Google has suspended YouTube star David Dobrik’s ability to make money off advertisements on multiple channels, following accusations of sexual assault against one of his collaborators.
The tech giant’s decision comes after a woman told Insider last week that she was drugged and assaulted by a former member of Dobrik’s “Vlog Squad,” a group of friends and creators who frequently collaborated in prank and stunt-style YouTube content. The woman, identified by the pseudonym “Hannah,” told Insider that Vlog Squad member Dominykas Zeglaitis (known online as “Durte Dom”) got her drunk and sexually assaulted her after she came to the group’s home to film a video in 2018. The accusation came a month after former Vlog Squad member Joseth “Seth” Francois told BuzzFeed News he’d been tricked into kissing YouTuber Jason Nash in one of Dobrik’s videos.
YouTube on Friday suspended monetization on three of Dobrik’s channels, including his main channel, his “David Dobrik Too” and his “Views” podcast channel. Combined, the three channels have about 29 million subscribers. YouTube has also suspended monetization on Zeglaitis’ channel, which has 854,000 subscribers.
A YouTube rep told TheWrap the suspensions are temporary, but declined to share how long the suspensions could last.
“We have strict policies that prohibit sexual harassment on YouTube and take allegations of sexual misconduct very seriously,” the YouTube rep said in a statement. “We have temporarily suspended monetization on David Dobrik and Durte Dom channels for violating our Creator Responsibility policy.”
Earlier this week, Dobrik released a second video apologizing for the accusations against Zeglaitis. In it, Dobrik said he “fully” believes the woman who accused Zeglaitis of assault.
“I’m so sorry,” Dobrik said. “I was completely disconnected from the fact that when people were invited to film videos with us, especially videos that relied on shock for views or whatever, it was that I was creating an unfair power dynamic. I did not know this before.”
Dobrik continued by saying he “didn’t know what was going on in that room [with Zeglaitis and “Hannah”] and I should’ve been. I should’ve been there and making sure everyone involved was taken care of and wasn’t uncomfortable.”
He added, “People felt like they had to be silent for the sake of my video, and that’s not right and it’s f— up and I’m sorry.”
That latest apology video came a week after Dobrik first took to YouTube to apologize, telling his fans he was sorry he’d let them down. The second video also arrived as more than a dozen brands — including Facebook, EA Sports and Dollar Shave Club — and 300,000 YouTube subscribers have dropped Dobrik in the last week. On Monday, Dobrik stepped down from the board of Dispo, the camera and photo-sharing app he co-founded, amid the sexual assault claims.
Dobrik still has a formidable YouTube presence, with about 18 million subscribers, but he said he plans on taking a break from posting videos so that he can add “infrastructure” to support his channel, including bringing in an HR employee who can help others “communicate discomfort in a way that’s comfortable to them.”