- 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)
Carl Nassib Becomes First Active NFL Player To Come Out as Gay
While making his announcement, the athlete also pledged a $100,000 donation to The Trevor Project.
Nassib Comes Out
Carl Nassib, a defensive end for the Las Vegas Raiders, made history on Monday as the first active NFL player to come out as gay.
The 28-year-old made the announcement in an Instagram video, along with a longer written statement.
“I just want to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest. I really have the best life, I’ve got the best family, friends and job a guy could ask for,” he said in the post.
“I’m a pretty private person so I hope you guys know that I’m really not doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important,” he continued.
“I actually hope that like one day, videos like this and the whole coming-out process are just not necessary. But until then, I’m going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting, that’s compassionate and I’m going to start by donating $100,000 to The Trevor Project.”
He also noted that he was thankful for the support from his NFL coaches and fellow players. “From the jump, I was greeted with the utmost respect and acceptance,” he wrote.
Praise From Sports Community
Nassib’s announcement was met with praise from his team on social media, as well as other athletes and the NFL itself.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement on behalf of the league, saying that it “is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth.”
Several football fans and commentators, including sports reporter Jemele Hill, also pointed to the potential impact his bravery could have.
“Carl Nassib likely isn’t the only active gay player in the NFL, but him coming forward will be huge for those who haven’t gotten there yet,” HIll tweeted. “Very courageous decision that will not only help other players but so many young people in this country.”
See what others are saying:(ESPN)(The New York Times)(NBC News)
Billie Eilish Apologizes for Mouthing Racist Slur in Old Clip
Eilish said she is “appalled and embarrassed” to have mouthed along to a song containing the term, which she did not know was a slur at the time.
Video Shows Billie Eilish Using Slur
Singer Billie Eilish apologized Monday night for mouthing an anti-Asian racial slur in an old video that recently resurfaced on social media.
The clip was featured in a compilation that went viral on TikTok. In it, she was mouthing along to the song “Fish” by Tyler the Creator, which contains the slur. The compilation also showed her speaking in a voice that many interpreted as her mocking foreign accents or languages.
“I love you guys, and many of you have been asking me to address this,” Eilish wrote on her Instagram story. “And this is something that I WANT to address because I’m being labeled something that I am not.”
Eilish Apologizes for Mouthing Term
The “Bad Guy” singer said she was 13 or 14 at the time the video was taken, and claimed she had no idea the word was a derogatory term at the time.
“I am appalled and embarrassed and want to barf that I ever mouthed along to that word,” Eilish wrote. “This song was the only time I’d ever heard that word as it was never used around me by anyone in my family. Regardless of my ignorance and age at the time, nothing excuses the fact is that it was hurtful. And for that I am sorry.”
Regarding accusations that she mocked foreign accents and languages, the singer said she was speaking a “silly gibberish” that she made up as a child and uses around her pets, family, and friends in a joking manner.
“It is absolute gibberish and just me goofing around, and is in NO way an imitation of anyone or any language, accent or culture in the SLIGHTEST,” she added. “Anyone who knows me has seen me goofing around with voices my whole life.”
“Regardless of how it was interpreted I did not mean for any of my actions to have caused hurt to others and it absolutely breaks my heart that it is being labeled now in a way that might cause pain to people hearing it,” she continued.
The Grammy Award-winner said that she wants to use her platform to promote “inclusion, kindness, tolerance, equity, and equality.” She closed her statement by telling her followers that it is important for people to listen and learn when it comes to conversations about these subjects.
Read her full apology below.
See what others are saying: (Variety) (Complex) (The Guardian)
Chrissy Teigen’s Team Says Direct Messages Shared by Michael Costello Were Fake
Teigen’s team accused the designer of faking the screenshots a day after a report from Insider found several “technical inconsistencies” in the photos.
Chrissy Teigen Accused of Bullying Michael Costello
Model Chrissy Teigen released a statement from her team on Friday denying the authenticity of screenshots designer Michael Costello shared last week depicting Teigen bullying him and threatening his career.
