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If you asked an average teenager who their favorite influencer was at any point over the past few years, there’s a pretty high likelihood they’d say it was David Dobrik. Dobrik, 24, is a YouTuber with 18 million subscribers, best known for his slice-of-life vlogs where he parties with his fellow quasi-famous friends and pulls pranks with celebrities, resulting in videos with bait-y, all-caps titles like “CAN’T BELIEVE THIS HAPPENED (EMOTIONAL)” (as far as I know this is not an actual title, but it could be). It’s not difficult to pinpoint what made him so beloved: Dobrik plays the role of the approachable guy who’s buddies with all the popular kids but still seems like a good person, the Nick Carraway of the Gen Z influencer world.
That is, until you start rewatching some of Dobrik’s videos. After a while, his “Vlog Squad” could look less like an organic group of friends and more like a cast of characters suffering from severe Stockholm Syndrome; the “pranks” Dobrik and his crew pull start seeming more like exercises in stretching the limits of consent. And over the past year or so, he’s faced far more serious allegations than general YouTube-style tastelessness.
Last June, YouTuber Seth Francois spoke about the racist situations he was forced into as the only Black member of the Vlog Squad, from being the butt of jokes about watermelon to blackface. Then in February, he discussed the
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