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David Dobrik Leaves Dispo, Loses Sponsors Following Vlog Squad Rape Allegations

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  • YouTuber David Dobrik has stepped down from the board of Dispo, the photo-sharing social media app he co-founded, according to The Information.
  • The departure comes amid growing backlash for past content he made with his YouTube Vlog Squad, some of which led to the alleged sexual assaults of a former member and a 20-year-old college student. 
  • Major brands like Dollar Shave Club, DoorDash, EA Sports, and others have dropped their partnerships with Dobrik in light of the allegations. 
  • Vlog Squad member Jeff Wittek also drew new scrutiny towards Dobrik and his group after criticizing an Insider reporter’s coverage of one sexual assault claim, despite not fully reading the article himself.

David Dobrik Loses Brand Deals

YouTuber David Dobrik is stepping down from the board of Dispo, a photo-sharing social media app that he founded, as he continues to face backlash over a rape accusation against a member of his Vlog Squad.

Last week, Insider published a report detailing a woman’s claim that Dom Zeglaitis, known online as Durte Dom, raped her in 2018 when she was too drunk to consent to any sexual activity. The accuser said she was 20-years-old at the time and was with Dobrik and other Vlog Squad members to film a video.

Following this piece, Dobrik has been dropped by major brands, including Dollar Shave Club, DoorDash, EA Sports, and Hello Fresh. He is also no longer an owner of Angel City Football club, a U.S. women’s soccer team.

“Angel City was built to lead by example, to set higher expectations, and to do the right thing, even when the right thing is hard,” the club’s president, resident Julie Uhrman, said in a statement. “To that end, David Dobrik is no longer an owner of Angel City.”

On Sunday night, Spark Capital, a major investor in Dobrik’s Dispo app, said it was severing all ties with the company in light of the allegations. 

“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,” Spark Capital said on Twitter.

Later that night, Dispo told The Information that Dobrik would be leaving the app. 

“David has chosen to step down from the board and leave the company to not distract from the company’s growth,” it said in a statement.

Seven Seven Six, a venture capital firm that invested in Dispo, released a statement saying it agreed with the app’s decision to part ways with Dobrik. It promised to donate any profits from their investment to organizations that work with sexual assault survivors.

Dobrik previously addressed the allegations in a brief video last week. He said he has separated himself from Zeglaitis.

“With people in my life that I don’t film with anymore, like Dom, I chose to distance myself,” he said. “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.” 

“Consent is something that is super super important to me,” he added.

Jeff Wittek Slams Insider Investigation

Dobrik is not the only person facing backlash for his alleged involvement in the situation. Vlog Squad member Jeff Wittek has also hopped on the defense, as the Insider piece suggests he may have supplied the alcohol that the accuser and her friends drank.

In the piece, two sources — former Vlog Squadder Trisha Paytas and a separate witness who was friends with the accuser — said they remember Wittek buying whiskey. Wittek is quoted in the piece denying that he did so. 

On Sunday, he uploaded a video called “MY TRUTH” slamming the article and the reporter who wrote it, Kat Tenbarge. At one point, he put Tenbarge’s Twitter on the screen in an attempt to send people to attack her. He said Tenbarge wrote the story for “personal profit” because it was initially behind a paywall, something she had no control over. He also said he has lost partnerships as a result of his involvement in the story. 

“The only one that was allegedly saying that I bought the alcohol was Trisha. Trisha wasn’t even there,” Wittek said multiple times in his video, despite the fact that the report included a second source who implicated him.

Wittek also included excerpts of two conversations he had with Tenbarge: one where she interviewed him before the piece was published, and one where he confronted her after the fact. In one clip, Tenbarge said she was sorry that Wittek was facing backlash for being mentioned in the article, but stood by her reporting. At no point do any of his clips show that his quotes were taken out of context. 

Wittek further denied buying the alcohol and said he was not at the apartment when the alleged incident happened. He said both he and other members of the Vlog Squad were completely unaware of the allegation. 

Kat Tenbarge Responds to Jeff Wittek

Tenbarge hit back at Wittek for actively ignoring the fact that she included a second person who said he purchased the drinks. 

