David Dobrik Under Fire for Sexual Assault Claims


Courtesy of David Dobrik/YouTube.com

David Dobrik and the Vlog Squad are under controversy for sexual assault allegations.

Caroline Kaynor, Staff Writer

David Dobrik and the “Vlog Squad,” one of the most prominent social media groups of our generation, are currently under heat in light of newly surfaced sexual assault allegations. Dobrik and his squad rose to YouTube fame in 2017, trademarked by their fast-paced, half scripted videos, and have since accumulated 18.9 million subscribers. However, nearly 100,000 of those subscribers have been lost since Insider published an investigation earlier this month regarding rape allegations against Dom Zeglaitis, a former member of the Vlog Squad. While the recent controversies surrounding Dobrik and the Vlog Squad play into the vicious pattern of men abusing power to take advantage of women, they also bring to light a new, equally severe pattern that our generation is the first to face. Though devastating, Dobik and the Vlog Squad serve as a principle example of what happens when wealth and fame are acquired too young, too quickly and too publicly. 

A college student at the time, a woman who chooses to stay anonymous under the alias “Hannah” went with her friends to hang out with the Vlog Squad and film a video in 2018. In the since deleted video, titled “SHE SHOULD NOT HAVE PLAYED WITH FIRE!!,” Zeglaitis (nicknamed Durte Dom) jokes that he invited four of the girls over to have a foursome. Because Zeglaitis is overtly sexual in his online presence, the women were unsure if he was being serious or not, but were “up for an adventure.” However, adventure turned trauma for Hannah as she became incapacitated by alcohol the Vlog Squad provided, since she and her friends were not of legal drinking age. 

In an interview with Insider, Hannah “accused Zeglaitis of rape by engaging in sexual activity with her that night while she was so incapacitated by alcohol that she could not consent.” While Zeglaitis has since declined to comment, Dobrik released a video in response titled “Let’s talk.” In the video, Dobrik emphasizes his value of consent and explains why he chose to distance himself from people like Zeglaitis, whose misconduct and behavior has caused perfuse disappointment.  

While it is easy to categorize this as the latest example of power abuse or “cancel culture,” Hannah’s experience with Durte Dom and Dobrik’s Vlog Squad is one that speaks to a new issue unique to our generation. Dobrik and Durte Dom were both on the cusp of their twenties when they quickly rose to wealth and fame through platforms like Vine, Twitter and YouTube. Dobrik, Durte Dom and the entire Vlog Squad have arguably acquired more money and fame in a shorter period of time than others before them. 

Both blessed and cursed with social media as their platform, the gang (as well as other internet famous icons) no longer have to deal with extended waits of contacts, agents or producers. For the first time ever, wealth and fame can be as easily and quickly acquired as uploading a video. As platforms of social and sharing media have continued to grow, so have influencers’ net worths. While Dobrik himself has used his influence largely for good, such as Tesla giveaways and large sum donations to organizations such as Black Lives Matter, generosity is not always the case. 

The instantaneous fame celebrities are able obtain overnight in this day in age removes the waiting period not just for the mechanics of the entertainment industry and the opportunity for a rising celebrity to learn how to handle, cope and adjust to fame. This is unfortunately the case with Durte Dom. On that regrettable night that Hannah and her friends came over to film, his taking advantage of fame and influence unfortunately manifested itself into taking advantage of Hannah.

The accusation against Durte Dom is not an example of “cancel culture” and cannot be excused with “boys will be boys,” as society has prescribed similar accusations for too long. It is an example of a new influencer epidemic our generation is facing. Hannah’s story is a testimony to all of those who will follow, and society’s response to accusations today will determine the fate of events of the future. It is the users of the internet and social media that promoted Dobrik and his Vlog Squad’s fame, and it is up to the same group to determine repercussions for Durte Dom’s actions.