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Brands Cut Ties With Vlog Squad’s David Dobrik Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations

By Gary Symons

TLL Editor in Chief

At least 10 companies have dropped all ties with popular YouTube star David Dobrik and his troupe of video pranksters the ‘Vlog Squad’ after a Business Insider report chronicled allegations of sexual misconduct.

Dobrik is a comedian who pranks the unwary in Los Angeles with his Vlog Squad, and garnered millions of Youtube views. He put the show on hiatus during the pandemic and worked instead on the social media app Dispo, which has also removed him from the organization.

At least 10 companies have cut ties with Dobrik, including HelloFresh, SeatGeek, Dollar Shave Club, EA Sports, DoorDash, General Mills, HBO Max, Facebook, and Audible. The report is an absolute bombshell in the world of branding and licensing, involving two separate allegations of sexual misconduct. The most serious came from a woman who told Business Insider that she was raped by a former member of the Vlog Squad while filming a video with them in 2018.

Those allegations only arose after two other Vlog Squad participants made their own accusations of being humiliated in the videos. The first was made in an article that BuzzFeed published in late February in which former Vlog Squad member Joseth “Seth” Francois said he was sexually assaulted in one of Dobrik’s vlogs. The 2017 video was titled “HE THOUGHT HE WAS KISSING HER!! (SUPER CRINGEY),” and depicted Dobrik tricking Francois into kissing fellow YouTuber Jason Nash, while Francois thought he was kissing a woman.

“I honestly didn’t realize how much that situation affected me until the beginning of last year when covid happened,” Francois told BuzzFeed. “I remember sitting in my room in Atlanta and I was thinking to myself, ‘That video was wrong.’ I just felt like that shouldn’t have happened to me.”

Francois also said in one of his podcasts that he felt pressured to take part in videos that made him very uncomfortable, and he wasn’t the only one. “It was an unwritten thing where you see a pattern of people saying, ‘Yo, I’m uncomfortable with this,'” he said. “All of a sudden they disappear and they’re not in videos anymore.”

Another former member of the Vlog Squad, Nick Keswani, suffers from a rare form of dwarfism and is also blind in one eye. Keswani says he was regularly and brutally mocked in Dobrik’s videos. In February Keswani spoke out on the H3 podcast, saying, “I felt worthless being in those videos. I was like, Dude, why am I even like here? What’s the point in my existence? Because I was just treated like this punching bag.”

But the most serious accusations came from a young woman who took part in a Vlog Squad video in 2018, who says she was raped by Dominykas Zeglaitis. Those allegations have not been proven in court.

The woman, anonymized under the name ‘Hannah’ by Business Insider, said she and six friends agreed to take part in a video after talking to Zeglaitis via Instagram direct message. When they arrived at Dobrik’s home, she said, “I immediately felt really uncomfortable because I was under the impression that we were going to meet these cool creators, we were going to hang out, maybe film something.”

Instead, Hannah said, Zeglaitis later took her into a room and blocked her from leaving, asking her why she didn’t like him and wouldn’t date him. When she refused to “hook up” with him, he demanded a kiss. “I was getting really scared because he wasn’t letting me leave, my friends were in a totally different part of the house. I was, like, ‘What happens if I keep saying no?’ So I just gave him a kiss,” she said.

Hannah and her friends ended up drinking with the group. One friend told Business Insider that while Hannah was intoxicated, Zeglaitis took her back to the room and assaulted her. During the assault, other Vlog Squad members kept opening the door and trying to look in, Hannah’s friend told Business Insider. Hannah also provided video Business Insider that showed Dobrik being asked if he had “success” in seeing into the room. “No, he locked the door,” Dobrik responded.

While none of the allegations have not been proven in court, Dobrik has issued a lengthy apology to Seth Francois, and said he always tried to make sure people were comfortable with what they were filming.

“Consent is something that’s super super important to me, whether I’m shooting with a friend or shooting with a stranger,” Dobrik said in a video that appeared on his personal YouTube channel, rather than the Vlog Squad channel. “I always make sure that whatever video I’m putting out, I have the approval from that person.”

He later added,  “I also acknowledge that there’s times where a person can change their mind and they decide that they no longer want to…be in the video that I’m putting up, and then I’ll take the video down.”

Dobrik also specifically addressed the allegations made by Seth Francois, saying, “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, and I missed the mark with that one. And I’m really sorry, I truly truly am.”

Sorry or not, the impact has been devastating as several companies quickly cut ties with Dobrik. The ticketing platform SeatGeek said, “SeatGeek is not currently working with David Dobrik or the Vlog Squad, nor do we have any future planned campaigns.”

Dollar Shave Club, a longtime sponsor of Dobrik’s podcast ‘Views’, told the outlet it has “made the decision to end our relationship and cancel all planned activity.”

Another Views sponsor, DoorDash, said it “profoundly condemns the behavior of the Vlog Squad members…This horrific misconduct is incongruous with DoorDash’s values.”

A Hello Fresh spokesperson told The Washington Post, “We are no longer working with David Dobrik or any member of the Vlog Squad and do not have any plans to work with them again in the future.”

While Dobrik stepped down from his social media company Dispo, finance company Spark Capital, an early investor, announced that it was also cutting ties with the company.

“In light of recent news about the Vlog Squad and David Dobrik, the cofounder of Dispo, we have made the decision to sever all ties with the company,” the company said on Twitter. “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.”

At the time of writing some other companies had not yet commented on the Dobrik controversy or said whether they were cutting ties.

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