On Tuesday March 16, YouTuber David Dobrik posted an apology to his podcast channel, Views, where he addressed rape and sexual-assault allegations against former and current members of his Vlog Squad crew.
David Dobrik, who is a celebrity and YouTuber with over 18 million subscribers, is widely known for his four minute and 20 second vlogs, buying his friends cars, and rarely addressing controversies. He titled his apology video, which is two minutes and 30 seconds long, “Let’s talk,” and turned off the comments and the likes-to-dislikes ratio. In the video, he said he wanted to address “some conversations that have been going on” online.
In February this year, a former vlog squad member, Seth Francois, spoke out and said that he had been tricked into kissing David’s right-hand man, Jason Nash, in a video he uploaded in 2017. Francois said the act was non-consensual and was a sexual assault. Back then, he was under the illusion that he would be kissing influencer Corinna Kopf, who would be wearing a mask, rather than Jason Nash, a 45-year-old man. In David’s apology video, he said, “Consent is something that’s super super important to me.” He continued, “Whether I am shooting with a friend, or I am shooting with a stranger, I make sure whatever video I am putting out I have the approval from that person.” However, David Dobrik did not address the details of either set of allegations, one involving Seth Francois and the other involving a rape allegation against Dom Zeglatis (also known as DurteDom), who, along with David, apparently brought underaged girls alcohol to “loosen them up” in another past video. According to Dobrik, he has since distanced himself from Zeglatis. “I have been really disappointed with some of my friends, and for that reason, I have separated from a lot of them,” he said, mentioning Dom Zeglatis specifically.
Another reason why Seth Francois wanted to tell his story was to encourage others to come forward if they had experienced anything non-consensual with members of the Vlog Squad, as he claimed that friend group as “toxic”, or other famous influencers, because no one really knows what happens behind the scenes. The YouTube world is largely unregulated and full of young people who have grown up into immense fame with little reason for introspection, primarily incentivized by money and clout. Francois said that he never intended to “cancel” anyone. All he ever wanted was for the videos to be taken down. But he did feel like the Vlog Squad profited off of his trauma and has effectively gotten away with it.
All of the videos surrounded by drama and allegations have since been set to private and are no longer available to watch. In an interview, Francois said that, “I’m not asking for a new Tesla, I’m asking you to do something that literally costs you absolutely nothing but a little bit of time.”
After rape and sexual assault allegations surrounding the Vlog Squad over the past week, many companies that used to sponsor David Dobrik, such as SeatGeek, who enabled him to gift friends and family brand-new cars, are now reviewing its partnership with him. People are now encouraging former vlog squad members who are no longer seen in David’s close friend group to speak up as they might know insights about potentially more scandals that the public has yet to uncover.