David Dobrik Issues Apology amid Allegations of Rape and Assault Within the Vlog Squad
David Dobrik is speaking out amid the current controversy surrounding the Vlog Squad, his popular YouTube group.
On Tuesday, a report from Business Insider included allegations from a woman who reportedly said she was raped during production on a November 2018 Vlog Squad video that was later posted to Dobrik's page.
The woman, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the group provided her with alcohol to the point of blacking out. She said she was later involved in group sex with a former Vlog Squad member, but was too intoxicated to consent.
After the incident, the video titled "SHE SHOULD NOT HAVE PLAYED WITH FIRE!!" appeared on Dobrik's account, but was later deleted at the woman's request, Business Insider reported. The accused Vlog Squad member declined to comment to the outlet, and did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment. No charges have been brought.
Last month, another former Vlog Squad member, Seth Francois, spoke out about experiencing sexual assault while participating in the filming for a prank video. In the clip, Dobrik tells Francois he will be kissed by model Corinna Kopf wearing a disguise, but is instead kissed by 45-year-old comedian Jason Nash, a member of the squad.
During an episode of the H3 podcast in February, Francois described the incident as sexual assault and said that he was traumatized by the experience. He then further opened up about it in an interview with Buzzfeed News, sharing that what happened immediately felt "wrong" and he later called a sexual assault hotline, where his experience was validated.
He said he told both Dobrik and Nash how he was feeling, but they responded by offering him money to keep the video up. Francois declined and told them "Everything is going to be OK," he said.
Dobrik, 24, briefly addressed that incident in a video on Tuesday, titled "Let's Talk." The influencer disabled the comments and likes-to-dislikes ratio on the video, which was posted to his "Views" account with 1.67 million subscribers. His two main accounts, "David Dobrik" and "David Dobrik Too," have 18.8 and 8.73 million subscribers, respectively.
He began by saying that "consent" is "super, super important" to him before discussing Francois' experience.
"With the Seth situation, I'm sorry to Seth because, like I said, I just want to make videos where everybody in it whether you're participating or watching is enjoying and having a good time," he said. "I missed the mark with that one and I'm really sorry — I truly, truly am."
Without mentioning the reported rape allegation, Dobrik said he has distanced himself from the accused former member.
"With people in my life that I don't film with anymore, ... I chose to distance myself because I don't align with some of the actions and I don't stand for any kind of misconduct," he said. "I've been really disappointed by some of my friends and for that reason I've separated from a lot of them."
"I think with any video I make my main purpose is to make people happy and inspire people and I just never want anything to get in the way of that," Dobrik continued. "I'm sorry if I've let you down and things like that won't happen again and I learn from my mistakes and I also believe that actions speak a lot louder than words. You can take my word for it that I'm going to change but I'll also show you and I'll prove to you that the mistakes I made before won't be happening again."
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During his interview with Buzzfeed News, Francois, the only Black member of the Vlog Squad, also opened up about being subjected to racist and stereotyped bits, including one sketch where he was asked to open a refrigerator to find watermelon spilling out.
"At the end of the day, what I really wanted was respect. I'm tired of being in this social media space, being one of the few Black people working in front of the scenes and also behind the scenes," he told the outlet. "It's all the times I would have to do something degrading to myself or my race in order to be in the room."
Dobrik did not specifically address the allegations by Francois of racism or sexual assault in his Tuesday apology.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.