David Dobrik Deserves the Wrath of Cancel Culture


On March 16, Dobrik released an apology video on his least popular YouTube account, “Views.” (Courtesy of Facebook)

Social media must stop considering severe crimes, like rape, as mere drama. It is unacceptable to coin David Dobrik’s Vlog Squad rape allegations as drama. 

David Dobrik and his Vlog Squad members were accused of rape potrayed partly in a 2018 video. It is said that Dobrik and his team purchased alcohol for a 20-year-old woman and four others, encouraging the underage woman to become intoxicated. The victim, who remains anonymous, was severely intoxicated while engaging in a threesome with Vlog Squad member Durte Dom. Consent is mandatory, and anyone who is blackout drunk cannot voice what they do or do not want. 

On March 16, Dobrik released an apology video on his least popular YouTube account, “Views.” The channel has only 1.7 million subscribers, compared to his main account dubbed “David Dobrik,” which has 18 million subscribers. Once he realized that he would lose sponsorships, Dobrik released a second apology video on his main channel on March 22. There was a significant lapse in time between his apology videos. It seems that once Dobrik started losing sponsorships after his first apology, he opted for a seemingly more sincere approach. Dobrik wanted viewers to believe that he was genuinely apologetic, but I think it is all just a show. After all, the YouTuber’s channel is based on creating content his viewers want to see. 

The initial apology, which was released on his least popular page, demonstrated how he tried to underplay his role in the rape. Instead of admitting to his complacency and acknowledging Dom’s rape allegations, somehow Dobrik found a way to point the blame away from himself. He did not issue a genuine apology. The deflecting of the rape allegations considering his actual role in the situation is absurd. The YouTuber should have accepted his position in the case. He should have admitted giving alcohol to an underage woman and acknowledged that he let Dom take advantage of her. Dobrik mentioned that consent is essential but never mentioned Dom and the lack of consent between the two.

After the rape allegation came to light, many companies dropped Dobrik from their partnerships, including Hello Fresh and DoorDash. Many individuals are concerned that Dobrik should not be dropped from his many partnerships, as he was not the one who committed the rape. Though Dobrik is not accused of raping the young woman, he was involved with her intoxication and allowed her to be taken advantage of while in a highly inebriated state. This situation could have easily been prevented if Dobrik had chosen to intervene. 

Dobrik mentioned that he distanced himself from Dom, but that does not mean that he is any less responsible for the situation. Dobrik took a step back from Dom too late; just because they are no longer involved does not erase the rape that happened that evening. People have not bought Dobrik’s apology, and neither have I. He was complacent in letting the rape occur. He could have stepped in and noticed the 20-year-old girl was too drunk to consent. But Dobrik just wanted it for the vlog. It seems like consent was less important to the Vlog Squad than getting mass amounts of views. 

More often than not, YouTubers have portrayed attitudes that they are invincible. Their vast followings boost their egos, and they assume they can do no wrong. Instead of taking accountability for their actions, they muster up a lackluster apology, lay low for a few months and then continue with their problematic antics. This rape allegation is probably not the first occurrence of Dobrik being a complacent bystander. 

Various social media platforms are plastered with posts of Dobrik being canceled. The hashtags #DavidDobrikIsCanceled and #DavidDobrikIsOverParty have gained traction on TikTok, showing people throwing away Dobrik’s merch or upcycling it. But “canceling” Dobrik is not enough. His ostracization will be temporary, and in a few months, he will continue creating content. He needs to be held accountable for remaining a bystander during a rape. YouTubers should not have the ability to seemingly “bounce back” after scandals such as this. Thankfully, YouTube has taken action to demonetize David Dobrik’s videos and halt his promotion. As a result, Dobrik will no longer receive payment for views on any of his three channels. Dobrik should not have the ability to regain any of his fame.

How much longer will YouTube house predatorial creators that are merely canceled for months at a time before their resurgence? More is needed from “cancel culture.” Only once cancel culture entails pursuing legal action will it be enough to cancel David Dobrik.

Elizabeth Hoffman, GSB ’23, is an information systems major from Basking Ridge, N.J.