Former Vine star-turned-YouTube’s golden boy David Dobrik and his uber-famous ‘Vlog Squad’ have been the subject of a number of serious allegations in recent weeks, resulting in once-beloved sponsors dropping them like flies.
Dobrik boasts over 18 million followers on YouTube alone, and had partnerships with major brands like Dollar Shave Club, Doordash and SeatGeek – aka the company that lets him give all of his friends free cars. Oh, and he recently launched his own social media platform – Dispo.
To put it simply, Dobrik is (or, at least, was) the definition of viral fame and success.
However, all of that changed a few weeks ago when the first of a series of serious allegations came to light.
David Dobrik uploads “HE THOUGHT HE WAS KISSING HER!! (SUPER CRINGEY)” vlog to his YouTube channel.
In the video, Dobrik tricks former Vlog Squad member Seth Francois into kissing then 47-year-old comedian Jason Nash. At the time, Francois thought he was kissing Instagram model Corinna Kopf and it wasn’t until after the act was filmed that Francois realised who he really kissed.
The video has since been deleted.
David Dobrik uploads “SHE SHOULD NOT HAVE PLAYED WITH FIRE!!” vlog, in which former Vlog Squad member Dom Zeglaitis (aka Durte Dom) jokes abut having a fivesome with a group of girls.
The girls are the subject of a number of sexual jokes in the video.
This video has also since been deleted.
Now we have to fast-forward almost two years to June 2020, when the picture-perfect world of David Dobrik first starts unravelling.
Francois uploads a video entitled “Accountability” to all Content Creators, in which he outlines all of the racist microaggressions and situations he was subjected to while in the Vlog Squad. The video showcases a number of clips from David’s vlogs that very clearly illustrate racism.
David uploads his weekly episode of his Views podcast, in which he takes the first two minutes of the episode to apologise for his past behaviour. This is the first time Dobrik issued an apology.
However, he receives backlash for glossing over the situation and giving a general apology, rather than directly addressing Francois’ allegations or the racism shown in past clips.
Vlog Squad member Erin Gilfoy accuses Francois of posting revenge porn of her in a clip that she allegedly used a racial slur. The pair interact on Twitter and Erin releases a video apologising for using racial slurs while calling out Seth for alleged revenge porn.
"in social media you really have to focus on growing your own platform…and getting exposure can turn into revenue" ohhhhh ok so you re-posted revenge porn of me to get exposure and make money got it cool cool
— erin gilfoy (@eringilfoy) July 13, 2020
A TikTok user named Karim uploads a five-part video series on the platform detailing his “application” to design David Dobrik’s new social media app (later revealed as Dispo).
During the video series, Karim suggested the name ‘Dispo’, which is obviously the name that Dobrik ended up using.
The video goes viral and David Dobrik even comments on it saying that he loves the name and he’ll be in touch to talk about a working relationship with Karim. However, Karim confirms that Dobrik decided *not* to hire him for the project, despite naming his app Dispo months later.
Back in February of this year is when everything *really* started to unravel for Dobrik and the Vlog Squad. It all kicks off when Nik Keswani (Big Nik) appears on the H3H3 podcast on February 5 to discuss his experience in the Vlog Squad.
Throughout the interview, Keswani alleges that the Vlog Squad was damaging to his mental health.
Keswani, who suffers from a rare form of dwarfism and is blind in one eye, was regularly mocked for his height and appearance by other members of the group.
“I felt worthless being in those videos. I was like, ‘Dude, why am I even like here? What’s the point in my existence?’ Because I was just treated like this punching bag,” he said.
Just days after Keswani’s interview on the H3H3 podcast, Francois makes a guest appearance on February 12, in which he talks about the 2017 kissing “prank”.
“I was touched by someone I did not consent to,” he says, referring to Jason Nash.
Trisha Paytas – who dated Jason Nash – takes to her Frenemies podcast (co-hosted by Ethan Klein of H3H3) on February 16 to share her own allegations against Dobrik.
Throughout the podcast, she claims David hid in a room while she had sex with Nash and filmed her naked without her consent.
