David Dobrik steps down from his hyped photo app Dispo amid Vlog Squad allegations
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Dobrik in a “Tonight Show” Zoom interview in 2020.

Image: NBCU Photo Bank / Getty Images

By Caitlin Welsh

Influencer turned app founder David Dobrik has stepped down from his role at Dispo, as investors cut ties with the photo app over controversy linked to Dobrik’s circle of YouTubers.

The Information reported just before midnight Sunday, Pacific time, that Dobrik would be leaving the company he co-founded and has been the face of since its launch. 

The news came just a few hours after venture capital firm Spark Capital, who led initial investment in the app, announced on Twitter that it would “sever all ties” with Dispo and “[make] arrangements to ensure” it would not profit from its investment in the app.

Here’s Dispo’s full statement: “David has chosen to step down from the board and leave the company to not distract from the company’s growth. Dispo’s team, product, and most importantly- our community- stand for building a diverse, inclusive, and empowering world.”

— Kate Clark (@KateClarkTweets) March 22, 2021

Dispo is a photo creation and sharing app designed to mimic the aesthetic — and delayed-gratification aspect — of disposable film cameras. The app moved out of its invite-only beta stage earlier in March this year, after raising $20 million in Series A funding led by Spark in February on top of $4 million from Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian’s SevenSevenSix last year.

Mashable has reached out to Dispo for comment. The company issued identical statements to reporters from TechCrunch and The Information, saying: “David has chosen to step down from the board and leave the company to not distract from the company’s growth. Dispo’s team, product, and most importantly- our community- stand for building a diverse, inclusive, and empowering world.”

Dobrik is currently under fire over allegations of assault levelled at members of his wildly popular creator collective, known as the Vlog Squad. 

Insider reported last week that a young woman alleges she was sexually assaulted by Squad member Dom Zeglaitis during a video shoot in 2018.

And Joseth “Seth” Francois, the only Black member of the Squad until he left in 2019, told Buzzfeed earlier this year that a “prank” where he was tricked into kissing a disguised member of the squad was actually assault as he didn’t consent to kissing that person, and has also spoken about experiencing racist and culturally insensitive “jokes” during his time as a member of the collective. 

In a video posted on March 16, Dobrik apologised specifically to Francois, and expressed “[disappointment] with some of [his] friends,” saying he does not “stand for any kind of misconduct”. Comments on the video, titled “Let’s Talk”, were disabled.

A number of brands have ended partnerships or deals with Dobrik since the Vlog Squad allegations have come to light.

This story is developing…

If you have experienced sexual abuse, call the free, confidential National Sexual Assault hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), or access the 24-7 help online by visiting online.rainn.org.

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