Jeff Wittek has taken a page out of Tati Westbrook‘s book with a “speaking my truth” video in an attempt to clear his name after himself and several Vlog Squad members were implicated in sexual assault allegations.
Allegations against the Vlog Squad
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 Dobrik and friends allegedly enabled the assault.
A woman, who goes by the pseudonym of Hannah in the Insider article, shared her experience with the YouTube collective. Back in November 2018, Hannah says she and some college friends were chatting with Dom on Instagram DM when he invited them to a party. The article implies Vlog Squad members Todd Smith and Jeff Wittek bought alcohol for the group of underage girls. Hannah told Tenbarge for Insider that Dom had sex with her while she was too incapacitated by alcohol to consent. David filmed Dom and Hannah’s interactions before and after Dom allegedly raped Hannah and included it in his published vlog.
Tenbarge also spoke with Jeff, who denied buying alcohol for the girls.
“[Trisha] Paytas told Insider that Vlog Squad member Jeff Wittek went to go buy liquor for the party after she told [Jason] Nash, her boyfriend at the time, not to go. Paytas said she and Nash left before Wittek got back,” Tenbarge writes. “In a phone call with Insider, Wittek denied buying the alcohol and said he didn’t think [Todd] Smith would have bought it either, though he said Smith, ‘loves whiskey.'”
Jeff Wittek’s ‘MY TRUTH’ video
Despite including his denial, Jeff now claims Tenbarge twisted the words of his initial statement for the article.
“In the article, it says that Trisha, who was Jason’s girlfriend at the time and the one bringing all this to light, she is saying that I supplied alcohol to loosen up the girls,” he says in a 22-minute video uploaded to his channel titled, ‘MY TRUTH.’ “Which, it just— it just makes me angry because it’s so not true.”
Jeff says he “willingly called Insider” to discredit Trisha’s claims and says he believes Trisha gave his name to Insider because they had “beef.”
It is important to note that Hannah’s friend Sarah, who was apparently sober as she driving that night, also told Insider that Jeff and Todd left the party and came back with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey.
Jeff goes on to say that the way in which Tenbarge framed his statement makes it “look like I’m throwing my friend [Todd Smith] under the bus.” He claims that “20 minutes later” in his interview with Insider, Tenbarge brought up a joke Jeff made in separate vlogs about Todd having a drinking problem. Jeff implies his comment that Todd “loves whiskey” was in relation to that joke and not the night Hannah was allegedly raped.
The former Vlog Squad member then plays a clip from a recorded phone call he had with Tenbarge after the article was published, in which he asks her to apologise for twisting his words.
“I asked the reporter if she was sorry for twisting my words and causing all this now,” he says. “I just wanted to know if she had any sort of sympathy for, you know, knowing that I was innocent and still doing this.”
In the clip, Tenbarge can be heard saying she feels Jeff was “more of a bystander in the overall conflict” but that she had to frame his statement based on the information she was given. Tenbarge apologises twice for something, however Jeff does not provide context on what she’s apologising for.
Kat Tenbarge responds to Jeff Wittek’s claims
Now, Tenbarge has responded to Jeff’s allegations that she didn’t accurately report on his statement.
In a series of tweets, Tenbarge rebuts Jeff’s claims with a voice recording from their initial interview for the article. The voice recording hears Tenbarge telling Jeff that claims he bought alcohol for the underage girls are “from Trisha… it’s also from the other girls. Like, they remembered that David had asked Jason to go buy alcohol, and then Trisha told Jason, like, don’t buy the alcohol and then they said that you and Todd left and came back with like a bottle of, I think, Jack [Daniel’s].”
The voice recording also allegedly proves Tenbarge did not bring up the whiskey joke “20 minutes later.”
Tenbarge goes on to tweet a screenshot from her Insider piece in which she notes that Sarah, Hannah’s friend, corroborated Trisha’s claims that Jeff and Todd bought the girls alcohol.
“Jeff spends his video trying to undermine my credibility by making false statements and playing out-of-context clips from our conversations,” she tweets. “I stand by my reporting and so does Insider.”
In a separate thread, Tenbarge also addresses the phone call Jeff inserted into his video in which she can be heard apologising to him.
“Before Jeff asked me if I was sorry, he told me people were calling him a rapist & pedophile. I was apologizing because he had to experience that,” she explains. “I would actually love for Jeff to release this entire conversation, which he recorded late at night (for me) without my consent. He used a lot of manipulation tactics to try and get me to say things knowing he would use them against me.”
She goes on to say that Jeff spent most of their phone call “complaining he was losing sponsorships and getting hate because of my story.”
Tenbarge claims Jeff’s video insinuates she should lose her job “for including information he himself gave me in our interview.”
“If anything, I would retract my apology to Jeff, because I said it in good faith that we were having a personal conversation. That’s not what this was. This was a set-up,” she finishes. “I’m not sorry Jeff is dealing with the consequences of his actions. I’m sorry for Hannah.”
Tenbarge has received support from Trisha Paytas as well as several fellow journalists, including Insider colleagues.
Jeff has since responded to Tenbarge’s tweets on the March 21st Frenemies podcast with Trisha Paytas and Ethan Klein, claiming he put the video together hastily and admits there are some discrepancies.
You can watch the episode here: