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David Dobrik’s First Response: A PR Nightmare

Published on April 12, 2021 at 10:20 p.m. 
by Rachel Breeding.

David Dobrik, beloved YouTuber and leader of the “Vlog Squad,” is in hot water. Without some serious public relations magic, his reputation is on the line.

If you haven’t heard the news, Dobrik and several of his friends and fellow “Vlog Squad” members are currently being accused of severe acts of misconduct by former “Vlog Squad” members. Although this isn’t the first time Dobrik has been involved in controversy, it is by far the most serious and most publicized.

“File:David Dobrik.jpg” by ADHD w/ Travis Mills is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Being involved in any kind of situation involving serious allegations is bad enough for one’s reputation, but Dobrik recently committed the cardinal sin of internet fame and reputation management: He released an awful video response.

A response video done wrong
Firstly, Dobrik, who has 18.7 million subscribers on his personal YouTube account, where most of his vlogs have been uploaded, chose to release his response video on an alternate account.

The account Dobrik released the video on is the podcast account he shares with Jason Nash, one of his closest friends and collaborators, and it only has 1.69 million subscribers. While that is still a considerable amount of people, it is nowhere close to the actual size of his audience, meaning many of his main channel subscribers most likely have no idea the video exists.

Secondly, the response video Dobrik uploaded is just over two minutes long, and both commenting and liking or disliking have been disabled on the video. Now, not only is the video incredibly short and lacking sincerity, but there is also no way for Dobrik’s fans or critics to contribute their opinions to what should be an open discussion between Dobrik and his viewers, which comes across as Dobrik refusing to hear any criticisms, some of which may be completely valid.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Additionally, it can’t even be called an “apology video,” because while he does say the physical words “I’m sorry,” it is obvious he does not mean it and is taking zero accountability for his actions, and that is an absolute PR nightmare.

Both Dobrik’s weak explanations within the video and the video’s incredibly short length make it appear as though the video is something Dobrik only made because he was forced to, rather than something he made because he is genuinely sorry.

The future of Dobrik’s reputation (and what can be done to save it)
In any kind of situation where allegations come to light and there appears to be sufficient proof to support them, one’s reputation will never be completely the same. However, the right reputation management tools and PR tactics can definitely help someone repair their reputation as much as possible.

If there is any hope for Dobrik to save his reputation and control this situation before there is no coming back from it — seeing as he is already losing sponsorship deals and business opportunities because of it — he must do some genuine self-reflection and present a much more detailed and sincere apology.

As one of the biggest YouTube stars on the planet, as well as one of the few internet celebrities who has crossed over into mainstream stardom, Dobrik definitely has some kind of publicist or PR team he needs to listen to right now. At this point, good PR work from his side is the only hope he’s got.

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