Updated: March 22nd, 2021
Off the back of a tumultuous few weeks for David Dobrik, it seems backlash surrounding the star’s lack of accountability is beginning to affect his new business venture.
ICYMI, fans across the internet are calling to “cancel” David and the Vlog Squad after several former members have shared traumatic recounts of their time in the YouTube collective. Most notably, Nik “Big Nik” Keswani compared the Vlog Squad to a cult and claimed David fosters a “toxic environment” for creators. Shortly after, Seth Francois accused the three-time Kids’ Choice Awards winner of sexual assault after David allegedly forced him to kiss 47-year-old Jason Nash against his will.
Nik and Seth’s stories have put a magnifying glass on David’s content, resulting in a domino effect of fans uncovering problematic bits, pranks, and jokes throughout the creator’s vlogs over the years which include racism, ableism, misogyny, sexual assault, and bullying.
Last week, the backlash came to a head when an investigation by journalist Kat Tenbarge for Insider found accusations of rape against former Vlog Squad member Durte Dom, real name Dominykas Zeglaitis, while David and friends allegedly enabled the assault.
David, who’s slated to be a featured speaker on the NoHateTour to educate teens on bullying prevention, addressed the accusations in a 2-minute “apology” video in which he deflects blame onto his friends.
After weeks of criticism on social media, fans took to the app store to demand accountability from the star, flooding reviews for his new photo-sharing app with negative comments and poor ratings.
“The creator is choosing to ignore allegations made on him and that is just not something I’m okay with and have decided to delete this app,” one user wrote under their 1-star rating.
Others accused David of stealing the app design and name for Dispo after a fan pitched him the concepts via TikTok. Six days later, David filed the trademark for Dispo and the fan was allegedly told they went in a different direction.
In response to the influx of negativity, it appears that David and his team culled hundreds of reviews criticising both the creator and the app. The app currently sits at a 2.2-star rating out of 5.
On March 21st, Spark Capital, the lead investor in Dispo’s Series A funding round, revealed they plan to “sever all ties” with the app and David.
“In light of recent news about the Vlog Squad and David Dobrik, the cofounder of Dispo, we have made the decision to sever all ties with the company,” the firm tweeted. “We have stepped down from our position on the board and we are in the process of making arrangements to ensure we do not profit from our recent investment in Dispo.”
Hours later, Dispo announced that David himself would be stepping down from the board as well as existing the company. In a statement to TechCrunch, a Dispo spokesperson said: “David has chosen to step down from the board and leave the company to not distract from the company’s growth. Dispo’s team, product, and most importantly- our community- stand for building a diverse, inclusive, and empowering world.”
While this may not be David’s first internet controversy, it’s seemingly the first to affect his business outside of social media. Dispo, an app which functions like a disposable camera, raised $4 million in 2020 via Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s venture firm Seven Seven Six. Just last month, Dispo raised another $20 million in Series A funding led by Spark Capital, valuing the app at $200 million.
We wonder if the fall-out will put some pressure on the influencer to deliver a sincere apology.