David Dobrik Breaks Silence on Vlog Squad Misconduct and Sexual Assault Allegations
- David Dobrik apologized for past content he made with his YouTube Vlog Squad after facing increased pressure to address misconduct within the group.
- The social media star specifically said sorry to Seth Francois, who claimed he was sexually assaulted in two kissing “prank” videos Dobrik orchestrated.
- Dobrik also addressed his relationship with Dominykas Zeglaitis, known online as “Durte Dom,” who was recently accused of raping a woman that was too drunk to consent to sexual acts during a night of filming with the Vlog Squad.
- “With people in my life that I don’t film with anymore, like Dom, I chose to distance myself,” Dobrik said. “I don’t align with some of the actions, I don’t stand for any misconduct.”
David Dobrik Apologizes
Massive social media star David Dobrik apologized in a video late Monday for past content he made with his YouTube friend group, the Vlog Squad.
His rare response to controversy came hours after a bombshell report from Insider detailing a rape accusation against former Vlog Squad member Dominykas Zeglaitis, who goes by “Durte Dom” online.
“Consent is something that is super super important to me, whether I’m shooting with a friend or I’m shooting with a stranger, I always make sure whatever video I’m putting out I have the approval of that person,” Dobrik stated in his apology titled “Let’s Talk.”
Over the past several weeks, Dobrik has faced growing pressure to address alleged misconduct in the Vlog Squad. The backlash against him reached a new level when former member Seth Francois said he was sexually assaulted in two kissing “prank” videos where he was duped into unknowingly kissing Vlog Squad member Jason Nash.
Until now, Dobrik gave no comment on this situation even though the story grew and caught the attention of mainstream news outlets. The only glimpse the public got of his potential stance on the allegations came from a video response made by Vlog Squad member Scotty Sire. In that video, Sire defended Dobrik and accused Francois of lying. He later deleted that video after it was criticized for victim shaming and largely ignoring key points of the accusations.
“With the Seth situation, I’m sorry to Seth,” Dobrik said in his apology video. “I just want to make videos where everybody in it, whether you’re participating or watching, is enjoying and having a good time. And I missed the mark with that one.”
Dobrik then addressed the allegations against Zeglaitis, who was accused of raping a 20-year-old girl that told Insider she was too drunk to consent to have sex.
“With people in my life that I don’t film with anymore, like Dom, I chose to distance myself,” he added. “I don’t align with some of the actions, I don’t stand for any misconduct. I’ve been really disappointed by some of my friends. For that reason, I’ve separated from a lot of them.”
Many online have slammed the YouTuber for the brief response and for putting it on one of his smallest platforms. Others noted the irony of title, “Let’s Talk,” considering the fact that comments on the video are disabled. Some have even accused YouTube of removing the video from its trending page in an effort to protect one of its large creators.
Durte Dom Accused of Rape
The alleged assault reported by Insider was said to have happened in 2018 when a group of college girls met up with Dobrik, Zeglaitis, and other members of the Vlog Squad to film a video for Dobrik’s channel.
The accuser, who went by Hannah in Insider’s article, said Zeglaitis had been flirting with her all night despite her repeatedly rejecting his advances.
Hannah claimed that Vlog Squad members bought alcohol and supplied it to the girls, all of whom were under 21. Sources told Insider that the alcohol was supplied by Todd Smith and Jeff Wittek, but Wittek denied he supplied it and doubted Smith’s involvement as well.
According to accounts from Hannah and her friend, who claims she was sober that night, Hannah ended up getting too drunk to walk or dress herself. Hannah said she does not remember most of the night, but claimed that her friend Audrey later told her that the two of them had engaged in sexual acts with Zeglaitis. According to Insider, at one point during this, Hannah showed signs of losing consciousness. The report says that Zeglaitis still continued sexual acts, so Audrey “took over” to get him to stop.
To the viewers watching the vlog that was posted from that night, it would look like Zeglaitis engaged in a consensual encounter with two women. At various points, it even shows his friends laughing, cheering him on for having a threesome, and peeking into the room to watch. The video did not show how drunk Hannah said she and her friends were, or her repeated attempts to get Zeglaitis to stop flirting.
Hannah said that after a couple of weeks, she asked Zeglaitis to take the video down as she felt uncomfortable with the fact that millions of people were watching a night she claims to not remember that included acts she did not consent to.
“It’s difficult to describe how it feels knowing that millions of strangers have seen a video of me in a night that affected me and traumatized me in nearly incomprehensible ways, not knowing that anything was wrong,” she told Insider.
Zeglaitis did not give the outlet a comment on the allegations against him, however, last week he uploaded a video addressing Francois’s accusations against the Vlog Squad. According to Insider, he uploaded this after he had been contacted to give a statement about Hannah’s allegations, though he did not address her claims.
“Just because somebody might think they’re fine with it the first day or they’re fine with it six months later and then a year later they’re not fine with it doesn’t mean you can discredit these peoples experiences because people need time to understand what they’ve been going through,” he said in one part of the video, which many are now sharing in light of the rape accusation against him.
See what others are saying: (Insider) (Dexerto) (The Wrap)
Schools Across the U.S. Cancel Classes Friday Over Unverified TikTok Threat
Officials in multiple states said they haven’t found any credible threats but are taking additional precautions out of an abundance of safety.
Schools in no fewer than 10 states either canceled classes or increased their police presence on Friday after a series of TikToks warned of imminent shooting and bombs threats.
Despite that, officials said they found little evidence to suggest the threats are credible. It’s possible no real threat was actually ever made as it’s unclear if the supposed threats originated on TikTok, another social media platform, or elsewhere.
