Did David Dobrik do enough?
Warning: This article will cover sensitive information such as the discussion of rape.
David Dobrik, who has seen a rapid rise to fame with his fast-paced comedic videos on YouTube, is experiencing growing backlash after a woman accused a member of his popular ensemble, the Vlog Squad, of rape.
In 2018, Dobrik posted a vlog about group sex with former “Vlog Squad” member Dominykas Zeglaitis, most famously known as Durte Dom. During the filming of this video, underage college women were pressured into drinking and engaging in unwarranted sexual acts with Zeglaitis.
On March 16, Business Insider reported that one of the women who had appeared in that vlog said she was raped by Zeglaitis and that the video’s portrayal of the sex as consensual was incorrect. She told the publication that Vlog Squad members had given her alcohol and that she became intoxicated to the point of blacking out.
As a result of the mainstream media attention garnered by Business Insider’s article, Dobrik posted an apology to his podcast channel. The two minutes and 30 seconds long video, titled "Let's Talk" was unsympathetic, did not address the situation directly, and failed to mention the severity of the accusations. Additionally, Dobrik decided to turn off the comments and likes-to-dislikes ratio. Because of this, many were left unpleased and upset with this YouTube sensation.
In addition to having to deal with the disappointment of his fans, Dobrik was quickly dropped by multiple sponsors, including Door Dash, Dollar Shave Club and EA Sports.
Given the increasing repercussions, Dorbik decided to post a second apology video on his YouTube channel on March 22. Unlike the first video, his most recent apology seemed real and authentic, and addressed the entirety of the scandal. Will this apology be enough? Will Dobrik’s fans look past his actions and forgive him? The fact that Dobrik was unable to differentiate the importance of others' safety and well-being at the expense of a joke or skit is extremely disappointing.
Some viewers believe that the only reason why Dobrik published his second and more empathic apology video was due to his brand deals dropping him and due to his attorney’s recommendations.
“Took years AND losing his sponsorships and app for an apology, and he didn’t even apologize privately to the victims first,” CloudyXpastel, a subscriber of Dobrik’s, commented.
As for the brands releasing their partnership with him, they pursued the safest and most responsible way to deal with this situation. Their public relations team essentially believed that this scandal outweighed the financial gain they profited from Dobrik.
“DoorDash profoundly condemns the behavior of the Vlog Squad members, and we have terminated our sponsorship of David Dobrik's podcast 'Views'. This horrific misconduct is incongruous with DoorDash's values and does not represent the communities we strive to create. Our thoughts are with all those impacted,” stated DoorDash spokesperson.
As this scandal continues to unravel itself, Dobrik has not done everything he can to secure and fix his reputation with his followers and his brand partnerships. He must educate himself on the topic of rape culture, recognize his mistakes and essentially come up with a way to make it up to his followers and brands in order to save his reputation.
For example, Dobrik could give back to his community and followers that are sexual assault victims by donating to safe houses or to women shelters that keep survivors safe. Dobrik should also start publishing content that can help educate his fans on this topic to ensure that this never happens again. Regardless of the specific steps he takes, Dobrik should learn from his mistakes and use his platform as a tool to generate positive change.
By Rachel Tetreault
Rachel is an Orange County native but is currently going to San Diego State University. She is pursuing a bachelor's degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations with hopes to work for a non-profit organization that gives back to her community either here in San Diego or in Orange County. After she builds the experience in this field, Rachel wants to pursue a law degree.