So many people are having conversations around the topic of racism these days — which is great! As we all continue to participate in what is (finally) becoming a national conversation, we’re also seeing a lot of public figures called out for their own problematic behavior. One of the latest groups accused of racism is the Vlog Squad.
On June 2, 2020, former Vlog Squad member Seth Francois posted a video to YouTube wherein he expressed his discomfort over participating in some Vlog Squad videos that he felt were racist (or at least had racial undertones).
Did Seth Francois call the Vlog Squad racist?
At the beginning of his video, entitled “'Accountability’ to all Content Creators,” Seth clearly states that he’s not trying to “cancel” anyone. “This video is not meant to damage or harm anyone’s reputation,” he says. He also says that he thinks misinformation and a lack of education are at the root of the problem in many cases, and that he thinks speaking openly is the best way to combat that.
Seth also apologizes at the beginning of the video for taking part in some of the problematic Vlog Squad content, saying, “I first off just really want to apologize from the bottom of my heart for taking a part in this type of content and not taking a stand for my people, and also just apologize to my friends that are involved in these videos to let them know that I’m sorry for not speaking up and saying 'this stuff is wrong.'"
Seth doesn’t call anyone out by name in the video, but rather asks for some accountability from the people behind the problematic content (which happens to include several members of the Vlog Squad, including, most notably, David Dobrik).
He then goes on to share a few clips of old Vlog Squad videos that definitely don’t portray the squad members in a great light. There are several “jokes” that promote racial stereotypes, a joke about blackface, and a “prank” that involved David Dobrik bringing Seth (who is Black) to the police station and turning him in for not paying parking tickets.
David Dobrik has yet to respond to Seth’s video.
As you might expect, the reactions to Seth’s video have been pretty split, with many of David Dobrik’s devoted fans trying to poke holes in Seth’s logic. “Yeah but you were okay with it at the moment right? When you were riding the wave? Now its David’s fault. YOU are responsible for your own actions,” one commenter wrote.
Others have accused Seth of “chasing clout” rather than actually trying to start a dialogue. “I mean I get what you’re saying Seth but if you were really trying to help them you could have done this personally,” another commented. “They’ve all come out and actively supported the movement and donated. These are all bits you’ve supported too at the time.”
While it’s true that David Dobrik and other Vlog Squad members have donated to worthy causes in the past few weeks, Seth makes it pretty clear that he doesn’t think that’s enough. In the caption of another video, he says, “Donating, protesting, and posting are all great but accountability comes first.”
“You all see me online admitting where I was wrong but these caucasian influencers that directly contributed to the issues I was speaking about in my last video, only want to cover up [their] past actions with donations and protesting. You know who you are we want accountability.”
At least for now, it seems as though the Vlog Squad’s reaction to Seth’s video has been to lay low and not respond directly. We’ll have to stay tuned to see whether that changes anytime soon.
If you are looking for ways to donate your time or money to Black Lives Matter and other antiracist organizations, we have created a list of resources to get you started.