The internet is an incredible place. It has provided a medium in which all people, from all walks of life, can communicate and learn together. It has created an environment and opportunities for millions of people all over the world.
The internet is also volatile. Every single day there is a new technology or some new source of content that can totally change the way we think or how we go about our lives. In this wild and crazy environment, people are bound to make mistakes. Human beings are not infallible and will make mistakes.
Now, as many have seen over this past month, David Dobrik and his Vlog Squad have found themselves in the midst of controversy after allegations emerged that an associate of Dobrik had sexually assaulted a girl during the filming of a vlog. The alleged event occurred a few years ago, and the fallout for Dobrik and his crew has been massive. Dobrik has been dropped by his sponsors on all fronts. This includes the investment capital firm behind Dobrik’s new business venture, Dispo.
Needless to say, Dobrik has faced some severe consequences on the monetary front. The real damage, however, can be seen on social media. Twitter and the YouTube comment section have been relentless in their pursuit to “cancel” Dobrik, and this attitude has shown little signs of slowing down.
It should be said that I absolutely believe the claim of the victim in this situation. In these situations, it is extremely important to hear the claims and to respect the bravery of those that come forward and open up about an extremely traumatic experience.
I do believe, in addition to what I’ve said, that the sentiment towards David and his squad is warranted. I do, however, also believe that Dobrik should be allowed to learn, grow and showcase change. Unfortunately, the “cancel culture” attitude does not price in the idea that someone can change or even learn from their mistakes.
How many of us are perfect? How many of us can honestly look at the past 5–10 years of our lives and say that we have acted with 100% integrity and have totally avoided any and all failure? Of course, none of us can.
Now, David is being accused of generally setting up an environment with a significant power dynamic where any involved parties felt that saying “no” to something was not allowed. This is problematic and is something that David has addressed in his second apology video.
In my opinion, Dobrik is already facing the natural consequences of his actions. Even though Dobrik himself did not commit the accused action, the individual that did was a large part of his content for a significant time. David’s sponsors have left, he’s had to leave his new business, and his content output will no doubt suffer. I personally think that Dobrik should be allowed, by the public, to recover. He will not only have to commit to change, as he already has, but back up that commitment with real action and noticeable change.
I do not think we are the product of one or a few failures that may occur during our lives. The real referendum on who we are comes from our ability to respond and adapt when faced with a failure or shortcoming. I do not think that David is without fault, but I do think he should be given the chance to prove that he can change. We all deserve that chance, and I believe the general public would be better off if we were to allow ourselves to forgive mistakes and embrace commitments to change.
What’s the point?
This article does not go into the many nuances and circumstances of the entire David Dobrik / Vlog Squad scandal. I realize that there are several details that provide real context that I’ve left out. However, the point of this article was not to dive into the specific circumstances of this incident. It was meant to express my opinion on the great idea and goal behind “cancel culture,” and communicate what I believe to be a problem.
Human beings will make mistakes, as I said before. It’s these mistakes that can be a catalyst for change. Growing and learning are integral parts of life, and it’s how we get through the toughest of mistakes that showcase who we really are. I also believe that being able to forgive those that make mistakes is a signal of great empathy and understanding. The toxic culture behind “canceling” someone makes it hard to see the human behind the influencer.
It may be too soon to forgive Dobrik or for him to even see a light at the end of the tunnel. Regardless, we should all understand that we, too, will fail at different junctures of our lives, and we will seek the same forgiveness that Dobrik is in search of at this very moment. Another influencer that is familiar with this sort of controversy had some great thoughts on the manner, and I think that it’s a good way to close it out.
Remember, we are all human. We could all use a little empathy and understanding.