After a few days of mostly radio silence, Angel City FC has put out a more comprehensive statement concerning former club investor David Dobrik, who is currently ensnared in controversy after a member of his Vlog Squad was accused of rape - an accusation which led to a resurgence of high-profile coverage of past allegations against Dobrik and his Vlog Squad of racist and ableist behavior.
After an initial tweet on March 20 informing fans that “David Dobrik gave up his ownership in Angel City,” the club tweeted the following statement on March 22:
In the Instagram live that followed, club president Julie Uhrman and head of community Catherine Dávila answered questions from fans, repeatedly emphasizing that they wanted to do a better job communicating to fans, while also asking fans to continue asking them questions in the club’s private fan community on the Geneva app, highlighting their charitable work in donating Nike sports bras to young girls, and mentioning they would be opening up seat deposits.
There were multiple questions about the vetting process, and why Dobrik had been allowed to join as an investor in the first place, given there were several red-flag issues besides the current allegations.
“Look, and at the end of the day, the buck stops with me, I take full accountability, responsibility for all of our investors in our entire team,” said Uhrman.
Later in the Instagram live, Uhrman said, “He has, you know, close [sic] with owners in our ownership group, and felt like would be a good addition to the team...we just need to slow down and do a better job of vetting before we announce anybody, or before we integrate them into the family.”
The closeness Uhrman mentioned likely refers to Dobrik’s former business ties to Alexis Ohanian; Dobrik was a co-founder of photo-sharing app Dispo, which raised $4 million in October last year in a funding round led by Ohanian’s firm Seven Seven Six. However, Dobrik has also stepped down from Dispo, and Seven Seven Six issued a statement supporting Dispo’s decision to cut ties with Dobrik.
The recent allegations against David Dobrik are extremely troubling and are directly at odds with Seven Seven Six’s core values. We have been working closely with Dispo over the last week and are in full support of their decision to part ways with David.— 7️⃣7️⃣6️⃣ (@sevensevensix) March 22, 2021
In the IG live, Uhrman added, “Natalie Portman, Alexis Ohanian, [and] Kara Nortman are supportive of the statement and supportive of the values that Angel City reflects and supportive of our path forward to improve our vetting process and to be more communicative.”
Uhrman also discussed seeming discrepancies in Angel City statements and NWSL statements about the vetting process, namely that an NWSL spokesperson said that Dobrik was “never approved for ownership in the NWSL.”
“So the NWSL, does checks on all owners,” said Uhrman. “As reported, they did not approve David. Timing wise, you know, it all happened at the same time. The news came out, we asked David not to be an owner, he agreed, and as well as the NWSL backed up, you know, our decision and their decision. So we were all on the same page.”
Uhrman said later, “All the other owners have gone through the vetting process. All have been approved, by the NWSL, and have been approved by us.”
All for XI has asked the club to comment on why they were able to list Dobrik as a founding investor if he had not actually been approved by the league as an owner. We will update this article with any response from the club.
There were also repeated questions from fans about why it took Angel City as long as it did to make any kind of concrete statement about Dobrik. “Internally, movement doesn’t always mean making the public statement, especially when it’s something as serious as this,” said Dávila. “So just because it wasn’t visible, doesn’t mean there wasn’t work going on behind the scenes. There absolutely was. And that’s, I think, the point, and the thing that we really learned was just taking the action maybe is not enough, especially in this day and age; we need to let you know what we’re doing.”
As an aside, Uhrman hinted at future ACFC plans. “We have to slow down and take our time to vetting and that’s what we will do do a better job of. But I expect the ownership group group of Angel City to grow,” she said.
“But we’re gonna make more mistakes,” Uhrman said. “And we just want you to give us a little bit of - have some faith that we’re going to do the right thing. And we will and I hope we’ve shown it tonight. Maybe not at the speed that you want it but I hope you can see that we’ve been thoughtful about what it is we’re doing.”