YouTuber David Dobrik quits app after rape video claim

By Cristina Criddle
Technology reporter

YouTube star David Dobrik has stepped down from an app he co-founded, following a rape allegation about a former video contributor.

One woman who appeared in a video on Mr Dobrik’s channel says she was raped by another person involved during filming.

Mr Dobrik, who has almost 19 million subscribers on the platform, denies any wrongdoing.

But the claim has led brands and investors to “sever ties” with the influencer.

Mr Dobrik rose to fame through prank videos, sometimes in collaboration with a number of other YouTubers called the Vlog Squad.

During the coronavirus pandemic, he stepped back from posting regularly on YouTube, in order to launch his own photo app Dispo.

A recent investigation published by Kate Tenbarge at the business news website Insider, detailed the woman’s account of rape in 2018 by a – now former – Vlog Squad member.

‘Sever all ties’

Since the claims, support for the app and Mr Dobrik has collapsed.

Venture capital firm and a leading investor in the app, Spark Capital, announced it would “sever all ties” with the company. View original tweet on Twitter

Mr Dobrik then announced he would step down from the board of Dispo “to not distract from the company’s growth,” the Information news site reported. 

As a YouTube influencer, Mr Dobrik made millions of dollars through sponsorship deals.

Hello Fresh, EA Sports and HBO Max are among brands to have dropped him.

The allegations

In the account, published in Insider, a woman alleged she was raped during the filming of a Vlog Squad video in 2018.

She reportedly says she was given alcohol despite being under the legal age of 21, and became drunk to the point of unconsciousness.

Later, she said she was involved in group sex which included a Vlog Squad member, when she was too intoxicated to consent.

The video was published on Mr Dobrik’s channel, and 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.

“Consent is something that’s super, super-important to me,” Mr Dobrik added via a recent video posted to one of his YouTube channels,

“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.”

The accused former Vlog Squad member has not responded to requests for comment.

Police were not informed and no charges were filed against the alleged perpetrator, Insider said.

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