David Dobrik is trying to save face…again.
The YouTuber and leader of the Vlog Squad sat down for a second time to address allegations against the collective in a video posted to his main channel today.
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.
On March 16th, 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 addressed the allegations last week in a 2 minute and 30-second video titled “Let’s talk” posted to his podcast channel, VIEWS. David received criticism for the video, with many calling it a “non-apology” and noting that refused to take accountability for the part he played in these allegations. VIEWS sits at 1.67 million subscribers, while David’s main channel— where the problematic content was posted— sits at nearly 19 million subscribers.
Despite David’s attempt to deflect blame and emerge from this scandal unscathed, the fall-out over the past week has been intense.
Brands like EA Games, Hello Fresh, Dollar Shave Club, DoorDash, General Mills, Honey, Audible, and his most consistent partner SeatGeek, have all cut ties with David and the Vlog Squad. David’s own company, a startup app called Dispo, has also been affected. 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.
Hours later, Dispo announced that David himself would be stepping down from the board as well as exiting 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.”
Now, the star is addressing the recent allegations once again. But this time, on his main channel.
In a 7 minute and 16-second video, David starts by saying he’s spent this past week surrounded by a lot of people giving him advice, and for once he is finally alone.
“I’ve put myself in a lot of situations where I’ve needed to apologise for my past actions and I’ve never done this correctly, and I’ve never done this respectfully, and my last video is a testament to that,” he says before promising to keep his original apology video up despite the backlash.
The influencer says he “fully believes” the woman who came out against Dom and although he originally got consent to post it, he should have never posted it.
David references Hannah’s consent via text message, saying, “What I understand now and I didn’t understand before is that she sent that text before she felt like she had to, not because she wanted to and that’s fucked up and I’m sorry.”
“I want to apologise to her and her friends for putting them in an environment that I enabled that made them feel like their safety and values were compromised,” he says.
David then claims he was “completely disconnected” from the fact that he created an unfair power dynamic between the Vlog Squad and fans when they filmed together.
“I should have been making sure that everybody involved was— was taken care of and was comfortable.”
David goes on to acknowledge the women who spoke out against Dom in 2018 both privately and publicly, saying, “I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you guys and I’m sorry I took Dom’s word for what happened in those certain situations and I didn’t believe you.”
He says he couldn’t wrap his head around a childhood friend hurting people in that way. “Not only did I discredit you Ally, but I platformed Dom,” he says addressing Ally Hardesty. “And not only did I platform Dom, but I platformed of sexual assault in a negative way and I made jokes about it and I reinforced that kind of behaviour and I’m so sorry.”
David admits that while he stopped filming with Dom in 2019 based on his behaviour, he did not apologise to any of the women Dom hurt.
The 24-year-old pivots to his problematic content, which has included “jokes” about racism, ableism, sexism, and sexual assault. “It was cowardly of me to say in my last apology that ‘I missed the mark’ because it’s fucking gross.” In David’s first apology video, he said he “missed the mark” with the kissing prank pulled on Seth.
He continues with his thoughts on cancel culture, claiming that he believes in taking accountability.
David says he will be taking a break from social media as “there is a serious lack of infrastructure” when he makes content. “I want to have a place of checks and balances, I want to have HR, I want to be able to have people communicate discomfort,” he explains before saying he will not “go dark” because “it is important to show that change is possible and that I’m learning.”
He ends by asking creators to listen to feedback and reflect on what their audience and collaborators are telling them. “Take a moment and look at where the jokes end and where the feelings begin,” he finishes.