- 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)
Netflix Strikes Deal for Rights To Sony Movies Following Theatrical Releases. Yes, That Includes Spider-Man.
- Netflix has secured the exclusive rights to stream Sony films following their theatrical releases, per a reported $1 billion deal between the streaming giant and movie studio.
- While the full details of the deal have not yet been officially published, it will begin with Sony’s 2022 slate of films and reportedly last for the following five years.
- The agreement means Netflix will eventually be granted streaming rights to popular Marvel characters such as Morbius, as well as Venom and Spider-Man once future installments are released.
Netflix Reach Massive Deal With Sony
Netflix has struck a multi-year licensing deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment that will grant it exclusive streaming rights to the studio’s theatrical titles.
The terms of the agreement have yet to be officially disclosed, but according to multiple media outlets, Netflix will pay Sony over $1 billion over the course of the next four years. The deal itself is set to begin with Sony’s 2022 slate and will reportedly last five years, with Netflix holding streaming rights to individual films for 18 months.
Given the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s unclear whether some films will continue to have their release dates pushed back. It’s also unclear how long their theatrical windows will last; however, once released, Netflix will acquire streaming rights to films such as “Uncharted,” “Where the Crawdads Sing,” and “Bullet Train.”
Netflix Will Have Marvel Movies Once More
The deal will also grant Netflix access to a number of Marvel characters still owned by Sony. That includes the film “Morbius,” which is currently set to be released in January of next year.
It will also include future installments of the “Venom” and “Spider-Man” franchises, the latter of which is notable as it’s part of the Dinsey-owned Marvel Cinematic Universe. Outside of 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk,” Tom Holland’s “Spider-Man” films are the only other films set in the MCU that are not on Disney+.
Prior to Disney+’s launch, Netflix held streaming rights to several MCU films, including “Black Panther,” “Thor: Ragnarok,” and “Avengers: Infinity War.” The shift of those massive blockbusters to another platform was a striking loss for Netflix, and the streaming service is no doubt itching to once again beef up its selection of superhero content.
It’s unclear whether or not the Sony deal will immediately allow Netflix to stream the upcoming films “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” once they leave theaters. That’s because both are currently expected to be released later this year.
That said, if sequels for these films are announced and can be expected to find their way to Netflix, the streaming giant will be able to acquire the rights to the films’ full library of installments, according to Deadline. Such a deal also exists for Jumanji’s library of movies.
Sony’s Direct-to-Streaming Titles
Netflix will retain first-look rights to any of Sony’s potential direct-to-streaming titles, though that doesn’t necessarily mean it will acquire those films. Under that part of the deal, Sony still has the right to sell to other streaming platforms.
While Sony has said it’s considering “a number” of direct-to-streaming releases, as Deadline projected, “in reality [that’s] likely just a couple a year and a minority of the studio’s overall slate.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, however, “Netflix has committed to ordering an undisclosed number of those films.”
See what others are saying: (Deadline) (Wall Street Journal) (IGN)
Regé-Jean Page Seemingly Reacts To Reports That He Was Not Cast as Superman’s Grandfather Because He Is Black
- A recent piece from The Hollywood Reporter claimed that actor Regé-Jean Page auditioned to play Superman’s grandfather in a DC series but was turned down after a DC executive said the superhero could not have a Black grandfather.
- Page seemingly responded to the article Wednesday, tweeting, “Hearing about these conversations hurts no less now than it did back then. The clarifications almost hurt more tbh. Still just doing my thing. Still we do the work. We still fly.”
- A representative for the DC executive claimed the report was false and added that they went down a different path because “the lead was expected to invoke a young Henry Cavill.”
Regé-Jean Page Loses DC Role
“Bridgerton” breakout star Regé-Jean Page seemingly responded Wednesday to reports that he lost out on the role of Superman’s grandfather because he is Black.
This week, The Hollywood Reporter published an extensive piece about issues with executives, toxic behavior, and diversity at DC Films. One project discussed was “Krypton,” a series that follows Superman’s grandfather. Multiple sources told the outlet that “the show’s creators were passionate about doing some nontraditional casting.” Before the popular period drama shot him to stardom, Page auditioned for the role. However, those sources claimed that DC Films co-founder Geoff Johns said that “Superman could not have a Black grandfather.”
Johns also allegedly vetoed a proposal to make one of the superhero characters in the show gay.
The news caught the attention of many online, as Page has quickly become one of Hollywood’s most sought-after actors following the success of the Netflix hit “Bridgerton.” In the past several months alone, Page has hosted “Saturday Night Live,” been cast in upcoming blockbusters, and is even rumored to be a contender for the next James Bond.
Many were quick to slam DC for dismissing Page since nothing about superhero shows and films are realistic in the first place.
if we can suspend our disbelief when it comes to Superman, I’m sure we could buy @regejean as his grandfather.— niisha.xo🏒🇨🇦 #StopAsianHate (@niisha_xo) April 7, 2021
hate to break it to the exec but superheroes aren’t exactly realistic, bruv.
