A sincere apology?

YouTube star David Dobrik apologized for a second time regarding the sexual assault and rape allegations surrounding the name of his former Vlog Squad collaborator and childhood friend. During the seven minute YouTube video, Dobrik referred to his previous apology as a reflection, noting that it was insufficient. In the second video, titled “03/22/21”, he stepped forward and acknowledged the women that accused his longtime friend Dominykas Zeglaitis for sexual misconduct. The popular influencer also expressed regret for not stepping forward to address the problem earlier.

“I was completely disconnected from the fact that when people were invited to film videos with us, especially videos that relied on shock for views or whatever it was, that I was creating an unfair power dynamic. I did not know this before,” Dobrik mentioned in the emotional video posted on Tuesday to his 18 million subscribers.

“It was completely wrong and I wish I was more responsible and I wish I was more aware at the time and I’m so sorry I missed that,” he continued.

The video currently has 4.6 million views in less than 24 hours, and is constantly rising in numbers due to the extent the scandal has taken.

The Backstory 

On March 16th, 2021, Insider published an investigation claiming that Dom Zeglaitis raped a woman during the filming of one of Dobrik’s videos. The woman who shed light on the event remained anonymous, however she told Insider that Dobrik was present and knew when she was left alone drunk in a room with Zeglaitis. The woman stated that she was too drunk to even give consent that night, leading to her “blacking out.”

In another incident in February, former Vlog Squad member Joseth Francois, known as Seth online, told Buzzfeed News that he had been sexually assaulted during the filming of a “prank” video. In the occurrence, Dobrik was supposedly tricking Seth into thinking he was kissing fellow influencer and model Corinna Kopf, but in reality the person locking lips with him was Jason Nash.

On March 17th, Dobrik posted a video on his podcast channel swearing that he “doesn’t stand for any kind of misconduct,” highlighting that he had “distanced himself” from friends he believed “disappointed” him.

“Consent is something that’s super, super important to me. Whether I’m shooting with a friend or shooting with a stranger, I always make sure that, whatever the video I’m putting out, I have the approval from that person.”

Following the allegations, many brands which collaborated with Dobrik including Chipotle, EA Sports, HelloFresh, and DoorDash, have cut ties with him saying that they would not work with him again.

The Second Apology

The 24-year old began the video saying that he believes the woman accusing Dom Zeglaitis of rape, stating that he “should have never posted” the video discussed. He opened up about the misunderstanding behind the consent given to post the video.

“What I understand now, and I didn’t understand before, is that she [gave consent to post the video] because she felt like she had to. Not because she wanted to. And that’s fucked up, and I’m sorry.”

He continued by apologizing to the woman and her friends which were also present for placing them in that situation that made them feel unsafe. Later, he discussed how in 2019 he tried to make more positive content, however he didn’t manage to make up for his past mistakes.

“It breaks my heart, knowing I was doing all this stuff and making all this content while there was people that were still really hurt by what I made [before],” the YouTube star said.

The Unforgiving Responses

Since the video has been posted, it has received a lot of backlash as some described Dobrik’s apology as “insincere” and “late.” Twitter users commented saying that the only reason he is apologizing now is because he lost many of his sponsors, and this plea for forgiveness is a way of painting a more positive image of himself.

A Few Lighthearted Responses 

A few online users took more of an objective stance giving the victims an opportunity to decide whether to forgive Dobrik or not. Even though the positive responses were not many, the YouTuber still has a loyal fandom who show their support towards him, besides his mistakes.

In the conclusion of his video, Dobrik stated that he “might take a short break” from social media, in an attempt to create a system of “checks and balances” which will hold him accountable for any potentially harmful content.