“Jeff spends his video trying to undermine my credibility by making false statements and playing out-of-context clips from our conversations,” she wrote. “I stand by my reporting and so does Insider.”

Tenbarge also included a longer excerpt of their conversation where she clearly states that two sources told her about Wittek allegedly buying alcohol.  

She also addressed frustrations Wittek had with a line in the article that read: “He didn’t think [Todd] Smith would have bought it either, though he said Smith ‘loves whiskey.’” Wittek argued that she took that last comment about whiskey from a separate part of the conversation and used it to make it seem like he was suggesting Smith could have bought it. According to a clip Tenbarge shared, that’s is what he said and it was not taken out of context.

In a later thread, Tenbarge said she only apologized because Wittek told her “people were calling him a rapist & pedophile.” She said during their second conversation, he used manipulation tactics so he could get soundbites to later use against her. 

Jeff Wittek Goes on Frenemies

The situation with Wittek escalated on Sunday when he appeared on the “Frenemies” podcast with Paytas and Ethan Kein. During that live show, Wittek admitted that he had not read the article in its entirety prior to making his video that slammed it. 

He also changed his story about how long he was with the Vlog Squad the night the rape allegedly happened. Wittek previously said he was at the apartment for 15 minutes, but then said on the Frenemies podcast it was closer to 30 or 45 minutes at around 11:00 P.M. Then Klein pulled up a photo timestamped at 1:18 A.M. That photo included Wittek, Dobrik, and the accuser, who was being supported up by her friends as she was too drunk to stand. Still, Wittek maintained he was not there the whole night. 

“I certainly was not there when they were having sex,” he said.

“Well yeah they were in a private room,” Klein said.

“No. I wasn’t in the apartment,” Wittek claimed. 

“So, you left and then you came back at the end of the night?” 

“I guess I did come back, yeah as ridiculous as it sounds, but I live down the street.” 

At another point, he claimed Dobrik did the same. 

“To my understanding, I think David left too… I think everybody left,” he explained.

“That doesn’t make any sense Jeff…I have this photo of all of you guys at the end of the night,” Klein said.

Wittek continued to deny any wrongdoing that night and claimed certain parts of the video were entirely staged. He also said he had no idea who was drinking and who was or was not 21-years-old.

See what others are saying: (Insider) (Newsweek) (The New York Times)

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Anti-Vaxxers Spread Conspiracy Theory Claiming Bob Saget Died From COVID-19 Booster Shot

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This comes less than a month after anti-vaxxers spread a similar false rumor about comedian Betty White.


Anti-Vaxxers Spread Unfounded Theory About Bob Saget’s Death

Anti-vax and right-wing conspiracy theorists are spreading unfounded claims that comedian Bob Saget died as a result of receiving his COVID-19 booster shot.

Saget, best known for his role as Danny Tanner on “Full House,” died this week at the age of 65 in Orlando, Florida. The Orange County Sheriff’s office said they were responding to “a call about an unresponsive man in a hotel room” and pronounced Saget dead on the scene at the Ritz-Carlton. They found “no signs of foul play or drug use” and some reports have since claimed that it appears Saget may have died in his sleep. No further cause of death has been released. 

Not long after the news of his death, anti-vaxxers begin circulating baseless claims that a COVID-19 booster shot killed Saget. Saget said he received his booster shot on a Dec. 13 episode of his podcast. Many have shared a clip where he talks about the booster to suggest that was his cause of death.

COVID-19 vaccines and boosters have been proven to be both safe and effective. That, of course, has not stopped conspiracy theorists from endlessly touting false assertions about unproven side effects and responses.

Claims about Saget’s death being vaccine-related can be found on Twitter, Reddit, TikTok, Telegram, and other social media platforms. Many of the posts, despite containing clear misinformation, have remained on these sites for several days without being taken down. 

Candace Owens Promotes Booster Theory

The conspiracy found a large platform this week when conservative news personality Candace Owens discussed it on her Daily Wire talk show. Owens has repeatedly spoken against COVID-19 vaccines and uses her platform to regularly share all kinds of political and cultural misinformation. 