Page Addresses News
On Wednesday, Page seemed to address the controversy himself.
“Hearing about these conversations hurts no less now than it did back then,” he wrote. “The clarifications almost hurt more tbh.
“Still just doing my thing. Still we do the work. We still fly.”
He got support from actors like Ray Fisher, who played Cyborg in the “Justice League” films and has been open about his criticisms of executives at DC. In fact, The Hollywood Reporter‘s piece about the studio largely focused on Fisher and his experiences.
“I feel for you @regejean. If ever you need I’m around,” he tweeted. “Keep flying.”
DC Executive Denies Claims
A representative for Johns denied the allegations in The Hollywood Reporter report with a statement to E! News.
“Geoff never said Superman can’t have a Black ancestor or be Black—there have been diverse versions of Superman throughout the comics for decades so he does and can be diverse,” the representative said.
“However, the expectation for KRYPTON was that it would initially be perceived as a possible prequel to Man of Steel by the fans and the lead was expected to invoke a young Henry Cavill.”
The representative also said that the accusation that Johns did not let creators make a major character part of the LGBTQ community is “categorically false.”
See what others are saying: (E! News) (Los Angeles Times) (Entertainment Weekly)
Khloe Kardashian Sparks Conversation About Beauty Standards After Unapproved Bikini Photo Circulates Online
- Representatives for the Kardashian family are allegedly scrambling to scrub a bikini photo of Khloe from the internet after it quickly spread online over the past several days.
- Many social media users expressed confusion regarding Khloe’s alleged issue with the image, arguing that there is nothing wrong with how she looks in the photo, which is not nearly as excessively edited as most of the content she posts.
- A marketing officer for KKW Brands told Page Six the picture was taken “during a private family gathering and posted to social media without permission by mistake by an assistant,” adding that while Khloe looks “beautiful” in it, it is within her right to want it removed.
- The photo takedowns prompted many to accuse the Kardashian-Jenner family of perpetuating unrealistic beauty standards, though others defended them and said brutal body-shaming likely pressures them into highly editing their images.
Kardashian Team Works To Remove Unapproved Photo
Khloe Kardashian is reportedly pushing her team to remove a photo of her from the internet that was shared without her approval.
The photo shows Kardashian in a cheetah print bikini standing casually in front of a pool. After seeing it, many social media users argued that the image does not appear to be nearly as photoshopped or airbrushed as most of the other content she shares of herself.
Still, the reality star allegedly does not want the photo up. Tracy Romulus, the chief marketing officer for KKW Brands told Page Six that the picture was not authorized to be published.
“The color edited photo was taken of Khloé during a private family gathering and posted to social media without permission by mistake by an assistant,” Romulus said in a statement.
“Khloé looks beautiful but it is within the right of the copyright owner to not want an image not intended to be published taken down.”
According to Page Six, copies of the photo have been taken “under legal threats” from the Kardashian team. A source told the outlet that the photo had been lightly edited, but not to the degree most of Kardashian’s pictures are.
Fans Discuss Unrealistic Beauty Standards Promoted by The Kardashians
Kardashian was a trending topic on Twitter early Wednesday as many discussed the photo and the way the Kardashian-Jenner family has promoted unattainable beauty standards by posting heavily edited photos. Khloe, in particular, has been at the center of some of these conversations within the last year, as fans regularly say the photos she posts of herself always look different.
“This is the best she’s looked IMO!!!!” one person wrote in reference to the leaked photo. “Stop with the unrealistic beauty standards we know are fake!!!!! We’re sick of seeing them!!!!”
“The Kardashians have body shamed and endorsed diet products for years and I’m supposed to feel sorry for Khloe because a perfectly beautiful unedited pic got dropped on the internet?” one Twitter user said.
Another person said the photo served as a “stark reminder that social media is a complete lie.”
Some also went back to a photo Kardashian posted in January on Instagram. The image shows the side of her waist and upper legs covered in sand. While it does look as if the image was likely photoshopped, slight stretch marks can be seen on part of her body. She captioned the picture “I love my stripes.”
Now, people are calling her out in the comments of this post.
“Where’s the love for your real body that you’re trying to have scrubbed from the internet just because you look normal,” someone wrote. “Sad message to send when you’re claiming all this self love.”
Khloe’s History of Being Body Shamed
Others were more sympathetic and brought up the fact that Kardashian has been brutally body shamed by the public in the past, which is likely why she feels the need to airbrush her photos.
“It would be amazing if Khloe K could embrace that unedited image. But she was literally bullied her entire life for her body and looks,” one person wrote. “Held against the beauty standards of her sisters. You made her not be comfortable with her own body and face. YOU did this to her.
“People have called her the ugly one her entire life and now they’re shocked when she panics over an unedited photo? It’s so sad,” another person said.
“Any imperfection is a sincere threat to her well-being in her limbic brain and it’s not [her] fault cuz that threat is stemming from a very real place,” another Twitter user added.
Kardashian has not commented on the controversy yet herself.