In a second apology video on Tuesday, YouTuber David Dobrik addressed the sexual assault allegations against his content creation group the Vlog Squad. The accusations have led several brands, including DoorDash, Dollar Shave Club and Bumble to cut ties with him. Dobrik said he’ll “take a short break” from social media because “I want to be able to have a place of checks and balances, I wanna have HR and I wanna be able to have people communicate discomfort in a way that’s comfortable to them.”
On Sunday, The Information reported Dobrik had also stepped down from the board of Dispo, the photo app he co-founded in 2019, “to not distract from the company’s growth,” according to a company statement.
Here’s everything to know about Dobrik, the allegations, the backlash and Dobrik’s response.
Who is David Dobrik and what’s the Vlog Squad?
Dobrik is a 24-year-old YouTuber, comedian and podcaster who initially found success on the now-defunct short-form video platform Vine. In 2015, he uploaded his first vlog to YouTube, and his channel now has over 18 million subscribers. His vlogs, which include pranks and celebrity appearances by people like Justin Bieber and Charlie Puth, regularly feature a group of rotating friends known as the Vlog Squad.
What are the allegations?
According to a Business Insider report last week, an anonymous woman said she’d been raped during the filming of a Vlog Squad video in 2018. She reportedly said Dobrik filmed her entering a bedroom with former Vlog Squad member Dom Zeglaitis, where she was involved in group sex but was too drunk to give consent.
The clip reportedly appeared in a video on Dobrik’s YouTube channel days later, but was removed after the woman asked for it to be taken down.
In a separate incident reported by BuzzFeed News in February, former Vlog Squad member Joseth “Seth” Francois said he’d been sexually assaulted during the filming of a prank video in 2017. In the video, Dobrik tricks Francois into thinking he’s making out with Vlog Squad member Corinna, who was supposedly in disguise. But he was actually making out with another Vlog Squad member in disguise, Jason Nash.
How has Dobrik responded to the allegations?
In a YouTube video published March 16 called “Let’s talk,” Dobrik said, “Consent is something that’s super, super important to me. Whether I’m shooting with a friend or shooting with a stranger, I always make sure that whatever the video I’m putting out, I have the approval from that person.
“I also acknowledge that there’s times where a person can change their mind, and they decide that they no longer want to be associated, they no longer want to be in the video that I’m putting up,” Dobrik continued. “Then I’ll take the video down.”
He then directly addressed Seth, saying, “I missed the mark with that one, and I’m really sorry.”
In the second, longer apology video published Tuesday, Dobrik said, “I fully believe the woman who came out against Dom … Even though I got the consent to post that video, I should have never posted it.”
Zeglaitis didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Dobrik noted he decided to stop filming with Zeglaitis in 2019.
Dobrik said that at the time, he didn’t understand that the woman sent a text giving consent to post the video “because she felt like she had to, not because she wanted to. And that’s fucked up, and I’m sorry.” He added that when the woman reached out a couple months later asking him to take the video down, he immediately did.
Toward the end, Dobrik said he’d be taking a break from social media, saying, “I realize there’s a serious lack of infrastructure when I make any kind of content,” and that he wants to ensure people “don’t feel like their emotions or what they’re doing or how they’re acting is compromised.”
How have companies reacted?
The allegations have driven several companies to cut ties with Dobrik, including Hello Fresh, EA Sports and HBO Max. Dobrik had appeared in campaigns for a range of companies to promote their products and services.
Venture capital firm Spark Capital, an investor in Dispo, also said it was distancing itself from that company.
“We have stepped down from our position on the board and we are in the process of making arrangements to ensure we do not profit from our recent investment in Dispo,” the firm said in a tweet Sunday.
Seven Seven Six, another firm that’s invested in Dispo, said in a tweet Monday that the allegations “are extremely troubling and are directly at odds with Seven Seven Six’s core values.” The firm said it would “donate any profits from our investment in Dispo to an organization working with survivors of sexual assault.”
Another early investor, Unshackled Ventures, also said it would donate profits to organizations helping sexual assault survivors, The New York Times reported.
“We are in support of the companies [sic] decision to part ways with David and will continue to monitor the situation closely,” the firm tweeted Monday.