Set off warning: This text comprises mentions of sexual assault.
YouTuber David Dobrik started 2021 on a profession excessive. With a lately estimated internet value of $20 million USD, almost 20-million subscribers to his YouTube channel, a newly bought $9.5-million mansion and high-profile partnerships with main manufacturers together with DoorDash and Bumble, the 12 months was off to a roaring begin.
However within the wake of a number of accusations of sexual assault being introduced towards members of the Vlog Squad, Dobrik’s content material creation group, the 24-year-old is shedding followers and sponsorships left and proper, whereas providing up apology after apology.
Right here’s all the things to know in regards to the David Dobrik controversy.
Who’s David Dobrik?
A comic and podcaster, Dobrik first rose to fame on the short-lived short-form video app Vine, adopted by YouTube, which he joined in 2015. His movies included pranks, movie star cameos that includes the likes of Kylie Jenner and Justin Bieber, and absolutely anything with some sort of clickbait (e.g. movies with names like “ASKING HER BEST FRIENDS TO HOOK UP WITH HER!!,” “TOO DRUNK TO BE ON CAMERA!!,” “HE’S BEEN DATING A MOM!!”). And sure, all are labelled in caps for max migraine issue.
Lots of these movies function his mates, a.ok.a. the Vlog Squad, which at the moment contains fellow content material creators Jason Nash, Todd Smith, Heath Hussar, Scotty Sire, Josh Peck, Corinna Kopf, Nick Antonyan a.ok.a. “Jonah,” Jeff Wittek, Matt King, Carly Incontro, Erin Gilfoyand and Zane Hijazi. Whereas they don’t work for Dobrik, the YouTuber usually options his precise staff in his content material, too, together with private assistants Natalie Mariduena, Taylor Hudson and Ella-Priya D’Souza.
With a as soon as squeaky-clean status and movies garnering hundreds of thousands of views, Dobrik has been one of the in style and highest-earning YouTubers on the community, beloved for his now-stale allure and affinity for hijinks.
What’s David Dobrik being accused of?
That status blew up on March 16, 2021 when a Enterprise Insider report was revealed during which an nameless girl mentioned that she had been raped through the filming of one among Dobrik’s 2018 movies that includes the Vlog Squad. Twenty years outdated on the time, she mentioned she blacked out from consuming alcohol that the Vlog Squad had supplied to her and a number of other different girls who have been current and of an identical age. She added that Dobrik filmed her as she entered a bed room with former Vlog Squad member Dominykas Zeglaitis (who additionally goes by “Durte Dom”), and that she was concerned in group intercourse although too drunk to supply consent. Later, Dobrik revealed a video to his YouTube channel in regards to the incident, titled “SHE SHOULD NOT HAVE PLAYED WITH FIRE!!”
The video, during which Zeglaitis and Dobrik joke in regards to the group intercourse, together with that they’re “going to jail” for what transpired, has since been eliminated at her request.
This allegation introduced one other, reported on February 24, 2021 to Buzzfeed, to the floor. On this incident, former Vlog Squad member Joseth “Seth” Francois mentioned he was sexually assaulted whereas filming one among Dobrik’s prank movies in 2017. Within the video, Dobrik methods Francois into believing that he’s kissing good friend Corrina Kopf who, it seems, is definitely Vlog Squad member Jason Nash in disguise.
Francois additionally mentioned that as the one Black member of the group, he usually felt he was used as a punchline for racist jokes. In a June 2020 video on his personal YouTube channel, titled “Accountability to all content material creators,” Francois shared particular examples of the uncomfortable, racially charged conditions he was put in whereas a part of the Vlog Squad, together with being supplied watermelon and the group joking about taking him to a police station.
Regarding the race-based jokes, Francois advised Buzzfeed that he felt strain to associate with them as a member of the Vlog Squad.
“It was an unwritten factor the place you see a sample of individuals saying, ‘Yo, I’m uncomfortable with this,’” he mentioned. “Rapidly they disappear and so they’re not in movies anymore.”
In an episode of YouTuber couple Ethan and Hila Klein’s H3 podcast that aired on February 5, 2021, Nick Keswani, one other former Vlog Squad member, shared an identical sentiment. Keswani lives with a uncommon type of dwarfism that’s left him blind in a single eye, and he regularly felt mocked by the Vlog Squad for his disabilities. He mentioned on the podcast, “I felt nugatory being in these movies. I used to be like, ‘Dude, why am I even, like, right here? What’s the purpose in my existence? As a result of I used to be simply handled like this punching bag.’”
This was adopted by YouTuber Trisha Paytas who, on February 16, 2021, claimed on the H3 podcast that Dobrik hid in her room and filmed her bare whereas she had intercourse with Jason Nash, her boyfriend on the time. She mentioned this was all with out her consent, although Nash was conscious. Paytas added that she requested Dobrik to not publish the video he filmed of the incident, titled “I SNUCK INTO THEIR HOTEL ROOM (SURPRISE),” although it’s nonetheless on-line and pulling in views. In a latest Vulture profile, she mentioned she has been experiencing PTSD since her time spent with Nash and Dobrik.
Lastly, on March 1, Dobrik got here underneath fireplace once more when he launched a brand new photo-sharing app known as Dispo. That title had been pitched to him in September 2020 by a person named Karim in a TikTok sequence that he used as an software to be a designer for the app. Though Dobrik mentioned he beloved the title within the video feedback on the time, he didn’t rent Karim however went forward with the title. Since, the overview part of Dispo on Apple’s App Retailer has been inundated asking Dobrik to take accountability and for followers to not help him by downloading the app.