“There was no consent given. Because I was dating Jason, because I was a participant in the vlogs — that’s my consent?” she said.
Trisha also claims she asked David not to post the vlog entitled “I SNUCK INTO THEIR HOTEL ROOM (SURPRISE)”, which is still live to this day and boasts over 14 million views.
Following Seth’s appearance on the H3H3 podcast, Klein publicly accuses Dobrik of trying to cover up assault by deleting problematic material from his podcasts and vlogs. Klein takes to Twitter to share a clip from David’s Views podcast that has since been deleted from Dobrik’s own social media, in which he and Jason Nash laugh about the kissing prank.
“David’s MCN is trying to remove this clip from the internet. This is straight-up sexual assault and he did it to him twice. Absolutely infuriating to hear him talk about it so joyously knowing the trauma it caused Seth,” Klein writes on Twitter.
David’s MCN is trying to remove this clip from the internet. This is straight up sexual assault and he did it to him twice. Absolutely infuriating to hear him talk about it so joyously knowing the trauma it caused Seth. pic.twitter.com/bXdpYvJFlp
— Ethan Klein (@h3h3productions) February 27, 2021
Dobrik launches his disposable camera-inspired social media app under the name Dispo on March 1.
It’s entirely legal for him to use this name, but following the viral success of Karim’s TikTok series, many fans are upset that Dobrik didn’t pay him or hire him to work on the app.
In addition to this backlash, the reviews section of the App Store gets flooded with negative reviews calling for Dobrik to take accountability for the accusations made by Keswani and Francois.
At this point, David doesn’t publicly speak about the allegations.
Just days later on March 4, Vlog Squad member and close friend of Dobrik Scotty Sire uploads a YouTube video in an attempt to defend him.
The video is uploaded after days of radio silence from Dobrik, but interestingly, it includes a number of screenshots and recordings of messages between Dobrik and Francois – presumably given to Sire by Dobrik.
Throughout the video, Sire shows “evidence” of Seth giving consent to the prank. However, he seemingly ignores the fact that consent can be withdrawn at any time.
The video cops immediate backlash.
On the same day (March 4), Trisha Paytas tells Vulture that she has “more PTSD from David and Jason than I do hooking on Santa Monica Boulevard.”
Throughout the lengthy profile, she blames Dobrik for her breakup with Nash and her subsequent mental health issues.
“Jason was like, ‘I gotta break up with you because of David,’ Paytas says. “That’s when I spiralled.”
On March 8 – four days after posting a video in defence of Dobrik – Scotty Sire deletes his video and posts an apology on Twitter.
The apology – which apologised to anyone who felt disrespected – copped a tonne of backlash because Sire neglected to acknowledge Seth’s trauma, or acknowledge how his video invalidated Seth’s story.
— scottysire (@ImNotScottySire) March 9, 2021
March 16 2021
Business Insider journalist Kat Tenbarge publishes an article entitled “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” on March 16.
Throughout the article, a young woman who appeared in the ‘SHE SHOULD NOT HAVE PLAYED WITH FIRE!!” vlog claims she was raped by Dom Zeglaitis.
“He was, like, ‘No, you at least have to give me a kiss,” the alleged victim said.
“I was getting really scared because he wasn’t letting me leave, my friends were in a totally different part of the house. I was, like, ‘What happens if I keep saying no?’ So I just gave him a kiss.”
This article is the catalyst for everything that has happened since, so it’s well worth taking the time to actually read the full thing to get a proper understanding of the seriousness of the allegations.
Speaking to Insider, Trisha Paytas alleges that Vlog Squad member Jeff Wittek bought alcohol for the girls (who were underage at the time). However, in a phone call with Insider, Wittek denies this.
March 16 2021
On the same day that the Insider article came out, Dobrik releases a video entitled ‘Let’s Talk’ to his podcast YouTube channel. It’s worth noting that this is the least-followed of his three accounts on the platform.
Throughout the two-and-a-half-minute video, Dobrik finally apologises directly to Seth.
“I just want to make videos where everybody in it, whether you are participating or watching, is enjoying having a good time,” Dobriks says. “I missed the mark with that one.”
