David Dobrik Uploads Second Apology Video Over Vlog Squad Sexual Assault Allegations
- More major brands, including SeatGeek, said they will no longer be working with YouTuber David Dobrik after Dom Zeglaitis, a member of Dobrik’s Vlog Squad, was accused of raping a girl during a night of filming with the group in 2018.
- Late Monday night, Dobrik issued his second video response to the claim, this time saying he believes the accuser and should have never uploaded the video he filmed the night of the alleged assault.
- Dobrik also apologized for past offensive content he made and for supporting Zeglaitis in the past when other women accused him of sexual misconduct.
- He said he will be taking a break from social media and plans to change the way his content is made in the future to ensure that people in his videos can communicate discomfort in a safe and secure manner.
Brands Pull Partnerships with David Dobrik
YouTuber David Dobrik uploaded a video late Monday night once again addressing allegations that a member of his Vlog Squad raped a 20-year-old woman in 2018 while filming a video for the group.
Last week, Insider published a lengthy investigation detailing the alleged account of a woman who said Dobrik’s friend, Dom Zeglaitis, raped her when she was too drunk to consent. Zeglaitis, known by his fans as “Durte Dom,” has not addressed the allegations, but since they came to light, Dobrik has lost partnerships with major brands. He also stepped away from his biggest business venture yet, Dispo, a photo-sharing social media app that he co-founded.
As of Monday, several more companies told Insider that they will not be working with Dobrik in the future, including HBO Max, Facebook, Audible, Bumble and more. SeatGeek, one of Dobrik’s most notable partnerships, also told TubeFilter on Monday that it is “not currently working with David Dobrik or the Vlog Squad, nor do we have any future planned campaigns.”
This wave of backlash also comes after several former members of the Vlog Squad started speaking out about its toxic and “cult-like” culture. One former member, Seth Francois, said he was sexually assaulted during two “prank” videos Dobrik orchestrated to trick Francois into kissing fellow Vlog Squadder Jason Nash, who was 45-years-old at the time.
Dobrik previously addressed the rape allegation, Francois’ story, and other controversies within the Vlog Squad in a video titled “Let’s Talk” that was slammed online. Many found the apology to be too brief and insincere. Others were upset it was uploaded to his smaller podcast channel as opposed to his main channel.
Dobrik Addresses Allegations
Dobrik’s second apology, by contrast, is over seven-minute-long video and was shared on his main channel. In it, he acknowledged that his first video fell short and took more ownership of issues within the Vlog Squad. He said that while he was unaware of the alleged rape, he should have been more responsible and involved so that he could prevent situations like that from happening. He also said he should not have posted the video that was filmed that night.
“I fully believe the woman who came out against Dom and said she was raped by him, as was reported,” he said. “The next day I got consent to post the video. Even though I got consent to post that video I should have never posted it.
“And what I understand now and I didn’t understand before is that she sent that text because she felt like she had to, not because she wanted to. And that’s f**ked up and I’m sorry,” he continued.
In Insider’s piece, the accuser said she felt pressured to go along with jokes made by members of the Vlog Squad and felt like she could not say “no” to them. In his video, Dobrik said that he did not previously understand that there was an uneven power dynamic that outsiders would feel when they came to film with the Vlog Squad.
“I want to apologize to her and her friends for ever putting them in an environment that I enabled that made them feel like their safety and values were compromised,” he said.
“People felt like they had to stay silent for the sake of my video. And that’s not right and it’s f**ked up and I’m sorry.”
He also addressed previous sexual harassment allegations made against Zeglaitis in the past. Specifically, he apologized to YouTuber Ally Hardesty who said that Zeglaitis groped her and forcibly kissed her in 2017. Zeglaitis eventually made a video addressing his inappropriate behavior with women, which Dobrik supported by commenting that he was “proud” of his friend for “owning up” to his behavior. Now, he says he regrets taking Zeglaitis’ side.
“I couldn’t wrap my head around a childhood friend of mine doing this to people and actually hurting people and I’m sorry for that,” Dobrik added. “Not only did I discredit you Ally, but I platformed Dom. And not only did I platform Dom, I platformed the subject of sexual assault in a negative way where I made jokes about it.”
