The David Dobrik scandal

Dobrik has lost many sponsors after he was allegedly complicit in a rape

Allison Hinrichs

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Dobrik is a 24-year-old influencer who gained fame from his comedic YouTube videos. The contents of his vlogs can range from crazy stunts and celebrity cameos to montages of drinking and partying.

Content warning: This article contains mentions of or references to sexism, sexual harassment and sexual assault.

If you do not know the popular YouTube vlogger, David Dobrik, you have either been living under a rock or you are old (no offense, you are aging beautifully).

Dobrik is a 24-year-old influencer who gained fame from his comedic YouTube videos. The contents of his vlogs can range from crazy stunts and celebrity cameos to montages of drinking and partying.

Just typical rich, frat boy behavior.

Many of his videos feature his friends, a.k.a. the Vlog Squad.

Dobrik was one of the most popular creators on YouTube, garnering millions of views on each video and gaining sponsorships with popular brands like SeatGeek, until he stopped posting videos in 2020.

With a net worth of $20 million, Dobrik was adored for his now-stale allure and affinity for pranks. Even if they didn’t watch his videos, most Gen Zers knew his name.

I’m sure most of you don’t care about YouTube drama, but this is about more than that. If anything this is a horrifying reminder that no one really knows what’s going on when the cameras aren’t rolling.

Recently, an article from Business Insider came out and said a woman, using the pseudonym “Hannah,” came forward accusing Vlog Squad member Dominykas Zeglaitis (known to the public as “Durte Dom”) of raping her while she was intoxicated.

Hannah, who was 20 at the time, said she and her friends were invited by Zeglaitis to meet the Vlog Squad and Dobrik.

Hannah and her friends were chosen to appear in one of Dobrik’s skits for his vlog. The skit would star Zeglaitis as “Durte Dom,” a sex addict who was going to have an orgy with Hannah and her friends.

Hannah said she was given alcohol even though she was underage. She said she recalled Dobrik filming everything that night, including a very inebriated Hannah going into Zeglaitis’ room, where the assault took place. 

The video, which has since been deleted, was posted to YouTube and amassed over 5 million views.

I was one of the people who watched this video when it was first published. In fact, I watched it multiple times. When I was in high school I used to be a fan of Dobrik’s videos. When I watched this video years ago, I saw nothing wrong with it — I probably even laughed at it.

Watching the video now, all I feel is shame.

After the video was posted, Hannah asked Dobrik to take it down. Although Dobrik did as she asked, it was too late.

The worst part is this was all for views: Dobrik profited off her trauma and millions of viewers were entertained by it.

Dobrik brands himself as a nice guy — he doesn’t drink but encourages his friends to get wasted so he can film them making fools of themselves for views. He doesn’t engage in any of the sexual skits he makes, but often has his “friends” perform skits they are uncomfortable with just for the attention.

Dobrik did not directly assault Hannah, but he was the reason she was in that situation. According to Dankanator, there have been dozens of other women that have come forward since the Business Insider article was published, saying they were sexually assaulted by Zeglaitis as well.

Dobrik originally came out with a superficial apology which received a lot of negative reactions. Only after he lost most of his sponsors did he finally give a proper apology.

That’s where this story ends. 

This scandal has forced me to take a hard look at myself and my part in this assault. I was not there, I did not film it or commit the crime but I, along with millions of others watched the video and saw nothing wrong with it at the time.

Growing up is realizing how much society has affected your perception of what’s right and wrong. This patriarchal society wants us to ignore that this is happening, behind the scenes, behind the camera. 

It’s up to us as consumers to take accountability for our part in it and to “re-learn” that this is not how the world has to be. We have the power to hold people accountable for their actions and to end this pattern of abuse.

Hinrichs can be reached at [email protected].