by Angelina Zervos
You know you’re up to some slimy stuff when two of the internet’s biggest trolls start a campaign against you that results in several of your sponsors and investors pulling out from your billion-dollar app and media channels. This is the situation David Dorbrik, one of the most successful YouTube stars, has found himself in. Ethan Klein of H3H3Productions, best known for being the creator of “Vape Nation” and other parody and call-videos, and Trisha Paytas, best known for … mukbangs, crying on the floor videos, and general over-the-top trolling videos, have recently shone a light on several allegations being made against David Dobrik and the circle of creators he surrounds himself with.
Klein and Paytas have each been “cancelled” several times over, but after banding together to create their podcast “Frenemies,” they’ve regained the internet’s favor and are using their platform to bring attention to predatory YouTubers. The show now has a huge following with each upload garnering at least a million views per episode.
What kicked off their investigation of David Dobrik and his posse, known as the “Vlog Squad,” was an interview between Klein and Seth Francois, former member of the group who alleged that he was sexually assaulted for a series of prank videos orchestrated by Dobrik. Since the interview, several other former Vlog Squad members have spoken up about their experiences, detailing instances of bullying and harassment, bribery, assault, and general mistreatment.
As Dobrik’s loyal fanbase rushed to call this an instance of unjustified “cancelling,” Business Insider released a bombshell article detailing an alleged assault that occurred during a Dobrik vlog. The victim and her friends have come forward to say that Vlog Squad member Dominykas Zeglaitis, known as “Durte Dom,” sexually assaulted her while she was black-out drunk.
Fremenies covered this topic extensively, speaking with the author of the controversial article and Vlog Squad members who were present on the night of the alleged assault. What made the story hit home for so many viewers was that it didn’t sound like the typical story of assault that comes from Hollywood. There was no sex dungeon, no ring of child predators, no trips to mysterious brothel islands, or other markings of a seemingly far away instance of sexual abuse. This was a story about the coercing of a twenty year old girl into having sex by getting her drunk.
This could have taken place on a college campus. This does take place on college campuses.
What does this mean for the future of influencer houses? Will we see a decline in daily vlogs marked by envelope-pushing extreme content created solely for the views? It doesn’t look like it. While Dobrik and several members of the Vlog squad are under fire, they still receive overwhelming support from their loyal fanbase. It seems as though for every content house that falls under, several crop up. Popular TikTok creators like Noah Beck, Addison Rae, and Charlie and Dixie D’Amelio are following in Dobrick’s footsteps by creating over the top vlogs in a similar style that rank up millions of views. It’s almost like… rich little white kids running around L.A. literally breaking the law and wreaking havoc on the surrounding community don’t really get punished for acting like jack-assses on the internet. It’s quite the opposite, really. Perhaps if so many creators hadn’t brought attention to Dobrik’s actions, he’d still be allowed to tour on his “anti-bullying” campaign (I can’t believe he even secured that gig because his entire career is based on bullying his circle of friends) and have his Chipotle collaboration.
Klein and Paytas continue to shed light on predatory YouTubers who take advantage of their fame and power to abuse their fans. From James Charles to Jake Paul, the list just keeps getting longer. If you’re a YouTuber that’s abused your power, they’ll probably (definitely) be mentioning you on the next episode.