He doesn’t respond to the allegations made by Keswani or Paytas, but indirectly addresses the allegations against Zeglaitas, claiming that he distances himself from people whose actions don’t align with his values.
The video receives almost immediate backlash for being titled ‘Let’s Talk’ while having the comments disabled.
March 17 2021
By March 17, just one day after the Insider article went live, Dobrik had lost 100,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel, according to SocialBlade.
March 18 2021
On March 18, David’s most famous sponsor (aka the company that pays for all the cars he gives away) SeatGeek publicly announce that they’re reviewing their partnership with the controversial YouTuber.
“At this time we’re closely monitoring the situation and reviewing internally how we want to proceed,” a SeatGeek spokesperson tells Business Insider.
March 19 2021
Dollar Shave Club, a popular sponsor for YouTube content creators, ends its partnership with Dobrik both on YouTube and with his Views podcast on March 19.
“The actions and comments made by David Dobrik as well as some members of his team are very serious and do not align with DSC values. Sexual assault and hateful language of any kind is unacceptable in any environment. We’ve made the decision to end our relationship and cancel all planned activity,” the company said in a statement to Business Insider.
March 19 2021
On the same day, EA Sports – who once gave David a literal Lamborghini – confirm that they aren’t and don’t plan on working with Dobrik in future.
“We haven’t worked with David since April 2020 and can confirm we are not currently working with him nor do we have any plans to in the future. We expect any influencer or celebrity talent we work with to conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with EA’s values and policies,” a statement from EA says.
March 21 2021
Jeff Wittek, who was accused of buying alcohol for the alleged rape victims in the Insider article, took to YouTube to share a video entitled ‘My Truth’ on March 21. In the video, Jeff calls David’s videos a “chaotic, shittier version of SNL.”
Throughout the video, he denies the allegations against him and shares audio of the call he had with reporter Kat Tenbarge in an attempt to clear his name.
The video is still live on his channel at the time of publishing.
March 21 2021
Following Jeff’s video on March 21, Trisha and Ethan Klein organise an emergency livestream for their Frenemies podcast, in which Jeff Wittek announces that he never actually read the Insider article because he (and I quote) “didn’t wanna pay for the paywall on it.”
After the livestream, Tenbarge takes to Twitter to assert that she’s received “more than one detailed death threat,” after Wittek shared their phone call.
“Jeff spends his video trying to undermine my credibility by making false statements and playing out-of-context clips from our conversations,” Tenbarge tweeted. “I stand by my reporting and so does Insider.”
I didn’t expect to wake up to a call from my editor telling me a YouTuber with 2.8M subscribers uploaded a secretly recorded phone call with me.
I really didn’t expect that YouTuber to then reveal on a livestream that he didn’t read the article he made a 20-min video about.
— Kat Tenbarge (@kattenbarge) March 22, 2021
March 22 2021
A day later on March 22, Tenbarge takes to Twitter to share her own recordings from the call with Wittek.
A few notes from me addressing Jeff Wittek’s video: Here is our initial conversation about who bought the whiskey. Jeff chose to leave out the fact that Sarah, one of the women there, remembered him and Todd coming back with the whiskey. pic.twitter.com/irVOIPysxR
— Kat Tenbarge (@kattenbarge) March 21, 2021
March 22 2021
Aaaand now we’re back to the David Dobrik chapter of this story, with the Vlog Squad founder announcing on March 22 that he would step down from the board of Dispo in an attempt to “not distract from the company’s growth,” according to a statement provided to The Information.
The move comes just hours after venture-capital firm Spark Capital announced they’d “sever all ties” with the company.
March 23 2021
Just a day after Dobrik stepped down from Dispo, his former assistant Natalie Mariduena – who now works for Dispo – releases a statement standing by the victims.
Natalie Mariduena has posted a short statement about the rape accusations against Dom Zeglaitis on Twitter and Instagram. This is in reference to the ongoing David Dobrik/Vlog Squad scandal. pic.twitter.com/XdoQ7tvZc9
— Kat Tenbarge (@kattenbarge) March 23, 2021
Vlog Squad members Carly Incontro and Erin Gilfoy also release a video doing the same.