For Millennials. By Millennials.
Once the internet’s beloved YouTuber, David Dobrik, is currently on the hot seat as alarming allegations surface against him. The major one is when former member Seth Francois came on the H3H3 podcast and claimed that he was a victim of sexual assault when he was pranked by David Dobrik and Jason Nash.
The Seth Francois Allegation is the most shocking one
Even though fans were used to David Dobrik pulling crazy pranks on his friends, they were under the impression that everything was done with some degree of planning and consent. Seth Francois shared his experience with Ethan Klein and Hila Klein on the H3 podcast and explained that in one of the pranks, he was sexually assaulted.
The prank was that he would be blindfolded and would be kissing someone. He was under the impression that it would be a female member of the Vlog Squad, Corinna Kopf. However, it turned out to be Jason Nash. Something that he did not consent to or gave permission for.
Seth Francois shared that later he realized that something wrong happened and that he was sexually harassed. He did try to voice his thoughts to David Dobrik but was not taken seriously.
“I started seeing how David and Jason were communicating with me and trying to keep their distance. When I started thinking of the activity as more criminal than a prank, it started helping me understand that they’re hiding from me because they can’t have the world know that the big secret within the Vlog Squad is probably my sexual abuse.”
He didn’t want to bring more attention to the story due to his personal trauma
“I’m just training my mind to just be strong enough to just like completely get over it. It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t sign up for it. I didn’t ask for that to happen to me. And it did. But that’s something that I just personally have to live with.”
Francois also shared that there were some racist remarks passed on him during his time as a Vlog Squad member. Seth Francois only realized what was actually happening when he was reflecting on how he’s being treated in the group after the death of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. He realized he was only playing the role of a ‘token’ black man in David Dobrik’s videos.
Seth Francois shared with Insider that he needed to remove the guilt he was feeling for adding to the hurt of his community. Hence, he had to say something. Furthermore, Francois maintains that Dobrik is profiting off from his trauma.
How Francois found the motivation to share his traumatic story
The former member of the Vlog Squad wanted to encourage other influencers who had faced similar instances of abuse in the industry.
Seth Francois points out that we don’t know what happens behind the camera. The YouTuber and influencer industry has basically no regulation or rules. It’s part of the charm and the reason why we get so creative videos from a plethora of content creators. But the drawback is that there are tons of young influencers growing up with huge amounts of fame and money and not much guidance on how to navigate it all. It often leads to cases such as the prank Dobrik and Nash pulled on Francois, something that may have garnered a few million views but leaves a lifetime of trauma for the victim.
Francois did not want to ‘cancel’ anyone but he did want the videos where he was assaulted to be taken down. He requested David Dobrik to do so but his requests weren’t taken seriously.
The 2018 prank video of Seth Francois was set to private, meaning the public can’t access it. Though the original one in 2017 is set as unlisted, that can be viewed by anyone who has the link. Dobrik didn’t take Seth’s requests seriously even before he came on the H3 podcast.
“I’m not asking for a new Tesla, I’m asking you to do something that literally costs you absolutely nothing but a little bit of time. People were saying I’ve betrayed David, but I feel like he betrayed me. I was very hurt and even right now talking about it, it really makes you want to cry.”
Legal action may be Seth’s only option left
Despite Seth trying to resolve it privately and without complications, David Dobrik doesn’t seem to be complying. So, Francois shares that he is currently thinking about bringing legal action into it. It seems to be the only option for Seth to get the justice he seeks.
“We have to address it and make sure everyone understands how big of a problem it is. These are multimillionaire kids without college degrees and work experience that are running multi-million dollar corporations, so there has to be more regulation. There has to be more experts involved.”
Moreover, Francois is also hoping that his story of sexual assault will motivate other male victims of sexual assault to come forward. There are official statistics that suggest the actual male cases of sexual assault are much higher than those that are actually reported.
Seth Francois doesn’t want his narrative to just be the guy who was sexually assaulted. But he wants his story to become an inspiration for others to take control of their narratives.
If you are a survivor of sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or visit their website to receive confidential support.