Screenshots by Izzy Pullias
The world of social media has many issues that are seemingly getting worse and worse. Social media influencers are continuously being exposed for disturbing scandals such as messaging minors or sexual assault. David Dobrik and James Charles have been the most recent influencers to be called out for past actions.
Dobrik and Charles are both YouTube sensations who have been called out for disturbing past actions. Dobrik was under fire for posting a vlog where a woman was sexually assaulted by his childhood friend, Duarte Dom. Charles was scrutinized for being caught messaging underage boys.
One of the main reasons why people are upset with Dobrik and Charles is because their apologies were simply subpar. Dobrik created two videos where he apologized for the situation. The first video was two minutes long, and he didn’t really address anything that had taken place. He then created another video where he went into detail about his faults, but the internet questioned whether he was being genuine or not because he had uploaded the two-minute video first. Charles’s apology was underwhelming as well because he kept deflecting the situation onto the minor. He said that the underaged boy lied about his age, but after he found out about the boy’s real age, he continued to message him. So, the internet was still upset with Charles after the apology video was posted. Charles has also decided to take a break from all of his social media platforms until further notice, much like his previous scandals.
Many followers of Charles have finally pulled out their subscriptions due to the frequency of his scandals. After the Tati Westbrook scandal back in 2019, then-fans viewed the accusations as a mistake and the issue was defended as something that Charles couldn’t have been responsible for. His fans also backed up Charles during the 2019 scandal after Charles’s apology video showed screenshots of proof and receipts of these false accusations. What made the most recent scandal of his involvement with minors different than the 2019 scandal was his apology video: he didn’t show any defense and admitted to his actions.
Charles’s most recent actions and the fact that he admitted to them made us gain a different view of the creator and viewed his actions as no longer a coincidence, but rather an unhealthy pattern.
Their actions have come to affect them in many negative ways. Dobrik is beginning to lose sponsors from big-name brands that heavily sponsored his videos in the past such as SeatGeek. Charles’s YouTube channel lost a significant amount of subscribers because of his mistake. This is not the first time that Charles has been canceled, however, so there is a high chance that this subscriber deficit will not phase him in any way.
There seems to be a reoccurring theme with social media influencers and bad apologies. I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen an apology video and ended up been frustrated because the apology was is a weak one. Half of the time, influencers don’t even take the time to create a sit-down video. Instead, they write out a long sappy paragraph on the notes app on their phone, and then they post it to Twitter hoping that people will forgive them. It’s a really aggravating process that annoys viewers to the fullest extent.
Another theme that I have noticed with influencers and their apologies is the fact that there are no long-lasting repercussions for their actions. Influencers will receive hate for as little as a month, but nothing major will come out of it. They still have a platform at the end of the day and they go on about their lives as if nothing ever happened. I don’t think that Dobrik will be able to come back from this situation without really taking accountability for his actions and showing that he is improving himself.
Dobrik’s situation reminded me of what happened to Logan Paul a couple of years ago. Paul went to the suicide forest in Japan, filmed a dead body, and proceeded to post the video onto YouTube without thinking anything of it at the time. He received major backlash and was ridiculed by the internet. He made an apology video that had people questioning if he was sincere at first. However, he took the necessary steps to show people these past years that he is a changed man and that he has grown from the mistakes that he made in the past. Paul’s experience is similar to what Dobrik is going through now. Even though their actions were completely different, they were both in the wrong.
It is possible for the world to forgive Dobrik for the pain he has caused, but it won’t be any time soon. First, he will need to receive forgiveness from the victim. Then, he can continue to prove himself by showing the world that he is changing for the better. However, one thing is clear: influencers need to do better when it comes to owning up to their mistakes.