24-year-old David Dobrik has quickly become one of YouTube’s biggest stars, making a name for himself with his 4 minute and 20 second ‘vlogs’ that have garnered over 18 million subscribers. His vlogs follow his friend group, known as the Vlog Squad, as they run around Hollywood pulling pranks, causing havoc, and looking like they are having a lot more fun than the rest of us. These fast-paced videos have made him wildly successful—- garnering him major sponsorship deals, a spot co-hosting the Teen Choice Awards, and the nickname ‘Gen-Z’s Jimmy Fallon’ by the Wall Street Journal. However, recent explosive allegations of misconduct have rocked Dobrik’s ‘wholesome’ image and have caused many to be sceptical about how ‘fun’ his videos really are.
Earlier this month, Dobrik’s Vlog Squad became the subject of controversy after a woman accused former member Dom Zeglaitis (nicknamed Durte Dom) of raping her while filming a YouTube video back in 2018, according to the Los Angeles Times. The allegations, which were first published by Insider, implicate Dobrik and many of his friends. The accuser, who uses the pseudonym Hannah, claims that members of the Vlog Squad bought her alcohol when she was underage, and that she was too incapacitated to consent to the sexual activity which later occured with Durte Dom.
David and others were with Hannah when the incident occured, allegedly filming a vlog about a ‘threesome plot’ which he would later upload to YouTube in a video called “SHE SHOULD NOT HAVE PLAYED WITH FIRE!!” The video used footage from the incident, and was viewed 5 million times before it was deleted at Hannah’s request.
In response to the allegation, Dobrik issued an apology video last week—which many have been quick to criticize. The video, entitled “Let’s Talk,” ironically had the comments disabled, and seemed like an insincere attempt at damage control. However, on Monday night, Dobrik made a second attempt at apologizing— addressing the misconduct allegations, vocally supporting the victim, and further distancing himself from Durte Dom. “I’m going to be using words that may trigger some survivors, and that’s just so I don’t explain anything vaguely.” Dobrik stated in his latest remarks. “I fully believe the woman who came out against Dom and said she was sexually assaulted and raped by him.”
However, it may be too late for Dobrik to save his sinking ship. In the wake of the first allegation, numerous other accusations of misconduct have emerged— many of which have been asserted by former Vlog Squad members. Seth Francois has now accused Dobrik of sexually assaulting him in 2017, alleging that Dobrik tricked him into kissing someone he did not consent to in order to produce more ‘content.’ Another former member, Nik ‘BigNik’ Keswani, accused Dobrik of treating him like a ‘punching bag,’ and has claimed that filming the YouTube videos caused him to have suicidal thoughts. “For a long time, I felt worthless being in those videos.” He stated. “Everyones just joking about me, mocking me, and then the fans in public are doing the same..”
As allegations continue to stream in, it seems as though there isn’t enough damage control in the world that could keep David Dobrik afloat. In their wake, many companies have chosen to cut ties with the YouTube star, including brands such as DoorDash, Dollar Shave Club, EA Sports, and many others. Dobrik has also announced that he would leave the board of his photo sharing app Dispo, after the app’s ratings plunged following the accusations, according to the New York Times. As a celebrity who’s fame revolves around a reputation of being ‘fun’ and ‘wholesome,’ these allegations may be the iceberg that ultimately sinks the ship.