In the wake of the justified outrage over George Floyd’s death, many creators have apologized after being held accountable for past insensitive and offensive content. This even goes for people who have been previously deemed “unproblematic.” With almost 18 million subscribers, David Dobrik has by far one of the most popular channels on YouTube. Earlier this July, however, fans and fellow creators called out the YouTuber for resurfaced racist content.
Dobrik is known for posting funny vlogs with each one being about four minutes and 20 seconds long. Since starting in 2014, the California-based creator has filmed his friends, who are known on the internet as the Vlog Squad, while showing his daily life.
He shared Vlog Squad clips that had representations of blackface and damaging stereotypes of Black people. Francois also apologizes for his involvement in these videos, saying he will never endorse or support anything on the internet that has to do with his culture being portrayed in a negative way.
Additionally, other clips from 2016 resurfaced with both Dobrik and his ex-girlfriend, Liza Koshy. It shows them imitating Asian accents while eating candy from Japan and Hawaii.
Dobrik was also called out for saying the N-word in past videos.
The 23-year-old has been nominated for several awards and won two Kids’ Choice Awards, one Teen Choice Award and one People’s Choice Award for his videos and social media presence. The vlogger also has over 13 million followers on Instagram.
So, we’re talking about a huge platform and following. It’s honestly shocking that #DavidDobrikisOverParty was not trending on Twitter.
Dobrik said the intention with every video is to make people laugh, but he has missed the mark on various occasions. He did not address certain clips or instances but talked about his experience at his first Black Lives Matter protest.
“I want to be a good role model for the people watching. I’m ashamed and embarrassed for the things I did in some of the videos … I genuinely feel awful about it,” Dobrik said in his podcast. “If there was a kid who saw something that didn’t make them feel welcomed, or just made them feel uncomfortable, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make anyone feel out of place.”
Many thought his apology was too vague, not genuine and wondered why he would address his mistakes on his podcast of all places.
Twitter user @GeorgeEngel77 tweeted,“#DavidDobrik I like you bro, but that was the weakest ass apology anyone has ever made. You need to mention names and videos with direct apologies. Such is life as an influencer. Gain that respect!”
Another user, @CreatesNiki, agreed, “Sorry if y’all don’t like to hear it, but that David Dobrik Apology was NOT IT! First of all he did it on his podcast? Like sir you have a huge a** following on both YouTube and Instagram. Why did you even thin that those 3 minutes of your podcast would have been enough?”
Twitter user @corgipufff tweeted, “This is not an apology, it’s not taking accountability. This is being scared of getting ‘cancelled.’”
But, in a way, there is still not a ton of backlash.
Fellow creator and ex-girlfriend of Nash, Trisha Paytas, posted a video about the situation, linking Francois’s initial video in the description. She said she wants Dobrik’s followers to hold him just as accountable like they do with other creators’ problematic behavior.
There is a difference between being “cancelled” and being held accountable.
Believe me, there is no doubt cancel culture is toxic. There is an unrealistic expectation for creators to be perfect. With this mentality, if an influencer makes a mistake, people say that there should be no second chances and the offender should be kicked off the internet.
But, just like Paytas said in her video, own your mistakes and apologize. This includes everyone.
Dobrik has over 18 million subscribers. You would expect huge consequences and backlash due to his large following, but there wasn’t.
In the past, many YouTubers and influencers have experienced being “cancelled.” This is a mob mentality and social media allows people to be more ruthless when calling out others.
Here’s an example:
In 2019, YouTuber James Charles lost almost 3 million subscribers stemming from a feud with another beauty guru, Tati Westbrook. She made claims accusing him of predatory behavior. This year, however, his number of subscribers has surpassed 20 million, after falling from 16.5 million to 13.8 million in a matter of days.
This example shows how quick the internet can change their mind about someone, then change it back. No real evidence of these accusations has been presented thus far.
Charles publicly talked about the impact this situation had on his mental health and admitted he considered taking his own life. Something like this should never happen again.
Obviously, this doesn’t mean in instances influencers don’t deserve backlash.
For example, Shane Dawson received a ton of justified backlash for his past racist and offensive content. This includes doing blackface, using the N-word and saying predatory things about children. YouTube has demonetized all three of his channels for an indefinite period of time despite the content being years old. He also lost a substantial number of followers.
As people are looking at things with fresh eyes, countless creators are being “cancelled” over the past few weeks in the wake of ongoing protests.
So, why are some influencers, like Dobrik, being held to a different standard? Why aren’t they being called out as much as others?
Dear Twitter, this standard and accountability should be the same for all. No more picking and choosing; you have to keep the same energy for everyone.
Everyone has to acknowledge their mistakes for society to move forward.