David Dobrik, 24, is one of the most popular YouTube users in Hollywood. He made a name for himself on Vine, the short-form video app that made a generation of online stars. He then turned to YouTube, where he and a group of friends known as the Vlog Squads began sharing fast-paced comedy, often involving stunts.
Since 2014, he has amassed more than 18 million subscribers on his main YouTube channel.
But a Kat Tenbarge investigation at Insider published this week, detailing allegations of sexual assault against a former Vlog Squad member, left many angry viewers reassessing Mr. Dobrik’s work and their fandom. Now it is challenging the success of his burgeoning empire.
On Friday, a HelloFresh spokesperson, one of his sponsors, said: “We can confirm that we are no longer working with David Dobrik or any member of the Vlog Squad and Not having any plans to work with them again in the future. “
“We have made a decision to terminate the relationship and cancel all planned activities,” a Dollar Shave Club representative said. An EA Sports spokesperson, which used to give Mr. Dobrik a Lamborghini, said the company “can confirm that we are not working with him now nor have any plans in the future”. .
On Thursday, SeatGeek, the ticketing company that is one of Dobrik’s biggest advertisers, told Insider it was “considering” the company’s partnership.
In 2018, Mr. Dobrik posted a video on his YouTube channel called “SHOULD NOT PLAY WITH FIRE !!” The film shows young women hanging out with Mr. Dobrik and members of the Vlog Squad as the men make jokes about having sex with them. Then one of the men, Dom Zeglaitis, recounted having sex with one of them.
That woman told Insider she couldn’t drink alcohol during the evening and described the experience as being like a rape. Her account has been authenticated by at least one other woman present.
The woman confirmed her story with The New York Times and provided photos, text messages and videos from the evening to verify her account.
“We’re going to jail,” Mr. Dobrik said at the end of the video.
The woman contacted Mr. Zeglaitis to request removal of the video; it has received over five million views.
The accuser did not contact police, and no charges were filed.
Mr. Dobrik declined through a representative to comment. He released a video mentioning the story on Tuesday.
“I want to get here quickly and settle some of the internet chats going on,” Mr. Dobrik said in a video titled “Let’s talk.” It is posted to a sub-channel that has about a tenth of his main channel’s followers.
Mr. Dobrik said in the video that “consent is something sublime, extremely important to me.” He added that he seeks approval from all who appear in his video and will take it down if the featured videos no longer want to be included.
“There are also moments when I watch videos again and I realize that these videos no longer represent me and they hurt others and I don’t want to watch them again because I have matured as a bright person create content and as a person, ”he said. “And I disagree with some of the videos I have posted.”
“I apologize if I have let you down,” he said.
Last month, a former Vlog Squad member named Joseth “Seth” Francois said he was sexually assaulted in one of Mr. Dobrik’s videos. In it, he was tricked into kissing Jason Nash, another YouTuber; Mr. Francois believes he is kissing a woman.
“The purpose of the video is to sexually assault me. That is the whole premise, ”Francois told BuzzFeed.
Mr. Dobrik addressed the incident in his apology. “In Seth’s situation, I apologize to Seth, because as I said, I just want to make a video that everyone in it, whether you are participating or watching, enjoys and has a good time, “Said Mr. Dobrik. “And I missed the mark with that match. And I’m really sorry. I really, really is. “
Dobrik’s career as an entertainer made him rich to buy a $ 9.5 million home in Los Angeles – complete with a Hawaiian Punch fountain.
Earlier last year, Mr. Dobrik was named The Wall Street Journal “Jimmy Fallon of Gen Z”. Last April, he stepped back from his usual vlogging job, which became a challenge during the pandemic, and turned to other projects, including the launch of a photo-sharing app. the name is Dispo.
That app’s rating dropped below two stars in Apple’s app store this week. Apple halted the ability to leave reviews briefly, as people flocked to the space to curse Mr. Dobrik in the form of ratings and reviews.
Mr. Dobrik lost more than 100,000 subscribers on his main YouTube channel last week.
In Mr. Dobrik’s apology video, he also stated that he “chose to distance himself” from some of the people who had previously appeared in his content. “I am not in favor of any kind of misconduct,” he said, “and I am really disappointed with some of my friends, and for that reason I have separated from so many of them. “