During the Jan. 11 episode of “Candace,” which was flagged by Media Matters, Owens said the public has a “right to demand answers” about the circumstances around Saget’s death and the booster. 

“I’m just not on Big Pharma’s payroll and I refuse to peddle in their lies. And so to that end, today, I’m going to point out another truth and it will likely be deemed a conspiracy theory until it’s not,” she said. “There are too many healthy individuals, like Bob Saget, who we know have received their vaccinations, who are dropping dead, suddenly and unexpectedly, with no further explanation. Healthy athletes, young students in their physical prime — the majority of them males — dropping dead suddenly and unexpectedly in the middle of games from heart issues.”

Owens continued to peddle anti-vax rhetoric regarding the media and vaccine mandates. She also spewed unsubstantiated suggestions that “healthy men are dying” because of vaccines. 

“All of this to say I don’t know why a healthy man, who was in the middle of a comedy tour, suddenly and unexpectedly drops dead in his hotel room,” she continued. “But I do know that we have a right to ask the question. All of us do. In fact, when the entire world has suddenly and unexpectedly been prescribed an injection that we don’t need, it is not only our right to ask questions but also our right to demand answers.”

Anti-Vax Misinformation Has Found A Large Platform

Not even a month before Saget’s death, anti-vaxxers likewise falsely claimed that comedian and actress Betty White died from receiving her COVID-19 booster. White passed at the age of 99, just weeks before her 100th birthday. According to her death certificate, she died from a stroke she had six days before her death on Dec. 31. 

After people started falsely claiming the booster caused her death, White’s agent released a statement clarifying these rumors were not true. 

“Betty died peacefully in her sleep at her home,” Jeff Witjas told People Magazine. “People are saying her death was related to getting a booster shot three days earlier but that is not true. She died of natural causes. Her death should not be politicized — that is not the life she lived.”

Media platforms have struggled to control the swelling amount of misinformation users constantly spread, specifically regarding the pandemic and vaccinations. While many sites have promised to remove, flag, or fact-check incorrect posts, anyone who wants to find anti-vax information will have an easy time doing so. 

This week, a group of doctors and medical workers urged Spotify to lay out a misinformation policy, citing the false claims Joe Rogan has repeatedly made about vaccines on his podcast. Several international fact-checking organizations also recently demanded that YouTube do more to fight disinformation on its service. Over the last year, citizens and politicians have asked that Twitter, Facebook, and Google do more to slow the spread of pandemic-related misinformation.

“While we understand that your companies have implemented policies regarding the removal of vaccine-related misinformation and dedicated resources to stop the spread of misinformation, we believe more must be done,” a group of Democratic senators wrote in a letter to the three company’s CEOs. “It is imperative that you be transparent about the amount of harmful misinformation that appears on your platforms and the effectiveness of your efforts to remove this content, so that public health organizations and experts can respond appropriately.”

See what others are saying: (Insider) (The Daily Beast) (The Daily Dot)

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Kim Kardashian, Floyd Mayweather, and Others Sued Over Alleged EthereumMax Crypto Scam

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EthereumMax executives and partners are being accused of sharing “misleading promotions and celebrity endorsements” in order to “artificially increase the interest in and price” of the coin.


Lawsuit Alleging Crypto Scam Filed in California

Reality star Kim Kardashian, boxer Floyd Mayweather, and former NBA star Paul Pierce are among several celebrities and executives being sued for allegedly misleading investors into a pump-and-dump crypto scam.

The class-action lawsuit was filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California by New York resident Ryan Huegerich. Huegerich brought the complaint on behalf of himself and others who claim to have lost money after investing in the coin EthereumMax between May 14, 2021 and June 27, 2021.

Kardashian, Mayweather, and Pierce are among a slew of people with substantial followings who promoted EthereumMax in the spring and summer of 2021. Pierce tweeted about the coin, saying he “made more money with this crypto in the past month” than he did with ESPN in a year. Kardashian touted the cryptocurrency in an Instagram story post that included a link for her followers to “swipe up to join the E-Max community.”

