Warning: This article contains discussion around a rape allegation.
YouTuber David Dobrik has stepped down from Dispo, the app he co-founded, and has issued apology videos, following a rape allegation about his former ‘Vlog Squad’ associate Dominykas Zeglaitis, known online as Durte Dom.
It comes after Insider reported that a woman said she was raped by Zeglaitis in 2018 on the night they filmed a video about group sex that was published on Dobrik's YouTube channel.
The woman told Insider she was given alcohol despite being under the legal age of 21 and became drunk to the point of unconsciousness. She said she was involved in group sex which included a Vlog Squad member when she was too intoxicated to consent.
The video, which does not explicitly show the alleged incident, was published on Dobrik’s channel, then later removed.
"While our client is appalled by any misconduct attributed to [the former member of the Vlog Squad], assuming it is true, my client denies any wrongdoing," Mr Dobrik’s lawyer told Insider for the article.
Since the claims have become public knowledge, support for Dobrik and the app he founded, Dispo, has collapsed, with a leading investor severing all ties and Dobrik stepping down from Dispo's board. He has been dropped by brands including Hello Fresh, EA Sports and HBO Max.
In the first of two apology videos posted on YouTube, Dobrik said:
"Consent is something that's super, super important to me. Whether I am shooting with a friend, or I am shooting with a stranger, I make sure whatever video I am putting out, I have the approval from that person."
He went on to talk about the former associates he’s distanced himself from and apologise for letting anyone down.
In a more in-depth video posted on 23 March, specifically talking about the night of the alleged rape, Dobrik said he “fully believes” the woman who came forward with the allegation.
“As was reported, the next day I got consent to post that video. Even though I got the consent to post that video, I should have never posted it. What I understand now that I didn’t understand before is that she sent that text because she felt like she had to, not because she wanted to and that’s f**ked up and I’m sorry,” he said.
“When she later reached out a couple of months later to take the video down, I immediately took it down and I want to apologise to her and her friends for ever putting them in an environment that I enabled that made them feel like their safety and values were compromised and I’m so sorry.”
He went on to apologise for fostering “an unfair power dymanic” when filming and said that while he didn’t know “what was going on in that room… I should have been there and I should have been making sure that everybody involved was taken care of and comfortable.”
He also apologised to “other people who spoke out about Dom in 2018”, saying “I’m sorry that I didn’t believe you.”
Dobrik has said he’s taking a break from social media as he wants to ensure his content creation involves “checks and balances” and HR.
“With this situation, there’s a lot I can look at and a lot I can learn from but there’s a lot of mistakes I’ve made and I’m sorry,” he said.
“It doesn’t feel right to go back to posting like I have been and it also doesn’t feel right to go dark because I love what I do, but I think it is important to show that a change is possible.”
Cosmopolitan UK has contacted Dominykas Zeglaitis for comment.
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