- 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)
Disney Says Talent Deals Must Change Amid Pandemic as It Battles Scarlett Johansson Lawsuit
CEO Bob Chapek said talent is Disney’s “most important asset” and claimed the company is undergoing a “reset” regarding its contracts.
Bob Chapek Says Talent Contracts Are Going Through a Reset
Disney CEO Bob Chapek said Tuesday that going forward, talent contracts at the studio “will have to reflect the fact that the world is changing.”
His remarks come as Disney battles a lawsuit from actress Scarlett Johansson alleging breach of contract for her work on “Black Widow.” While making his claims at a virtual Goldman Sachs conference, Chapek did not mention Johansson by name, but he did directly address the issues Hollywood is facing when it comes to compensating talent amid the pandemic.
As COVID-19 halted filmgoing, many movies expected to be box office hits were instead released directly to streaming, while others were released in theaters and on streaming platforms the same day. These models are drastically different from the exclusive theatrical release that films and the stars in them have come to expect over the last several decades.
“We’re sort of putting a square peg in a round hole right now where we’ve got a deal conceived under a certain set of conditions, that actually results in a movie that is being released in a completely different set of conditions,” Chapek said during the conference via numerous reports. “So there’s a bit of a reset that’s going on right now, and ultimately we’ll think about that as we do our future talent deals and plan for that and make sure that that’s incorporated.”
“But right now, we’ve got sort of this middle position where we’re trying to do right by the talent,” he added. “I think the talent’s trying to do right by us, and we’re just sort of figuring out our way to bridge the gap.”
Chapek also referred to talent as Disney’s “most important asset” and said that historically, the company has had a “very symbiotic” relationship with its talent regarding the deals they strike together.
Scarlett Johansson Vs. Disney
That symbiotic relationship is now being put to the test by Johanssen, who hit Disney with a lawsuit in July over its decision to release her “Black Widow” standalone picture for a premium fee on Disney+ the same day it hit the big screen. The actress claims that her contract guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release for the film and that her salary was largely based on what it grossed at the box office. Because viewers had the option to purchase it for streaming at home, she claims she did not see “the full benefit” of her deal.
Disney claimed the lawsuit had no merit. It also released a scathing statement saying that Johansson’s legal effort showed a “callous disregard” for the harmful and prolonged effects of COVID-19, especially since she allegedly received $20 million upfront for “Black Widow.”
Disney is hoping to solve the matter via private arbitration. Johannson’s legal team wants to take the dispute to court.
So far, “Black Widow” has raked in $377 million worldwide. It broke pandemic box office records during its opening weekend but still has not made nearly as much as it likely would have prior to the pandemic.
As for whether or not the dual release strategy actually tanked the film’s earnings, that is hard to say. By comparison though, Marvel’s “Shang-Chi,” which was released exclusively in theaters, is already set to catch up to “Black Widow” at the box office. The film has been out for just under a month and has already made $306 million worldwide.
While many expected to see other A-list actors follow Johannson’s lead and likewise file lawsuits against studios who threw their titles on streaming, so far Disney has had seemingly no issue striking more deals with its talent. In the past several months, it has locked in sequels with stars like Emma Stone, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Emily Blunt.
See what others are saying: (The Wrap) (The Hollywood Reporter) (Los Angeles Times)
Alissa Violet Sues FaZe Clan Over Stock It Allegedly Owes Her
The social media star says she was promised stock in FaZe Clan as part of a previous settlement but has yet to receive her shares.
Alissa Violet Sues FaZe Clan
Social media influencer Alissa Marie Violet Butler, known online as Alissa Violet, is suing digital entertainment and esports collective FaZe Clan over stock she is allegedly owed.
According to a Monday report from The Washington Post, Butler’s case stems from a previous lawsuit that involved both her and FaZe Clan. The report says that in 2018, Butler transferred her shares in a media company she co-founded called Clout Gang to a different company called Hubrick Limited as part of an agreement with FaZe Clan. At the time, Hubrick and FaZe Clan were partnering to develop both businesses.
Per The Post, several other FaZe Clan members were part of a similar exchange where they transferred their FaZe Clan shares for Hubrick shares as well. The partnership between the two companies crumbled, however, leading to a legal frenzy. Butler, FaZe Clan, Clout Gang, and more ended up accusing Hubrick of fraud in a lawsuit. Hubrick tossed the allegation right back at them in a countersuit.
