David Dobrik Controversy: How Insider's Kat Tenbarge Learned of Ex-Vlog Squad Member Accused of Sexual Assault
As David Dobrik faces repercussions of sexual assault allegations made against his friend and former Vlog Squad member Dom Zeglaitis, a.k.a Durte Dom, Inside Edition Digital is going behind the scenes of how the story was reported.
Amid David Dobrik’s very public fall from grace – which included unsubscribes and lost sponsorship deals – the YouTuber is coming out in support of the woman who accused his friend, Dom Zeglaitis, also known as Durte Dom, of sexual assault. “I fully believe the woman who came out against Dom,” Dobrik said on his YouTube channel.
The alleged incident is said have occurred in 2018, when Zeglaitis, who is a former member of Dobrik’s Vlog Squad, shot a video with the anonymous accuser, who is referred to as Hannah, which is a pseudonym.
“It came to my attention that there was a woman who had a story, but she wanted to be anonymous. And because she was concerned about her privacy, it, that's why it took so many years for her to come forward in this way,” said Insider reporter Kat Tenbarge, who broke the story in an article published by Business Insider. “She's definitely been waiting to tell it for a while, but at Insider, we were willing to take the steps to corroborate her accusations, which allowed her to use a pseudonym in the story. And so that was how I ended up being able to tell Hannah's story.”
Hannah, a 20-year-old sophomore at the time, was one of seven college students who agreed to shoot a YouTube video with Zeglaitis, who plays a sex-addicted character in his vlogs. The videos are partially scripted, and Tenbarge described them as a mix of “reality TV, improv, and situational comedy” in her reporting.
The Vlog Squad had allegedly purchased alcohol for Hannah and her underaged friends, and Hannah said she became too intoxicated to consent to sexual activity, and that Zeglaitis had sexually assaulted her that night. Hannah did not report the incident to the police and Zeglaitis has not been charged with a crime. Inside Edition Digital has not been able to independently confirm the allegations.
Part of the night was documented in a video called "SHE SHOULD NOT HAVE PLAYED WITH FIRE!!" where Zeglaitis says he invited Hannah and her friends over for a “five-some.” Hannah instead claimed they were only invited to meet the famous vloggers. The video was viewed 5 million times before Dobrik and his crew took it down at Hannah’s request.
"It was very much an environment where it felt like saying 'no' was not OK," Hannah told Insider. "It felt like from the moment we came there was an expectation that they were doing us a favor and we had to give them content. They were verbally, like, 'Why aren't you guys being fun? Do something sort of sexy.'"
Hannah said she was blacked out when she and a friend entered Zeglaitis’ room. Her friend said other men were peeking in as he had sex with her.
Hannah said she had no recollection of having sex that night, and said another friend found her lying barely conscious on the bed after.
Since Tenbarge’s reporting came out last week, sponsors like Dollar Shave Club, EA Sports and Door Dash have cut ties with Dobrik.
“At this point, I think 11 brands have come forward to distance themselves from David in some way,” Tenbarge said. “A lot of sponsors who have previously done things like give David Teslas that he could give away in his videos, and people who have sponsored his Instagram posts and things of that nature, started to step back and put out statements that they would either be reconsidering their relationship with him or terminating any sort of sponsorships they had.”
Venture capitalists who invested in Dobrik’s photo sharing app Dispo have also pulled their investments. Dobrik has since stepped down from the app’s board.
Dobrik has since issued two apologies through videos. “I'm really sorry. I truly, truly am. And with people in my life that I don't film with anymore, like Dom and you know, the other people that no longer film with, I chose to distance myself because I don't align with some of the actions and I don't stand for any kind of misconduct,” he says in the first video.
“That breaks my heart knowing that I was doing all this stuff and I was making all this content while there was people that were still really hurt by what I made,” Dobrik says in the second video.
Zeglaitis has not released a statement about the accusations and has declined requests to comment when reached by both Insider and Inside Edition Digital.
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