This month the H3 Podcast with Ethan and Hila Klein and Frenemies, Ethan Klein’s podcast with Trisha Paytas, have brought forth a reckoning of sorts for 24-year-old YouTube and TikTok titan David Dobrik. 26-year-old Seth Francois is the latest former vlog squad member to speak out about his traumatizing experiences with the popular group. Seth has not only been involved in racist jokes, but has also been tricked into making out with Jason Nash on camera not once, but twice. He describes these instances as “sexual assault.”
32-year-old Trisha, who dated 47-year-old Jason Nash for a year, (from February 2018 to February 2019) was a regular on David Dobrik’s vlogs. She was often the butt of the jokes over her mental health struggles and sex work history, which she thought she was fine with until the jokes started pushing too far past her stated boundaries.
Things exploded for Trisha in February 2019 when she had relayed to David that she was not happy with a running joke about Trisha and Jason having a threesome with the then 19-year-old Tana Mongeau. Jason and David went through with filming multiple videos about the joke, including footage with Jason and Tana when Trisha wasn’t there. Trisha sealed her fate with the group when she released a tearful expose of Jason, David, and others. According to Trisha, Jason continued to secretly see her for months after their initial public breakup.
Trisha was hospitalized for mental health reasons several times after splitting with Jason and the group, and she associates the trauma of her experiences from the situation with her need for inpatient mental health care. Part of Trisha’s trauma comes from thinking she was in a real romantic relationship with Jason, and a real friendship with David when hindsight leads her to believe that was not true on their end. This is a sentiment echoed by Seth Francois, who feels that what he experienced was only an illusion of friendship even though it felt real at the time.
Trisha has been speaking out against David, Jason, Brandon Calvillo, and the Vlog Squad for years now, but she’s only recently gotten some backup from other former Vlog Squad members when her Frenemies cohost Ethan Klein took the time to listen and investigate her story.
A deep dive into Trisha’s experience in the Vlog Squad on the February 2 episode of Frenemies was a catalyst for former vlog squad member Nick “BigNik” Keswani to speak out about why he left the hyped friend group.
Although Nick made clear he doesn’t always see eye-to-eye with Trisha Paytas, or trust her motives, he wanted to clear up the fact that he left the Vlog Squad, and not the other way around, because he was growing increasingly uncomfortable with being the target of jokes because of his height. As David and the Vlog’s fame increased, and the vlogs started racking up millions of view, Nick found that people who recognized him in public felt comfortable also joking about his height because they saw it in the vlog. Nick says he experienced suicidal thoughts from his experiences, and self-esteem issues he suffered from in high school resurfaced again because of his treatment in the group. He still insists that David is a good person, and he’s made peace with what happened.
“I did allow David to disrespect me in the videos and that is partially my fault and so everyone just got the notion that ‘we can disrespect BigNik too,” Big Nick said of what it felt like to be a part of the group. “It just felt like a huge cult, just bad energy and I just didn’t want any part of it.”
Seth Francois is the latest former member to speak out, and his story is quite harrowing. Early on in Seth’s friendship with the group, David called Seth to come over to make out with 25-year-old Corinna Kopf for a joke in his vlog. He told Seth that as part of the bit Corinna would be dressed up as an old man. They blindfolded Seth and had Corinna switch costumes with Jason Nash, who then proceeded to make out with Seth.
“David, he’s a very convincing person. He was very calm, and everything seemed normal,” Seth said of the time. He was tired from travel, and although he fine with making out with Corinna for the vlog, he said he didn’t really understand the purpose of it and just wanted to get it over with.
“After Jason pulls off his mask, I realized I was just touched by someone that I did not consent to,” Seth explained on the H3 podcast that aired February 12.
Later, David set up the exact same prank with Seth. This time he used Seth’s job as a casting director as part of the ruse. He told Seth, who was in need of money at the time, that he was hired as an actor in a Jack Link’s commercial. Jack Link’s was actually in on the prank, which included a cast of women dressed up like “sexy gorillas.” Just like in the previous prank, Seth was told he would make out with a girl, but instead Jason Nash stepped in. “It is what it is, it’s not a joke,” Seth says about what happened on the set. “It’s sexual assault.” He also felt like the gorilla element was racially charged.
At this second prank, Seth had the added problem of having to fight to get paid for the fee he was promised when he was told it would be a real commercial. When he asked David for the money, David initially tried to get him to settle for just being linked to in the description of the vlog instead of the agreed-upon $2500 fee.
The aftermath of this experience led Seth to choose to move from L.A. to Atlanta to escape the constant attention he would get about it on the streets. This is a similar experience to what Nick went through in that strangers felt they had a license to treat members of the vlog squad in an abusive manner because of the behavior they witnessed on the vlogs.
“Now millions of people kind of are misconstruing my own sexuality something that he did not have my consent for,” Seth reveals about why he chose to move across the country. In L.A. Seth had people coming up to him constantly bringing up a situation he found traumatizing.
“It is so incredibly tough as a man to have to say that you were sexually assaulted by a man,” Seth said of the pain of his experience. “The amount of trauma that you deal with, you don’t want to even explain it to your family and your friends.” Seth goes on to say that his own family didn’t believe that he didn’t consent to what happened to him with Jason.
Seth previously spoke out about the racially insensitive jokes David involved him in this past June. “First off, I just want to apologize from the bottom of my heart,” Seth says at the beginning of the video, “for being a part of this type of content and not taking a stand for my people, and also just apologize to even my friends who are involved in these videos, to let them know that I’m sorry for not speaking up for saying that this stuff is wrong.”
Seth deeply regrets the bits and jokes he participated in as he feels he disrespected his family and heritage. Furthermore, his participation in these skits has hurt his reputation among other black creators. In the video above he apologizes for his involvement in these damaging jokes.
There was no personal response or apology from David, Jason or the rest of the group to Seth about the racist jokes or the kissing pranks. However, around the time of Seth’s original video Jason Nash invited some black friends onto his vlog to awkwardly discuss current events related to Black Lives Matter.
Nick is the only one of the three who have told their stories to have had a personal apology from David Dobrik, which he says he received privately before he left the group, and long before he appeared on the H3 podcast.