Mayweather drew attention to EthereumMax during his highly-anticipated fight against YouTuber Logan Paul, which accepted the coin as payment for tickets to the event. During the match, he wore shorts with the coin’s name and logo. Mayweather also endorsed the coin during a Bitcoin conference in Miami, Florida. 

Plaintiffs Allege Stars Participated in Pump-And-Dump Scheme

The plaintiffs argued that the three stars, along with several others, promoted the coin with false information. According to the lawsuit, the defendants touted “the ability for investors to make significant returns due to the favorable ‘tokenomics’ of the EMAX Tokens” in order to sell their portions for a pump-and-dump profit.

The Company’s executives, collaborating with several celebrity promotors, (a) made false or misleading statements to investors about EthereumMax through social media advertisements and other promotional activities and (b) disguised their control over EthereumMax and a significant percent of the EMAX Tokens that were available for public trading during the Relevant Period,” the lawsuit said.

“The misleading promotions and celebrity endorsements were able to artificially increase the interest in and price of the EMAX Tokens during the Relevant Period, causing investors to purchase these losing investments at inflated prices,” the suit continued.

The plaintiffs slammed the EthereumMax coin as a “speculative digital token created by a mysterious group of cryptocurrency developers.” According to the lawsuit, the coin “has no connection” to the popular cryptocurrency Ethereum, but uses the name in an effort to “mislead investors into believing that the EMAX Tokens were a part of the Ethereum network (when they are not).”

A spokesperson for EthereumMax condemned the allegations in a statement to The Wall Street Journal.

“The deceptive narrative associated with the recent allegations is riddled with misinformation,” the spokesperson said.

Kardashian, Mayweather, and Pierce have not responded publicly to the lawsuit. 

See what others are saying: (The Wall Street Journal) (CNBC) (BBC News)

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Cardi B’s Defamation Suit Against YouTuber Goes to Trial

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Cardi B claims the YouTuber “became obsessed with slandering and harassing” her.


Cardi B Alleges YouTuber Harmed Her Reputation

The trial for a defamation case rapper Cardi B brought against an entertainment YouTuber began Monday in Atlanta, Georgia.

In the lawsuit, Cardi claims that Latasha Kebe, who is known online as UnwineWithTashaK, repeatedly made false statements in an effort to destroy the “Up” singer’s reputation. The suit alleges that Kebe told her YouTube following that Cardi had worked as a prostitute, used cocaine, cheated on her husband, and had contracted STDs like herpes and HPV.

Kebe reached one million subscribers last week. Her videos get anywhere from 50,000 to 500,000 views. 

Cardi has called the purportedly unfounded statements “degrading and harassing.” She says that Kebe began spreading the misinformation in 2018 and has since made dozens of videos furthering those claims. 

Kebe became obsessed with slandering and harassing [Cardi],” the lawsuit says per Rolling Stone, which obtained a copy of the document. “In the 16 months preceding the filing of this lawsuit, Kebe put out at least 38 videos regarding [the rapper].”

What Will Be Argued in Court?

Kebe has denied the accusations and previously countersued, alleging that Cardi encouraged her fans to harass her online. A judge dismissed the suit over a lack of evidence. 

According to Billboard, the trial is expected to last two weeks. It is unknown if Cardi will have to take the witness stand herself. 

Michael S. Overing, a lawyer and defamation expert not involved in the case, told Rolling Stone that Cardi has good odds of winning her case.

Cardi probably has a pretty good shot at this one,” he said, noting she had provided “very specific factual statements” that could potentially be “readily proven false.”

“But the problem with these lawsuits, traditionally, is that it’s very hard to prove that you suffered actual damages,” he continued. “This is where the question of actual malice comes in.” 

Overing, among other experts, believes that much of this case will come down to whether or not the jury believes that Kebe acted with ill-intent. This means that in order to win the case, the musician’s team will likely have to prove that Kebe knew the claims were false when she spread them.

See what others are saying: (Billboard) (Rolling Stone)

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