Three months ago, on March 23, superstar vlogger David Dobrik announced he would be taking an “extended hiatus” over abuse allegations leveled against Vlog Squad members and claims the YouTube idol had endangered his crew — so why, just eight weeks later, are we already welcoming him back with open arms?
Before this year, Dobrik was bouncing from victory to victory.
The 24-year-old had already amassed millions of subscribers across his YouTube empire, fuelled by giveaways and high-energy pranks in four-minute vlogs.
That all came crashing down early this year, however, when an ex-Vlog Squad member accused Dobrik of pressuring him to do dangerous stunts for the videos. The floodgates opened soon after, with his long-time lieutenant Durte Dom accused of sexual assault. The internet, which had propped Dobrik up as a YouTube darling, quickly began abandoning the vlogger in droves. It seemed ‘David Dobrik’ was over.
Only, apparently not.
It’s been just two months since the YouTuber said he would be taking a hiatus, and Dobrik is already back uploading videos. That includes one on June 16 that saw the star surprise his friends with a Hawaii adventure. In the vlog, one of Dobrik’s friends nearly loses an eye. Another vomits repeatedly.
And in the video, Dobrik addresses none of his controversies.
Now, this Dexerto writer thought that was a little strange, but figured Dobrik would soon change his tune once YouTube and Twitter rallied into action.
Except those ever-expected callouts never really came. Fellow celebrities cheered on Dobrik’s return on Instagram, Vlog Squad fans were sharing highlights from his videos like he’d never left, and the internet seemed to celebrate.
We’ve seen similar ‘comebacks’ in recent months too.
Shane Dawson — who was firmly “canceled” over the use of blackface and parodying people of color — is slowly building up for a YouTube return. Fedmyster is staging a Twitch comeback too, despite his original disappearance relating to sexual misconduct allegations made by then OfflineTV house manager Yvonne Ng.
In the Valorant scene, exiled pro Sinatraa has been slowly rebuilding his Twitch broadcast schedule, only weeks after being dumped by Sentinels and investigated by Riot Games over reported rape allegations.
There’s also growing rumors a CallMeCarson comeback is also in the works. The Minecraft personality was accused of grooming underage fans, a claim his former Lunch Club co-streamers suggested was relatively accurate.
All in all, it feels like a worrying new trend in internet fame.
The David Dobrik situation feels the most egregious, however, considering the YouTuber has — publicly at least — made zero effort to address the situation following the end of his hiatus after just 84 days. He’s slipped back into an uploading schedule, and seems happy ignoring everything.
Even worse, his fans are happy to do the same.
At the time of writing, his return vlog has raked in just over 7.9 million views. His second, uploaded on June 23, has already clocked up another 5.2 million.
It is worth acknowledging many of these situations are based around allegations, rather than clear-cut offenses. That being said, simply choosing to ignore the faults and failings of the internet’s biggest celebrities, all because you like their regular content, is a dangerous game to play, especially in the evolving world of online stardom across YouTube, Twitch, and social media.
“I knew where I went wrong, but I was not in the room [where “Hannah” says she was assaulted by Durte Dom], I was not aware of what was going on,” he says. “None of my friends were. They would have kicked that f**king door down if anybody knew what was going on, allegedly.”
According to Rolling Stone writer EJ Dickson, Dobrik says “part of him still feels that way” too; he doesn’t see his own role in the “power dynamic” of the series.
And watching his latest uploads, it boggles this Dexerto writer’s mind that people are happy to look past their main selling points — that Dobrik and the Vlog Squad are “friends being friends” — that was proven wrong just two months ago. One hopes the internet comes to its senses on these fronts, especially regarding Dobrik’s seamless comeback, but considering the trends, it’s not likely.
And there’s little chance Dobrik himself realizes he may have jumped the gun a little with his YouTube comeback. He promises the internet he’s not a bad person, and says if he was he’d “want me to go away too”. Whatever that means.
This isn’t the first time the internet has done this either, remember. Logan Paul’s rise from a YouTuber that showed a dead body for clicks to fighting Floyd Mayweather for a very, very large sum of money shows the internet is happy to forget, as long as they’re entertained.
Perhaps it’s not a habit we should get into, however.