Update March 22, 2021: Following the Insider investigation published last week, which detailed sexual assault allegations against a former Vlog Squad member, as well as claims of David Dobrik's own misconduct, the YouTuber announced on March 21 that he will be leaving and stepping down from the board of his photo-sharing app, Dispo.
Dobrik cited the reason he is leaving his is in order “to not distract from the company’s growth,” according to a statement obtained by The Information. “Dispo’s team, product and, most importantly — our community — stand for building a diverse, inclusive and empowering world,” the company said. Many people decided to aim their vitriol against Dobrik by way of negative reviews of Dispo on the Apple app store, and the flood was so overwhelming that it caused Apple to temporarily disable all of the app store's reviews. In addition, a venture capital firm that been backing Dispo has also announced that it will "sever all ties" with the app.
As a result of the allegations, a few sponsors announced that they have dropped Dobrik and the Vlog Squad, including HelloFresh, Dollar Shave Club, SeatGeek, and EA Sports, which once gave Dobrik a Lamborghini.
This article was originally published on March 18, 2021.
Earlier that day, Insider published a report in which a woman named Hannah claimed that former Vlog Squad member Durte Dom raped her during group sex in 2018.
According to Hannah (who spoke on the condition of anonymity), during the production of a November 2018 Vlog Squad video called "SHE SHOULD NOT HAVE PLAYED WITH FIRE!!" Dom's aim was to try to "have a five-some" with a group of women including Hannah, unbeknownst to her. "It was very much an environment where it felt like saying 'no' was not OK," Hannah said. "It felt like from the moment we can there was an expectation that they were doing us a favour and we had to give them content. They were verbally, like, 'Why aren't you guys being fun? Do something sort of sexy." They gave her enough alcohol to cause her to nearly blackout and therefore was too intoxicated to consent to having sex.
Later on in the video which Insider reviewed, Dobrik reportedly tells fellow Vlog Squad member Mills, "When they all got there they were like, 'Oh no, I don't want to have sex, I don't want to have sex. Except two of the girls wanted to have sex, so [Dom] ended up having a threesome, Which was still his first threesome, and it was very exciting for him."
In the brief video titled, "Let's Talk," Dobrik said that consent is something that's "super, super important" to him. "Whether if I'm shooting with a friend or with a stranger, I always make sure that whatever video I'm putting out, I have the approval from that person," he said. "And I also acknowledge that there are times when a person can change their mind and they decide that they no longer want to be associated or in the video I'm putting up. And then I'll take the video down."
Dobrik continued on to say that he has regretted some of the videos he's posted. "There's also been moments when I've looked back on videos and I've noticed that these don't represent me anymore and they're hurtful to other people," he said, "and I don't want them up because I've grown as a content creator and as a person and I don't agree with some of the videos I've posted."
In February, former Vlog Squad member,Seth Francois spoke about a time when the squad sexually assaulted him during a "prank video." In the June 2017 clip called "HE THOUGHT HE WAS KISSING HER!! (SUPER CRINGEY)," Dobrik tells Francois model Corinna Kopf will kiss him while wearing a disguise but instead is kissed by 45-year-old squad member Jason Nash. Francois said that we were "traumatized" by the incident and called a sexual assault hotline. He claims that when he shared what he felt with Dobrik and Nash, they offered him money to keep the video up. The video was viewed almost 10 million times.
In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Francois also said that as the only Black member of the Vlog Squad, he was often the centre of culturally insensitive bits, which enabled fans to comfortably and openly make racist jokes about him. "I'm tired of being in this social media space, being one of the few Black people working in front of the scenes and also behind the scenes," he said. "It's all the times I would have to do something degrading to myself or my race in order to be in the room."
"With the Seth situation, I'm sorry to Seth because, like I said, I just want to make videos where everybody in it whether you're participating or watching is enjoying and having a good time," Dobrik said in his apology video. "I missed the mark with that one and I'm really sorry — I truly, truly am."
Dobrik didn't go into any more detail about the misconduct than that, but implied that he's "distanced himself" from Nash, Dom, and others. "With people in my life that I don't film with anymore, ... I chose to distance myself because I don't align with some of the actions and I don't stand for any kind of misconduct," he said. "I've been really disappointed by some of my friends and for that reason I've separated from a lot of them."
"I think with any video I make my main purpose is to make people happy and inspire people and I just never want anything to get in the way of that," Dobrik continued. "I'm sorry if I've let you down and things like that won't happen again and I learn from my mistakes and I also believe that actions speak a lot louder than words. You can take my word for it that I'm going to change but I'll also show you and I'll prove to you that the mistakes I made before won't be happening again."
Refinery29 reached out to Dobrik for comment but did not hear back by time of publishing.
If you have experienced sexual violence of any kind, please visit Rape Crisis or call 0808 802 9999.