UPDATED with comment from Angel City FC spokesperson 5 PM ET, 3/19
UPDATED with comment from NWSL spokesperson 9:23 PM ET, 3/19
In a December 2020 interview with Angel City FC head of corporate partnerships, I asked if the club had thought about the ramifications of being outspoken about being a values-driven organization, with social justice principles embedded in their framework. If the club is going to make a big deal about having values, then it’s necessarily going to draw more scrutiny every time they do something that may run counter to those values.
That’s unfortunately a situation that’s coming into play now as Angel City investor David Dobrik is involved in an allegation from a woman that Dom Zeglaitis, one of the members of Dobrik’s “Vlog Squad,” raped her in 2018, on the night Dobrik filmed a video about group sex involving the victim. The allegations include that Vlog Squad members Jeff Wittek and Todd Smith purchased alcohol for underage women involved in the video. According to the victim, who was 20 at the time of the alleged incident, she went to the Vlog Squad’s Los Angeles home to film a video and was pressured to drink until she was too drunk to consent, and then was raped by Zeglaitis at his apartment. Insider reported that Dobrik was present and filmed the victim entering Zeglaitis’ bedroom, then used the footage in a video he posted and later removed from YouTube.
Angel City announced it was adding Youtuber Dobrik to its list of investors on Dec. 2, 2020. In his investor bio, ACFC notes that he co-founded a social network called DISPO backed by fellow investor Alexis Ohanian.
But before that, and before the allegations of rape become public, there were also plenty of previous allegations against Dobrik himself of racism, ableism, and sexually inappropriate behavior, such as tricking a former Vlog Squad member into kissing someone he did not consent to kiss, offering the same Black Vlog Squad member watermelon, mocking a Vlog squad member for his disabilities, and filming a former Vlog Squad member’s girlfriend naked without her consent, among others. Vulture has collected a list of allegations made against Dobrik spanning June 2017 until now.
On March 16, Dobrik posted a short apology video, claiming he has distanced himself from the Vlog Squad member accused of rape and generally claiming that he was sorry for other past misconduct and would change.
ACFC has said they will hold themselves accountable to expectations off the field. It’s why they’ve committed to doing things like putting 10% of their sponsorship funds into social justice and local community initiatives. When you tell people that your club is “founded on purpose,” though, it makes it even more hurtful and disappointing to see the club fail to hurdle its own ethical bar. To be clear, no club should be adding someone who has been accused of racism, ableism, and sexually inappropriate behavior to their investor group. It’s just particularly galling when a club claims to be doing its best to “set higher expectations, striving towards equality” then appears not to have done any due diligence on one of its investors when there’s plenty of red-flag material about him on the public record.
All for XI asked for comment from the club; Angel City did not provide an official statement replying to these allegations at the time of publication.
UPDATE: A spokesperson for Angel City FC provided comments to All for XI, saying that all investors must pass a criminal background check that is conducted by NWSL, and that Dobrik is not a founding investor of the team. Dobrik was previously listed as a founding investor, but is no longer listed on the club’s website as a founding investor. The spokesperson also said that the club has standing calls with its supporters groups, and invites SG members to express any concerns directly to the club.
UPDATE: A spokesperson for NWSL told All for XI, “Mr. Dobrik was never approved for ownership in the NWSL.” Additionally, that spokesperson confirmed that the league did do a background check on Dobrik, but declined to comment on the results of the check.
We will add more information as it becomes available.