Recently, the Youtube gang known as the “Vlog Squad,” has been in some serious hot water regarding accusations of sexual assault, and much more. At the forefront of this fire is the self-proclaimed vlogger himself, David Dobrik.
(Before I explain I would like to put this note as a trigger warning regarding the sexual assault and racism being discussed in this story)
David Dobrik is most well known for his 18.9 million subscribers on Youtube, and for his rise to popularity on Vine. David has been a superstar in the social media community, flaunting sponsorships with Seat Geek, Chipotle, and many more. However, being a creator who has been filming so long, controversies are bound to happen, and this one may just be the nail in David’s coffin.
Let me take you way back. The first well-known creator to publicly speak out against Dobrik and his gang was Trisha Paytas, she claimed the environment was really toxic and aided in her ending up being 5-1-5-0 at a mental hospital. One of the triggers for her speaking up included jokes that Dobrik would make in his vlogs trying to get her and her then-boyfriend Jason Nash (who was 45 at the time) to have a threesome with a popular creator Tana Mongeau (who was 19 at the time). Most sensible people could see why this might’ve been an issue for Paytas. She also spoke out against member Brandon Calvillo for dating a minor while she knew him. Unfortunately, Paytas does not have the best credibility sometimes (not to mention she drove her car into Nash’s house after their break-up) and her statements were overlooked.
This brings us to February of this year. Paytas currently hosts a podcast called “Frenemies” with Ethan Klien who founded the youtube channel H3H3. For a few episodes, Trisha would rant every now and then about David and the people he associates with, with not much coming of it. Ethan believes what she has to say, however, and this marks the start of things beginning to crumble for the Dobrik empire.
Because of the status Trisha and Ethan hold, it prompted an ex-Vlog Squad member known as “Big Nik” to appear as a guest on Klien’s other podcast “H3 After Dark.” Nik talked about how most of the jokes he was in during David’s vlogs surrounded him being a dwarf, and in essence, labeling the squad as abelists. What was really sad, however, was that Big Nik had more followers on Vine than David and looked at David as a genuine friend. Of course, when David blew up though, he saw Nik as some sort of running gag that he could use for more views. Nik also mentioned how they would use other people the way that they did him, labeling a member named Jonah as the fat “character.”
A few days later another ex- Vlog Squad member, Seth Francois, is inspired to call in and tell his own story. Seth’s story was very serious. Essentially, one stunt that David pulled including Seth was about making Seth believe that he was going to make out with fellow member Corrina Kopf, when really he would open his eyes to him making out with Jason Nash in a creepy old man costume. It was recorded in a context that made it seem like a funny prank, when really Seth gave no consent to making out with Nash, and therefore it can be considered sexual assault. To make matters worse, Dobrik asked Seth later on if he could try to pull this prank again, and without Seth explicitly saying yes, he conducted a scheme to “get” Seth in again. In this instance, he orchestrated for Seth to get an email from Jack Links Beef Jerky asking him to star in a commercial. Thinking that this would be a good chance to make some revenue, Seth agreed. Once on set they shot a scene with Seth making out with some people in gorilla costumes. Seeing as Seth is a black man and this was a ploy, people wonder if the gorilla scene has racist undertones. Unbeknownst to him, one of the gorillas pops its head off, and underneath it is Jason Nash once again. At the end of this Seth ended up being harassed, making no real money, and feeling shame as homosexuality is taboo where he comes from (which David actually admitted and laughed about on video.
As if this didn’t put David in a bad spotlight already, Business Insider reporter Kat Tenbarge was putting together a story about member Dom Zeglaitis, also known as “Durte Dom.” The story surrounded one night where Dom was being accused of raping a girl only known as Hannah, and assaulting her friends. That night was captured in a vlog and the five girls who got in touch with Dom about a fivesome inquiry he put out on Instagram are seen in David’s apartment with the squad, acting like fan girls who honestly just wanted to be in the vlog and meet these people that they looked up to. According to Paytas, there was also alcohol at the scene that one of the members bought for these what seemed to be underage girls to help “loosen them up” for the vlog. Many victims also personally told their stories privately to Paytas.
In a terrible move, member Scotty Sire decided to take one for his friends and come out with a video explaining that his fellow members would never do such things, even though he really wasn’t involved in the drama to begin with. There was much lash back, and even more weirdly, his friend Jeff Wittek came out and tried to clear any air surrounding his name too, which also wasn’t being used. Jeff actually appeared on Frenemies and it was found that he didn’t read the article, nor did he acknowledge that he was in a picture with the squad taken later that night after the event where a girl is shown to be extremely intoxicated and being held up by her friend. All of this being said, before coming on the podcast and realizing these things, he actually sent his fans after Tenbarge, the author of the article. He picked up a lot of heat for this.
Then David issued a lame apology on his second Youtube channel where he really acknowledged none of the issues, only to take that down and re-issue another apology taking some sort of credibility and mentioning some names of people he has hurt. SNL actually did a very funny skit about what a horrible apology string this was. I’ll link it here: https://www.vulture.com/2021/04/watch-kyle-mooney-stars-in-youtuber-parody-snl-skit.html
David has now lost a ton of sponsorships and may actually be in some legal trouble. With him being someone who many young people have idolized, it’s all incredibly hard to watch, but I’m grateful it’s being talked about.