Written By: Samantha Stemmer
During March 2021, YouTube sensation, David Dobrik, faced a whirlwind of controversies and, as many would say, the young star was “cancelled.” Dobrik, 24-years-old, originally from Slovakia, moved to Illinois when he was 6 years old. Dobrik started his YouTube channel in 2015 and found success filming short four-minute-20-second vlog style videos that garnered 18.5 million subscribers on his main channel “The Vlog Squad,” Dobrik’s friend group. The star had gone on to partner with Chipotle, SeatGeek, Doordash, and many other brands, released his own perfume line, recorded podcast “VIEWS,” and was working towards creating a social media platform, “Dispo.”
Dobrik was at the peak of his career when he purchased a $9.5 million house but success was put on hold in March 2021. Allegations of sexual assault and misconduct, bullying and rape surfaced against Dobrik and “The Vlog Squad.” The allegations began when David Dobrik was regarded as the enabler in sexual misconduct and bullying against former vlog squad member, Seth Francois. Francois thought he would be making out with a woman, but was tricked into kissing Jason Nash, the 47-year-old comedian attached to the group, without Francois’ consent. The allegations then hit a high point when journalist Kat Tenbarge wrote an Insider article that told the following story “A woman featured on YouTube star David Dobrik’s channel says she was raped by a Vlog Squad member in 2018 the night they filmed a video about group sex.”
Following the rape allegations against Dominykas Zeglaitis, also known as “Durte Dom,” by “The Vlog Squad,” Dobrik released a two-minute-and-31-second apology video on his podcast YouTube channel “VIEWS” titled “Let’s Talk.” The star disabled all comments on the video and many regarded the “apology” in the video to be insincere and did not fare well. According to Social Blade, a website used to track social media statistics, Dobrik lost 100,000 subscribers, and many brands including, SeatGeek, Chipotle, Doordash, HelloFresh, EA, Dollar Shave Club, General Mills, Bumble, HBO Max, and others announced that they no longer intend to work with the young YouTuber. On March 23, a second apology video titled “3/22/21” that was seven-minutes-and-17-seconds was posted on his primary YouTube channel with the comments enabled. The video features Dobrik emotionally saying “I am so sorry,” that he “fully believes the woman who came out against Dom,” and he will be stepping away from YouTube and social media until he can better regulate his brand and company.
Moving forward, Dobrik’s career has been put on pause as YouTube announced that they will temporarily be demonetizing Dobrik, and his biggest partners cut ties with him. Dobrik stepped down from the board of “Dispo,” an app and social media platform that he co-founded, that was backed by venture capital firm Spark Capital, who also decided to not move forward with the project. My question now remains, what happens next? Dobrik has had six years of success on social media and was deemed “Gen Z’s Jimmy Fallon” by The Wall Street Journal, will the internet move on and forgive the young sensation, or will he actually be held accountable?