Costello’s claims against Teigen came just after she apologized for past offensive social media remarks she made. Those remarks included hateful comments directed at then-16-year-old Courtney Stodden, who received an onslaught of negative press for marrying a 51-year-old man a decade ago. Hours after posting her apology, Costello said he, too, was a victim of Teigen’s online persecution in 2014.
Costello wrote that Teigen attacked him online when a screenshot allegedly showing him making a racist comment was circulating. He claims that the screenshot was fake, but even after he told Teigen this, he alleges that she and her stylist Monica Rose continued to berate him and threaten his career. In his post, he said this drove him to have suicidal thoughts.
He also shared alleged screenshots of direct messages that depicted Teigen telling him his career was dead and that he deserves to “suffer and die.” His post ignited a swift round of backlash and outrage against Teigen and caught the attention of several major news outlets.
Investigations Finds That the Screenshots Were Faked
A Thursday report from Insider alleged that those conversations had been doctored. The investigation found “technical inconsistencies in the purported DMs that could suggest they are manipulated.”
“Several visual identifiers in the images appear to come from various iterations of Instagram and Teigen’s profile throughout the years, which is oftentimes a signature of manipulated imagery,” the article continued.
According to Insider, the screenshot looks like it was taken in 2014, as Teigen did not have a verified check, a status she received early in 2015. However, the message backgrounds in the image have a purple and blue gradient, which did not exist in Instagram until 2020. There is also a video chat icon on top of their chat, a feature that was not introduced until 2018. The photo that appears for Teigen is also her profile picture from 2014. If Costello had gone back and taken that screenshot recently, her current profile picture would have been visible instead of her old one, and again, her verification would be visible.
Teigen shot back on social media Friday, sharing a statement that addressed the inconsistencies noted in the Insider article. The statement, which was written on Teigen’s behalf, also claimed that in early iterations of the screenshots, Teigen’s name had been spelled incorrectly.
“Chrissy is completely surprised and disappointed by Michael Costello’s recent attack, which includes fictional ‘screenshots’ from 2014 of supposed private messages that Chrissy did not send,” the statement said.
According to the statement, Teigen did comment on one of Costello’s posts in 2014 after he was accused of making a racist remark, but she deleted that comment upon learning that the remark was photoshopped. It also claims that Teigen did not work with Rose until 2016, two years after Costello claims he was victimized by her.
Teigen went on to share screenshots of messages the two had exchanged online, which were largely complementary. In one message, Costello praises her lipstick choice. In another, he admires a meal she cooked. Teigen claimed she was under the impression she had a cordial relationship with him.
“Chrissy has acknowledged her past behavior and the pain she has caused but will not stand for anyone spreading false accusations to further demean her name and reputation,” the statement continued. “Chrissy will continue to do the work she needs to do to be the best person she can be. She hopes Michael Costello can do the same.”
“Chrissy has every right to correct the record and defend her name. She is not interested in making Mr. Costello the target of harassment or abuse for anyone claiming to support her.”
Teigen’s husband, singer John Legend, also defended her, saying he had no idea why someone would insert themselves into an already complicated narrative.
“I encourage everyone who breathlessly spread this lie to keep that same energy when they correct the record,” he wrote.
Costello Doubles Down
Since he came out against Teigen, several people have accused Costello of misconduct. A makeup artist who was undergoing chemotherapy said he was sexually harassed by Costello, singer Leona Lewis said he body-shamed her, and a woman who sold him something online said he called her the n-word.
Costello has deleted his original post accusing Teigen of bullying him, which included the allegedly doctored screenshots, though he doubled down on his claim that Teigen tried to ruin his career in a post shared Friday.
“The fact that Chrissy Tiegen and her crisis team are working so hard, so strategically, to come out against the DMs she sent me, and to downplay the comments she publicly posted on my Instagram, only proves that she is the same bully she always has been, despite her fake apology to the public,” he wrote.
He said this will be the last time he speaks on the issue and announced that he is taking a break from social media to aid his mental health.