How has Dobrik responded?
On June 30, 2020, Dobrik made his first apology, earlier than the scandals surrounding him actually blew up. In a podcast episode titled “Auditioning for SNL,” he apologized for his previous behaviour with out referring to any names or specifics, and was criticized by followers for providing up nothing greater than a superficial sorry.
After the explosive Enterprise Insider report was launched many months later, Dobrik made one other apology on March 16, 2021 in a two-minute video titled “Let’s Discuss.”
“I simply wish to make movies the place all people in it, whether or not you’re taking part or watching, is having fun with having a superb time,” Dobrik mentioned. “Consent is one thing that’s tremendous, tremendous necessary to me. Whether or not I’m taking pictures with a good friend or taking pictures with a stranger, I at all times ensure that regardless of the video I’m placing out, I’ve the approval from that individual. I additionally acknowledge that there’s instances the place an individual can change their thoughts and so they determine that they not wish to be related, they not wish to be within the video that I’m placing up. Then I’ll take the video down.”
Dobrik goes on to say that he has distanced himself from Zeglaitis and different unnamed former Vlog Squad members as a result of he “doesn’t align with a few of their actions” and doesn’t stand “with any misconduct.”
In conclusion, he says, “I’m sorry if I’ve allow you to down. Issues like that gained’t occur once more. I’ve learnt from my errors and I additionally consider that actions converse loads louder than phrases. You possibly can take my phrase for it that I’m going to vary, however I may even present you and I’ll show to you that the errors I made earlier than gained’t be occurring once more.”
It’s not not like his apology in 2020, with no reference to any of the allegations particularly. Though Dobrik apologizes “for the Seth state of affairs,” he declines to say Keswani, Paytas or the incident detailed within the Enterprise Insider report.
Zeglaitis has not commented on any of the allegations, and neither have present Vlog Squad members Jason Nash, Todd Smith, Heath Hussar, Josh Peck, Corinna Kopf, Nick Antonyan, Matt King or Zane Hijazi.
In a video on their very own joint channel, group members Carly Incontro and Erin Gilfoy mentioned they don’t condone what occurred and hope that the nameless girl’s “abuser will get to face the whole, full consequence of all of this and takes full accountability for what occurred that evening.”
Jeff Wittek, who was accused of supplying underage ladies with alcohol together with Smith the evening of the alleged assault detailed in Enterprise Insider, mentioned in a now-deleted video that the allegations are unfaithful and he has “completely nothing to do” with the state of affairs. Equally, in his personal now-deleted video, Scotty Sire mentioned the allegations have been false and that “the Vlog Squad doesn’t deal with rumours, lies, and gossip.” Nevertheless, days later, on March 8, he tweeted an apology “to anybody who feels as if I disrespected or invalidated their story” as he “let emotion get the higher of me.”
What’s happening with Dobrik’s YouTube subscribers and sponsorships?
Within the week following his March 16 apology video, a lot of Dobrik’s most enduring and profitable sponsors dropped him, all of them sharing the identical clarification: the YouTuber’s “values” don’t align with theirs. That listing contains EA Sports activities, Greenback Shave Membership, DoorDash, Chipotle, Frank’s Pink Sizzling, SeatGeek, Normal Mills, HBO Max, Audible, Fb and HelloFresh.
In the meantime, in keeping with information from Social Blade, Dobrik’s YouTube view depend dropped by over 66-million in a single day, on March 19, and he additionally misplaced about 100,000 subscribers. He additionally lately deleted a sequence of movies that accounted for over 17-million views.
On account of the soured sponsorship offers, on March 22, 2021, Dobrik introduced that he could be stepping down from the board of Dispo in an effort “to not distract from the corporate’s progress.” On the identical day, enterprise capital agency Spark Capital, which was a significant investor in Dispo, introduced that it might be severing “all ties” with the YouTuber.
The newest: Dobrik apologizes…once more
Seemingly provoked by his fizzled partnerships, Dobrik made a extra formal, prolonged apology video on March 23, 2021, whereas sitting humbly on the ground of his mansion.
“I totally consider the girl who got here out towards Dom,” he mentioned, referring to the Enterprise Insider report. “Although I received the consent to publish that video, I ought to have by no means posted it. I wish to apologize to her and her mates for ever placing them in an surroundings that I enabled that made them really feel like their security and values have been compromised. I’m so sorry. I used to be utterly disconnected from the truth that when folks have been invited to movie movies with us, particularly movies that relied on shock for views or no matter, it was that I used to be creating an unfair energy dynamic. I didn’t know this earlier than.”
He went on to advise viewers that, “when creating content material that you simply’re making an attempt to get viewership out of otherwise you’re making an attempt to get laughs out of, actually take a second and take a look at the place the jokes finish and the place the emotions start.”
Dobrik concluded that he can be taking a break from social media for the foreseeable future, including that he hopes to instil extra “infrastructure” in his content material shifting ahead, whereas additionally being a human being and taking his mates’ emotional wellbeing into consideration.
As of but, no expenses have been filed, whereas the nameless girl in Enterprise Insider‘s report mentioned she has not spoken with police and has but to make any additional statements since Dobrik’s apologies.