- 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)
Chris Pratt Denies Association With Hillsong Church: “I’ve Never Actually Been”
The church has been accused of having anti-LGBTQ ties, something Pratt has taken a hit for.
Pratt Addresses Hillsong Controversy
After several years of facing criticism for his alleged ties to the controversial Hillsong Church, actor Chris Pratt said he has “never actually been” to the church and is “not a religious person.”
The Hillsong Church has been condemned for being anti-LGBTQ. The issue received increased attention in 2019 when actor Elliot Page tweeted, “If you are a famous actor and you belong to an organization that hates a certain group of people, don’t be surprised if someone simply wonders why it’s not addressed.”
“Being anti LGBTQ is wrong, there aren’t two sides,” he continued.
At the time, Pratt responded to the allegations by saying that “nothing could be further from the truth” and that he believes “everyone is entitled to love who they want.” He doubled down on his denial in a profile published Tuesday in Men’s Health.
“I never went to Hillsong. I’ve never actually been to Hillsong,” he told the outlet. “I don’t know anyone from that church.”
Instead, Pratt said he attends Zoe Church in Los Angeles, though not exclusively. According to Men’s Health, Zoe Church is not without its issues. The church was founded by a pastor who produced a film that equated “sexual brokeness” to “same-sex attraction.” Other outlets have also described it as a Hillsong affiliate.
Pratt faced his biggest wave of backlash in 2020 when Internet memes declared him the “worst” Chris compared to other actors with the same first name, including Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and Chris Pine. A slew of celebrities quickly came to Pratt’s defense, arguing the criticism was unjustifiably mean. Their speedy responses only heightened the online conversation and many of the celebrities who spoke out were eventually mocked for doing so.
Pratt Says He is Not Religious
As for why the Internet has become increasingly anti-Pratt, his alleged association to Hillsong was a major factor. Some also speculated he was a supporter of Donald Trump as he did not join his “Avengers” co-stars for a Joe Biden fundraiser, though Pratt is not usually politically outspoken in either direction.
Pratt believes the backlash against him started when he gave a speech at the MTV Movie Awards in 2018 where he said, “God is real. God loves you. God wants the best for you.” He understands why those remarks may have rubbed people the wrong way.
“Maybe it was hubris. For me to stand up on the stage and say the things that I said, I’m not sure I touched anybody,” he told Men’s Health. “Religion has been oppressive as fuck for a long time. I didn’t know that I would kind of become the face of religion when really I’m not a religious person.”
He went on to explain that in his eyes, there is a difference between adhering to certain customs and believing in God versus using God to control and harm people and justify hatred.
“The evil that’s in the heart of every single man has glommed on to the back of religion and come along for the ride,” he said.
See what others are saying: (Men’s Health) (The AV Club) (People)
Jodie Sweetin Releases Statement After Getting Pushed By Officers at Pro-Choice Protest: “This Will Not Deter Us”
“Love everyone out there in the streets fighting for what’s right,” she wrote on Instagram.
Actress Pushed at Protest
After viral footage showed Jodie Sweetin getting pushed to the ground by officers with the Los Angeles Police Department while attending a pro-choice protest, the “Full House” actress said demonstraters “will continue fighting” for their rights.
Sweetin was attending a protest off the 101 freeway on Saturday following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Photojournalist Mike Ade, who captured the video, said the actress was “trying to lead a group of peaceful protestors away from the freeway” when officers pushed her. Sweetin was standing on a curb when she was pushed and fell down on the cement road. Ade wrote that she was “fortunately…okay.”
Ade shared a handful of other videos depicting officers using similar tactics on other protesters. As these videos started circulating online, many became outraged by the LAPD’s response to the protests.
Sweetin Addresses Incident
Following the incident, Sweetin released a statement where she said the fight against the court’s decision is not over.
“I’m extremely proud of the hundreds of people who showed up yesterday to exercise their First Amendment rights and take immediate action to peacefully protest the giant injustices that have been delivered from our Supreme Court,” Sweetin said. “Our activism will continue until our voices are heard and action is taken. This will not deter us, we will continue fighting for our rights. We are not free until ALL of us are free.”
Sweetin also shared footage of the incident and other clips of officers clashing with protesters on her Instagram story. She cheered protesters in a comment on a video of the push shared by a social justice group called The Progressivists.
“Love everyone out there in the streets fighting for what’s right,” she wrote.
According to a statement obtained by Deadline, the LAPD is looking into the matter.
“The LAPD is aware of a video clip of a woman being pushed to the ground by officers not allowing the group to enter on foot and overtake the 101 freeway,” the statement said. “The force used will be evaluated against the LAPD’s policy and procedure.”
See what others are saying: (Deadline) (Rolling Stone) (The Hollywood Reporter)
Dave Chappelle Decides Against Having Former High School’s Theater Named After Him
“The idea that my name will be turned into an instrument of someone else’s perceived oppression is untenable to me,” the comedian reportedly said.
Theater Named Announced
Comedian Dave Chappelle opted on Monday to not have the theater at his alma mater high school named after him, according to a report from The Washington Post.
The Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C. previously planned to name its theater in honor of Chappelle, as he is a distinct alum and donor. While Chappelle formerly said such a gesture would be “the most significant honor of [his] life,” he announced during Monday’s naming ceremony that it would bear a different title.
The school’s theater will instead be called the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression.
A naming ceremony was initially set to take place in November, but was postponed after the comedian began facing backlash for transphobic jokes in his Netflix special “The Closer.”
Among other things, he said he was “Team TERF,” which stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist. He also made a joke about Caitlyn Jenner and remarks comparing the genitalia of transgender women to Beyond and Impossible meat.
The jokes embroiled Chappelle in controversy, and reports claimed that some students at Duke Ellington took issue with the comments. When Chappelle ended up visiting the school amid the scandal, Politico reported that one student told the comedian, “I’m 16 and I think you’re childish, you handled it like a child.”
Chappelle Defends Controversial Special
According to The Post, Chappelle said the criticism against him “sincerely” hurt, but added that “the Ellington Family is my family.” He claimed he did not want the theater being named after him to distract students.
“The idea that my name will be turned into an instrument of someone else’s perceived oppression is untenable to me,” he said according to Josh Rogin, a columnist for the outlet.
Rogin also tweeted that Chappelle took time out of the ceremony to slam the criticisms levied against him, accusing upset students of promoting someone else’s agenda.
“These kids didn’t understand that they were instruments of oppression,” he reportedly said.
“You cannot report on an artist’s work and remove artistic nuance,” Chappelle continued while denouncing the press coverage of his Netflix special.
According to David Frum, a staff writer for The Atlantic who attended the ceremony, Chappelle suggested he was open to potentially adding his name to the theater at a later date when the community is ready.