He said that in 2019, when he started to understand how certain power dynamics were unfair, he began to distance himself from Zeglaitis and stopped making content with him, but fell short of reaching out to the women who had accused him of inappropriate behavior. He apologized for never contacting them.
Dobrik also addressed other offensive content he had made in the past and took ownership for what he had previously described as “bad jokes” that “missed the mark” in his initial apology.
“Before my content shifted to be responsible and positive, I said things that were really offensive and I called them ‘bad jokes’ and I can’t even call them ‘bad jokes,’” he explained. “That was cowardly of me to say in that last apology that ‘I missed the mark’ because it’s fucking gross and I’m sorry.”
Dobrik said he will be taking a break from social media and wants to change the way his production is structured when he returns.
“I want to be able to have a place of checks and balances, I want to have HR, and I want people to be able to communicate discomfort in a way that is comfortable to them,” he said.
Other Vlog Squad Members Speak Out
Several people in Dobrik’s circle also responded to the allegations on Monday, including his former assistant and business partner, Natalie Mariduena.
“I’m upset and angry and do not condone the behavior detailed in the article or any sexual misconduct/abuse for that matter,” she wrote. “I want to make it clear that I acknowledge, hear and support those who came forward and I stand by the victims.”
Vlog Squadders Erin Gilfoy and Carly Incontro posted a video on Monday saying that while they were not there the night the alleged rape occurred, they hope everyone involved in the situation takes accountability.
“We think it’s disgusting what happened and none of that is okay. I just hope that her abuser gets to face the entire full consequence of all of this,” Incontro said.
“I hope that [the accuser] is healing from this situation and I hope that she is able to get justice and the help to just heal from it all,” Gilfoy added later in the video.
See what others are saying: (Insider) (TubeFilter) (Washington Post)
Max to Agrees to “Properly” Credit Writers and Directors After Facing Backlash For Lumping Them in As “Creators”
The company said the credits were laid out incorrectly due to “an oversight in the technical transition from HBO Max to Max.”
After film and television writers slammed Max for crediting all writers, producers, and directors as general “creators” on its platform, the company said it will be adjusting its credits display.
“We agree that the talent behind the content on Max deserve their work to be properly recognized,” the streaming service said in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
Max — the new rebrand of HBO Max that incorporates Discovery content — launched on Tuesday to much criticism. Amid glitches and app-switching confusion, the biggest backlash it faced was over the choice to lump creative roles into one credit section called “creators.” As one viral tweet noted, if a user were to select the film “Raging Bull,” the service’s display would not specifically credit Martin Scorsese as the director, rather, his name would be included at random with half a dozen other people, including writers and producers.
The decision was condemned by many in the industry who argued it minimizes writers and directors by not properly giving them credit where it is due. Especially amid the ongoing writers’ strike, and with directors and actors starting negotiations with studios, some took it as a slap in the face.
“The studios don’t want anyone to know our names,” writer Christina Strain tweeted. “It’s easier to pay us nothing if we’re faceless.”
“Another move from studios to diminish the role of writers, directors, actors and other craftspeople. Miss me wit this nonsense,” Jorge Rivera, the Vice-Chair of the Writers Guild’s Latinx Writers Committee, added.
In a statement, Directors Guild President Lesli Linka Glatter said that Warner Bros. Discovery’s choice to “collapse” these roles into one credit “while we are in negotiations with them is a grave insult to our members and our union.”
“The DGA will not stand for it,” Glatter continued.
WGA West President Meredith Stiehm claimed the move was “a credits violation,” as well as an insult “to the artists that make the films and TV shows that make their corporation billions.”
On Wednesday, Max said it would rework its crediting.
“We will correct the credits, which were altered due to an oversight in the technical transition from HBO Max to Max and we apologize for this mistake,” the platform said.
See what others are saying: (Gizmodo) (The Hollywood Reporter) (The Los Angeles Times)
A Quarter of Young British Men Support Andrew Tate’s Thoughts on Women
U.K. residents at large, however, do not view him favorably.
