wife of almost six years, Nia—the kind of “man I want [my daughter] to marry.”
Perhaps Sam believes that being a “good man” in a marriage is consistent with seeking extramarital sexual partners online. Or perhaps he simply fell short of his goal in September 2013, when he created a paid account on Ashley Madison, a dating site created for the purpose of cheating your spouse. News of the Ashley Madison hack broke on July 15. Instead of keeping his head down, Sam went ahead with his viral pregnancy stunt three weeks later, propelling his family to new heights of Christian vlogging fame.
The Daily Mail notes that someone using a credit card belonging to a “Samuel Rader,” with a billing address that matches the Raders’ home in Terrell, Texas—a home that is featured in almost every video Sam posts—made several payments on Ashley Madison beginning in September 2013, including two payments of $189. The domain of the email address used to create the account, “becausethatswhy.com”, was registered by Samuel Rader in 2011. (PerezHilton.com also notes the email evidence.)
The Twitter account below first discovered that Sam’s credit card information was among the data released online in the wake of the hack on Ashley Madison’s servers.
According to the data, Sam stopped paying Ashley Madison after November 2013. This was a few months before he posted his first video to go viral: “Good Looking Parents Sing Disney’s Frozen (Love Is an Open Door).” In it, Sam and Nia deliver a practiced lip synch of the children’s tune while driving through Texas with their daughter in the back seat. Since then, Sam and Nia have posted videos daily with a focus on family, marriage, and bible study. In July, Sam was forced to delete a video in which he and his wife convinced their five-year-old daughter that gay marriage is wrong. He explained the next day: “We are Christians. We believe in everything the bible says, and we believe that god created man and woman to be together.”
Spewing this kind of biblically sanctioned bigotry can be incredibly lucrative. Buzzfeed reports that the Raders are now likely making $9.60 per 1,000 non-skippable ad views, which “could easily lead to a six-figure salary for the channel if they can maintain even just a fraction of their recent numbers.” Additionally, the Raders have leveraged their online hybrid of neo-televangelism, reality TV, and viral performance into sponsorship deals with Audible and Naturebox.
Sam defended his right to make money by filming his family for YouTube in a recent video titled, “THE IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY VLOGS!”
He explains in the video:
Vlogging, as we understand, is a way of sharing our family with the world. And we feel it’s also a way to shine god’s light...
We also get a lot of crap for going full time and me quitting my job. A lot of people are like, “Get a real job!’” But my family is my passion. A lot of men have different passions. Some men are passionate about being a doctor, or architecture, or whatever...I have found, after marrying Nia, that I’m passionate about my family...and just like any other passion, everybody wants to support their family off of what they love to do.
Sam, indeed, acts passionate about his marriage and family in front of the camera. In a video posted this month—“IS MY WIFE A TROPHY?”—Sam explains that his wife is a gift straight from the Lord, and that he aims to treat her the way he’d want a man to treat his daughter. “I want to be the man that I want my daughter to marry,” he says. “That’s something that’s been on my mind lately, as far as when she asks me anything, or when it comes to like doing things with her, or being an example in front of her with Nia. Because I feel like she’s absorbing more things lately than before; I feel like it’s really important now that I’m being a good man to Nia and to the family, and that she sees what a real man needs to be.”
Sam has also posted many videos offering advice for keeping heterosexual Christian marriage alive—“SPICING UP OUR MARRIAGE!”, “The Importance of Dating Your Spouse,” “Making Date Night Happen During Saturday Nappin’”—where he suggests taking an active role in “dating” your wife. But nowhere does he suggest dating a woman who is not your wife, which he sought to do under the Ashley Madison username “Dirtylittlesecretman28.” According to the data, Sam’s profile said he was “Looking to break the monotony” and for “outdoors exploration.” His turn-on was someone “Sneaky and cute.”
Sam, who has now made it is full time job to preach Christian family values online, is not the first “good man” to break commandment number seven. Family values activist and former 19 Kids and Counting star Josh Duggar had a paid Ashley Madison account, too.
Image by Jim Cooke. Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.