It’s a tough thing when a filmmaker starts making a documentary about a friend, with the potential to easily derail the relationship if the subject isn’t portrayed the way they might expect.
But that’s the situation YouTuber Casey Neistat might find himself in after doing it Under the influencea documentary about one of the platform’s most successful creators, David Dobrik, as the two’s friendship seems to be falling apart.
Neistat acknowledged as much at the film’s premiere at Austin’s SXSW on Saturday night, explaining that while Dobrik had seen the film, they haven’t talked since their last interview and he doesn’t feel comfortable revealing Dobrik’s exact feelings about the project. “People are complicated,” he suggested.
Neistat began work on the project in 2019, entering the chaotic, larger-than-life world, driven by the click of then 23-year-old Dobrik. He’s interested in charting the growing success of the vlogger, who boasts 18 million subscribers and is inching closer to seven billion views across hundreds of his videos. Born in Slovakia and raised in Illinois, Dobrik has created a cult fan base who will flock just to get a glimpse of the YouTube Prince.
Central to Dobrik’s success are his Vlog Squad, personal friends, and other creators, whom Dobrik constantly films and relies on for his ridiculous stunt videos. that. The group operates almost like a sketch comedy show, with Dobrik directing, pitching ideas as his friends follow through on all of his suggestions.
As a result, they faithfully launch their motorbikes through shallow puddles, allowing themselves to be glued to the wall and shake their chests in front of the camera (despite their initial objections). They will do whatever Dobrik thinks will bring in views because their reward is not only internet fame, but a share of the millions Dobrik earns.
While Neistat says he’s always been interested in uncovering the complex dynamics of the reckless situations that Dobrik’s entourage seem willing to plunge into for the sake of his videos, the trajectory of The film changed radically last March when journalist Kat Tenbarge published a report on Business Insider where A 20-year-old woman has accused a member of Dobrik’s Vlog Squad, Dominykas “Durte Dom” Zeglaitis, of rape..
The woman alleges that a group of her friends were invited to Dobrik’s rented apartment in 2018 to shoot a video. While hanging out together, someone from Dobrik’s group allegedly supplied the young girl with large quantities of alcohol, and at one point while intoxicated, she claimed that Zeglaitis had taken her and a of her friends into a dark room.
According to text messages obtained by Business InsiderThe young woman’s friend testified that although she began to lose consciousness, Zeglaitis allegedly continued to have sex with her – prompting the friend to “appropriate” to divert his attention away from her.
“I remember you started closing your eyes and obviously getting drunk, so I finished him off just for him to leave you,” the friend is said to have texted the young woman, who later fainted on the bathroom floor. The next morning, she did not recall her encounter with Zeglaitis.
The events of that night were eventually filmed and posted on Dobrik’s YouTube channel with the title, “SHOULD NOT PLAY WITH FIRE!!” (The video, which featured a plot about a pair of three, was later deleted at the request of the young woman.)
Neistat used deleted footage from the film, blurring all of the women’s faces. It shows Dobrik and the other members of the Vlog Squad making crude jokes and laughing as they try to get into the bedroom to catch a glimpse of the “first number”. At the end of the video, Dobrik laughs and says to the camera, “Dom just had a three-way game and I think we’re all… I think we’re all going to jail.”
After the article came out, Dobrik attempted to damage control with a “let’s talk” video posted on his least-followed YouTube channel and whirling around the story. When he started losing his left and right sponsorship deals, he made a second video in which he voiced his belief in the young girl’s story and apologized for not taking the matter seriously. weight earlier.
Dobrik has built his image as the goofy, fun guy forever behind the madness. While his friends mocked themselves for his sake in front of the camera, Dobrik laughed and ate it all. At one point, he reasoned that even though he didn’t actively encourage his Vlog Squad to do something inherently dangerous, he would never turn down an idea. “I’ve always been interested in more interesting things, if someone comes up with an idea to do something more interesting, I’m always depressed,” Dobrik said.
That will be something he will regret in the summer of 2020, when Dobrik plans to return to YouTube after taking a break during the pandemic. The crew stumbled to Utah, where Dobrik decided to let his friends do their craziest stunts.
“I’m always excited because it’s more fun, if someone comes up with an idea to do something more interesting, I’ll always be down for it…”
Behind the wheel of an excavator, Dobrik didn’t say a word as Jeff Wittek jumped onto a rope suspended from a crane to spin through the air. There was another member who got pulled off the ropes and called it quits, but Wittek thought Dobrik needed footage for the video to come back.
As he was flying around in the air, the crane suddenly stopped. Wittek hit the wall of the machine and fell into the water, his feet tangled in the wire and his head submerged. Wittek barely survived, still suffering brain damage and obstructed eyes from the near-fatal accident.
Dobrik seemed confused by the crash, but ended up blaming Wittek for trying to do the stunt in the first place. It is in that same vein that Dobrik can’t seem to understand why he was shot and faces backlash for Business Insider article.
The alleged assault appeared in the last interview Neistat had with Dobrik, and the tone was markedly different. Dobrik seemed wary, if not a little annoyed, that he had to talk about this in the first place. He told Neistat that he felt the article was unfair to him and was only written because “this place wants clicks”.
“I don’t want to respond because I don’t want to fuel the gossip, the hate, and the drama,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to be someone that when you see me you either like, laugh or smile or you get pumped to have me around… now I’m forever plagued by something I don’t necessarily have to be. think I should be soiled”.
Dobrik refuses to admit that his immense influence can create an environment where people feel pressured to put themselves in risky situations because of the inherent power of competition. He single-handedly has the ability to turn members into millionaires, and defies his exploitative nature at the border letting his Vlog Squad buddies go on crazy quests while he laughs after cameras, Dobrik doesn’t know which of these poses a problem.
At the end of the film, Neistat said the documentary is not about “cultural cancellation,” but accountability. For the young woman who chose to share his story, Dobrik held accountable for her simply knowing that he “did something wrong”.
But it’s hard to tell if Dobrik believes he’s at fault in any way, for anything. After a spat with Wittek, the two appear to have made up, with Dobrik posting a video of the two fights. After losing a round, Dobrik quips to the camera that he’s much more dangerous with the crane — because as long as the camera is on, Dobrik only cares about the crane.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/youtuber-david-dobrik-is-going-to-hate-the-new-sxsw-documentary-about-him?source=articles&via=rss YouTuber David Dobrik Will Hate The New SXSW Documentary About Him