David Dobrik has lost more than a dozen advertisers and 300,000 YouTube subscribers over the past week after a report detailed a rape allegation against a former member of his vlogging crew.
Business Insider found that 11 brands, including HelloFresh, EA Sports, Dollar Shave Club, and Facebook say they are no longer working with him. PopCrave reports that Chipotle, which recently named a burrito after Dobrik, has dropped him. And TubeFilter reports that SeatGeek — previously one of Dobrik’s biggest advertisers, having sponsored a number of videos in which he gives away cars to friends and family — also says it does not have plans to work with him.
Advertisers are fleeing Dobrik’s channel following a report in Business Insider describing a rape allegation against Dom Zeglaitis, better known as Durte Dom. Zeglaitis, a former member of Dobrik’s Vlog Squad, is accused of raping a woman in the course of filming a video for Dobrik’s YouTube channel in 2018. Portions of the encounter were posted to YouTube and later taken down at the woman’s request. Dobrik said in a video posted early this morning that he stopped filming with Zeglaitis in 2019.
The report followed another allegation of sexual assault by a former member of the Vlog Squad. BuzzFeed reported in February that Joseth “Seth” Francois said he was tricked into kissing someone as part of a “prank” video for Dobrik’s channel in 2017.
Like many major YouTubers whose popularity exploded in the mid-to-late 2010s, Dobrik’s channel grew in part thanks to edgy videos that often involved salacious plotlines and immature pranks. As these creators have gained a bigger stage, those videos and other past behaviors have come under scrutiny.
Last June, several YouTubers addressed old racist videos as fans demanded accountability during the height of the Black Lives Matter protests. YouTube suspended ads on Shane Dawson’s channel over old racist videos, Target stopped carrying his book, and the makeup company Morphe dropped his products. Jenna Marbles stepped away from YouTube as part of an apology over past racist videos. And Dobrik also issued an apology for filming racist videos.
Dobrik has faced growing consequences as the result of these latest reports. In addition to advertisers fleeing his channel, he’s parted ways with the hot new camera app Dispo, which he co-founded, and he’s no longer a co-owner of the Angel City Football Club, a US women’s soccer team co-owned by a number of celebrities.
There are still 18 million people subscribed to Dobrik’s YouTube channel alone, so it’s not as though his audience is gone. But sponsors are a big part of the way that top YouTubers earn money, since it insulates them from the uncertainties of YouTube’s built-in advertising system. YouTube doesn’t appear to have taken action against Dobrik’s channel. The Verge has reached out for comment.
In his video this morning, Dobrik said he’ll be taking a short break from YouTube so he can add “infrastructure” to support his channel. That includes bringing on an HR person so people can “communicate discomfort in a way that’s comfortable to them.”