Even under house arrest in Romania, misogynist influencer Andrew Tate still holds substantial sway over young men.
According to data from YouGov that was obtained by The Independent, 26% of U.K. men between 18 and 29 years old who know of Tate agree with his views on women. That figure was largely the same for men between 30 and 39, as 28% agreed with Tate’s opinions on the subject.
Men in their 30s were slightly more likely to agree with Tate on his thoughts about masculinity. Three out of ten supported those views, compared to just a quarter of men 18 to 29.
Those statistics only include the thoughts of men who have heard of Tate, but per YouGov, most have. In the 18 to 29 group, 93% were familiar with him, and 86% of men in their 30s knew of him.
The U.K. at large was less aware of Tate, with just 63% of British adults having heard of him. Of that group, only 6% held a positive view of him.
Tate has faced substantial backlash for his sexist rhetoric over the years. In the past, he said that men should have “authority” over their wives or girlfriends, and that women should “bear some responsibility” for being raped. He was previously banned from Twitter over his extremist views on women but has since been allowed back on the platform.
He is currently being investigated in Romania for organized crime and human trafficking. He was arrested and held in custody in December but was released to house arrest earlier this year. No formal charges have been filed against him yet and he has maintained his innocence.
Tate currently boasts a Twitter following of 6.7 million. It has grown significantly since he was enveloped in legal controversy, and many of his supporters have demanded his release.
See what others are saying: (The Independent) (Glamour U.K.)
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Involved in “Near Catastrophic” Paparazzi Chase
“While being a public figure comes with a level of interest from the public, it should never come at the cost of anyone’s safety,” a spokesperson for the couple said.
“Aggressive” Paparazzi Chase Couple in New York
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were involved in a “near catastrophic” paparazzi car chase Tuesday night in New York City, according to a spokesperson for the couple.
In a statement, the spokesperson described the photographers as “highly aggressive.”
“While being a public figure comes with a level of interest from the public, it should never come at the cost of anyone’s safety,” the statement added.
“This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers,” it continued.
Details of the incident are still emerging, but BBC News reported that there are claims the chase involved roughly six cars driving recklessly by running red lights, driving on the sidewalk, carrying out blocking moves, going backward on a one-way road, and taking pictures while driving.
The chase happened after Harry and Meghan were leaving the Women of Vision Awards with Meghan’s mother, Doria. They did not want photographers to learn where they were staying and attempted to avoid them in what turned into a 75-minute chase on a main road in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. They eventually ducked into a New York Police Department Precinct to hide out before getting into a different vehicle.
The NYPD released a statement confirming that they assisted in protecting the couple as “numerous photographers” hindered their transport. Officials said they made it to their destination and there were no collisions, injuries, or arrests.
The couple’s spokesperson is asking the public to not share or post footage of the incident.
“Dissemination of these images, given the ways in which they were obtained, encourages a highly intrusive practice that is dangerous to all in involved,” the spokesperson said.
Memories of Princess Diana
The chase evokes the brutal press hounding Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, was subjected to throughout her life. The paparazzi’s obsession with her ultimately resulted in her death in 1997, when she was killed in a car crash after being chased by photographers in Paris.
Since marrying Meghan and later bowing out of the Royal Family, Harry has made it explicitly clear that he fears those events could happen again. Meghan has been the subject of endless tabloid scrutiny, enduring racism and harassment from the press. Part of the reason they left the Royal Family was to keep their family protected from such attacks.
Mayor Eric Adams brought up Diana’s tragic passing while speaking about Tuesday night’s chase.
“I don’t think there’s many of us who don’t recall how [Harry’s] mom died,” Adams said while speaking to reporters. “And it would be horrific to lose an innocent bystander during a chase like this and something to have happened to them as well…I think that was a bit reckless and irresponsible.”
Adams also questioned whether or not he believes a chase could go on for two hours in a city as congested as New York, but noted that even a 10-minute chase would be dangerous. He said he will be briefed on the exact timeline and details later.