To resolve the matters, The Post says Butler and FaZe Clan “entered into an oral agreement to settle the lawsuits with Hubrick,” which involved Butler giving up her Hubrick stock and dropping her claims against the company. In return, she would then receive FaZe Clan common stock.
Butler says that despite holding up her end of the bargain, she has still not received stock in FaZe Clan.
Responses to Lawsuit
Butler has over 10 million followers on Instagram and another 3.7 million subscribers on YouTube. She has had a career in modeling and picked up a handful of acting credits in television shows and music videos. She previously dated the co-owner of FaZe Clan, FaZe Banks.
According to The Post, FaZe Clan is valued at around $300 million.
“If Faze Clan simply abided by its promise to compensate her, Alissa would not have had to sue Faze Clan,” Butler’s attorney, Bryan Freedman, said to The Post.
FaZe Clan defended itself in a statement to the outlet, saying it “denies generally and specifically each and every allegation contained in the Complaint.”
FaZe Clan CEO Lee Trink also sent an email to The Post claiming that the matter will likely be resolved.
“Stories get created out of any disagreement or dispute, big or small,” he wrote. “On this particular matter we’re in close communication and confident it’ll be resolved amicably.”
It is unclear how much Butler is seeking in her suit.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post )(Dexerto) (Esports.com)
Priyanka Chopra Jonas Says “The Activist” Reality Series “Got It Wrong”
The controversial series is now being reworked into a documentary, which Chopra Jonas hopes will better “highlight the actions and impact” of global activists.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas Apologizes For “The Activist”
Actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas responded to controversies surrounding “The Activist,” a CBS reality competition series she was slated to co-host that is now being reworked following widespread backlash.
“The Activist” was going to show real activists competing against one another in various challenges in an effort to promote their philanthropic causes. After many expressed disgust at the premise, CBS said it would scrap the footage already shot and turn the idea into a one-time documentary special highlighting the work and impacts of different activists.
“The show got it wrong, and I’m sorry that my participation in it disappointed many of you,” Chopra Jonas wrote on Instagram. “The intention was always to bring attention to the people behind the ideas and highlight the actions and impact of the causes they support tirelessly. I’m happy that in this new format, their stories will be the highlight.”
“I’m proud to collaborate with partners who have their ear to the ground and know when it’s time to hit pause and re-evaluate,” she added.
Chopra Jonas closed her post by thanking the “global community of activists” for their hard work, which often goes unacknowledged.
Controversies Surrounding “The Activist”
Musician Usher and dancer Julianne Hough were cast to host alongside Chopra Jonas. After a release announcing the show and their casting went out last week, it was slammed online by activists and journalists alike.
Actress and activist Jameela Jamil wrote that the network would have been better off donating the presumably large production costs to charity instead of “turning activism into a game.”
Women’s activist Gina Martin thought turning charity into a competition was counterintuitive, arguing “the whole *essense* of activism is solidarity and community.”
Writers from The Verge, The Washington Post, Essence, and countless other outlets likewise published pieces slamming the program. The Post’s Michele L. Norris accused CBS of “trying to capitalize on the current avalanche of doom in the daily news cycle.”
Norris added that the show’s “prize,” which was to attend the G20 summit in Italy, boiled down to activists fighting “merely for the right to crash an international conference and try to shake down world leaders for cash.”
Responses From Those Involved
Chopra Jonas is not the only host to address the criticism. Before the idea was canned, Hough wrote a lengthy Instagram post saying she was listening to the dialogue regarding the program.
“There is a feeling of insult, dehumanization, insensitivity and hurt that is being rightfully felt,” she wrote.
“I do not claim to be an activist and wholeheartedly agree that the judging aspect of the show missed the mark and furthermore, that I am not qualified to act as a judge,” she added, though she stopped short of actually stepping down from the gig.
CBS ended up releasing a joint statement with Global Citizen and Live Nation acknowledging the failings of the concept.
“It has become apparent the format of the show as announced distracts from the vital work these incredible activists do in their communities every day,” the statement said. “The push for global change is not a competition and requires a global effort.”
The statement said the new documentary will “showcase the tireless work of six activists and the impact they have advocating for causes they deeply believe in” without any competitive element.