“We handle even rumored threats with utmost seriousness, which is why we’re working with law enforcement to look into warnings about potential violence at schools even though we have not found evidence of such threats originating or spreading via TikTok,” TikTok’s Communications team tweeted Thursday afternoon.
Still, given the uptick of school shootings in the U.S. in recent years, many school districts across the country decided to respond to the rumors. According to The Verge, some districts in California, Minnesota, Missouri, and Texas shut down Friday.
“Based on law enforcement interviews, Little Falls Community Schools was specifically identified in a TikTok post related to this threat,” one school district in Minnesota said in a letter Thursday. “In conversations with local law enforcement, the origins of this threat remain unknown. Therefore, school throughout the district is canceled tomorrow, Friday, December 17.”
In Gilroy, California, one high school that closed its doors Friday said it would reschedule final exams that were expected to take place the same day to January.
According to the Associated Press, several other districts in Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania stationed more police officers at their schools Friday.
Viral Misinformation or Legitimate Warnings?
As The Verge notes, “The reports of threats on TikTok may be self-perpetuating.”
For example, many of the videos online may have been created in response to initial warnings as more people hopped onto the trend. Amid school cancellations, videos have continued to sprout up — many awash with both rumors and factual information.
“I’m scared off my ass, what do I do???” one TikTok user said in a now-deleted video, according to People.
“The post is vague and not directed at a specific school, and is circulating around school districts across the country,” Chicago Public Schools said in a letter, though it did not identify any specific post. “Please do not re-share any suspicious or concerning posts on social media.”
According to Dr. Amy Klinger, the director of programs for the nonprofit Educator’s School Safety Network, “This is not 2021 phenomenon.”
Instead, she told The Today Show that her network has been tracking school shooting threats since 2013, and she noted that in recent years, they’ve become more prominent on social media.
“It’s not just somebody in a classroom of 15 people hearing someone make a threat,” she said. “It’s 15,000 people on social media, because it gets passed around and it becomes larger and larger and larger.”
See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Associated Press) (People)
Jake Paul Says He “Can’t Get Cancelled” as a Boxer
The controversial YouTuber opened up about what it has been like to go from online fame to professional boxing.
The New Yorker Profiles Jake Paul
YouTuber and boxer Jake Paul talked about his career switch, reputation, and cancel culture in a profile published Monday in The New Yorker.
While Paul rose to fame as the Internet’s troublemaker, he now spends most of his time in the ring. He told the outlet that one difference between YouTube and boxing is that his often controversial reputation lends better to his new career.
“One thing that is great about being a fighter is, like, you can’t get cancelled,” Paul said. The profile noted that the sport often rewards and even encourages some degree of bad behavior.
“I’m not a saint,” Paul later continued. “I’m also not a bad guy, but I can very easily play the role.”
Paul also said the other difference between his time online and his time in boxing is the level of work. While he says he trains hard, he confessed that there was something more challenging about making regular YouTube content.
“Being an influencer was almost harder than being a boxer,” he told The New Yorker. “You wake up in the morning and you’re, like, Damn, I have to create fifteen minutes of amazing content, and I have twelve hours of sunlight.”
Jake Paul Vs. Tommy Fury
The New Yorker profile came just after it was announced over the weekend Paul will be fighting boxer Tommy Fury in an 8-round cruiserweight fight on Showtime in December.
“It’s time to kiss ur last name and ur family’s boxing legacy goodbye,” Paul tweeted. “DEC 18th I’m changing this wankers name to Tommy Fumbles and celebrating with Tom Brady.”
Both Paul and Fury are undefeated, according to ESPN. Like Paul, Fury has found fame outside of the sport. He has become a reality TV star in the U.K. after appearing on the hit show “Love Island.”
See what others are saying: (The New Yorker) (Dexerto) (ESPN)
Hackers Hit Twitch Again, This Time Replacing Backgrounds With Image of Jeff Bezos
The hack appears to be a form of trolling, though it’s possible that the infiltrators were able to uncover a security flaw while reviewing Twitch’s newly-leaked source code.
Hackers targeted Twitch for a second time this week, but rather than leaking sensitive information, the infiltrators chose to deface the platform on Friday by swapping multiple background images with a photo of former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
According to those who saw the replaced images firsthand, the hack appears to have mostly — and possibly only — affected game directory headers. Though the incident appears to be nothing more than a surface-level prank, as Amazon owns Twitch, it could potentially signal greater security flaws.
For example, it’s possible the hackers could have used leaked internal security data from earlier this week to discover a network vulnerability and sneak into the platform.
The latest jab at the platforms came after Twitch assured its users it has seen “no indication” that their login credentials were stolen during the first hack. Still, concerns have remained regarding the potential for others to now spot cracks in Twitch’s security systems.
It’s also possible the Bezos hack resulted from what’s known as “cache poisoning,” which, in this case, would refer to a more limited form of hacking that allowed the infiltrators to manipulate similar images all at once. If true, the hackers likely would not have been able to access Twitch’s back end.
The photo changes only lasted several hours before being returned to their previous conditions.
First Twitch Hack
Despite suspicions and concerns, it’s unclear whether the Bezos hack is related to the major leak of Twitch’s internal data that was posted to 4chan on Wednesday.
That leak exposed Twitch’s full source code — including its security tools — as well as data on how much Twitch has individually paid every single streamer on the platform since August 2019.
It also revealed Amazon’s at least partially developed plans for a cloud-based gaming library, codenamed Vapor, which would directly compete with the massively popular library known as Steam.
Even though Twitch has said its login credentials appear to be secure, it announced Thursday that it has reset all stream keys “out of an abundance of caution.” Users are still being urged to change their passwords and update or implement two-factor authentication if they haven’t already.