Vlog squad: Exposing every awful act from their careers so far
Ah, Vlog Squad, a seemingly merry band of vloggers helmed by David Dobrik, the most popular vlogger on the internet. And although Vlog Squad likes to film their lives maniacally cackling – oops, we mean laughing – and pulling pranks on each other, it’s not all fun & games, at least according to the people who left.
In the last few weeks, reports of pranks gone too far have surfaced, including a kissing prank that one member of Vlog Squad now claims was sexual assault. What’s behind all of these recent allegations? Let’s dive right in.
What’s Vlog Squad?
Vlog Squad is a group of vloggers who can be found on YouTube, Instagram, the podcast circuit — basically everywhere online. Vlog Squad goes back to the days of Vine, when David Dobrik would post content on there. Vlog Squad found their way onto YouTube in 2015 a year before the original Vine was discontinued. Dubbed “Gen Z’s Jimmy Fallon” by The Wall Street Journal, they’re best known for pranks and wacky hijinks.
In their nomination for the Shorty Awards, their nomination page noted: “As 2017 marked a trend of friends teaming up to help create content together, the Vlog Squad emerged as one of the most popular — each member boasts a committed YouTube following, with many surpassing 1M subscribers in 2017.”
The Wall Street Journal noted that in 2020, David Dobrik married his best friend’s mom, only to sign divorce papers on Instagram. Vlog Squad had over 16 million subscribers and Dobrik’s videos had an estimated 7 billion views.
Vlog Squad uploads content to YouTube weekly featuring a revolving cast of comedians & influencers, including guest appearances from celebrities like Justin Bieber & Kendall Jenner.
David’s MCN is trying to remove this clip from the internet. This is straight up sexual assault and he did it to him twice. Absolutely infuriating to hear him talk about it so joyously knowing the trauma it caused Seth. pic.twitter.com/bXdpYvJFlp
— Ethan Klein (@h3h3productions) February 27, 2021
However, Vlog Squad’s place in Gen Z’s cancel-culture-embracing hearts might be compromised. In February, former Vlog Squad member Seth Francois came out and called a prank David Dobrik pulled on him “sexual assault”.
In an earlier Vlog Squad video from 2017, Dobrik pranked Francois by tricking him into kissing Nash, a fellow Vlog Squad member. In a podcast with YouTuber Ethan Klein, Dobrik allegedly said he chose Francois for the prank because of his “background”, meaning his upbringing in Compton, CA, where Dobrik was reportedly heard alleging “homosexuality wasn’t accepted”.
In the clip, Dobrik could be heard saying: “I’m like yeah, Seth, don’t hold back, you can make out as much as you want, use as much tongue as you want, just keep kissing her. But what Seth didn’t know is that I replaced Corinna with Jason.”
Francois speaks out
In July 2020, Francois grabbed his iPhone and posted the first of two long videos about accountability for Vlog Squad and in the content creator-sphere at large. He told his followers he came around after George Floyd was killed by police in June and elaborated that he didn’t have the foundation of knowledge to challenge Vlog Squad’s status quo.
He further asked his fans for forgiveness for some of the videos he posted and was “apparently OK with” while on Vlog Squad. These videos included portraying stereotypes like filling his fridge with watermelon or driving him down to the police station to prank-book him for a crime.
“And also just apologize to my friends that are involved in these videos to let them know that I’m sorry for not speaking up and saying: ‘This stuff is wrong.’” Francois clarified to Insider that the apology was mainly for his family, who expressed concern about the content he was putting out.
Vlog Squad’s apology
On their podcast VIEWS with David Dobrik and Jason Nash, Dobrik issued a blanket apology for the problematic content of his videos, saying he was “ashamed and embarrassed” about those posts. Stating he only wanted to make his fans laugh, he claimed he was “bummed” about the big misses.
“I want them to have a positive experience when they interact with anything I produce. And with that being said, I feel like on a handful of occasions I just missed the mark on that, and that really bums me out.”
Insider noted his apology was a small segment of one of his podcast episodes. They also elaborated it also came at a time when old Facebook videos resurfaced of Dobrik allegedly using the n-word and mocking Asian accents.
Insider further elaborated that in light of more allegations in the influencer-sphere, including videos where fellow YouTuber Shane Dawson wore “blackface multiple times, playing into offensive and harmful stereotypes, and making creepy, inappropriate jokes about minors”, Dawson’s YouTube channel lost millions of subscribers.
They also noted the mixed reaction to Seth Francois’s first video, which was “flooded with dislikes” by Vlog Squad fans, who claimed Francois was “playing the victim” and since the content was scripted, Francois knew about it ahead of time and therefore, fans claimed he could’ve objected.
Do you think there will be sweeping changes in the content influencers post due to these allegations? Let us know in the comments below.