By: SYDNEY YACULLO
David Dobrik and Jeff Wittek are both a part of one of the most famous friend groups on YouTube, the Vlog Squad. The friend group went viral for doing crazy skits and stunts for social media star David Dobrik’s channel. Each of Dobrik’s videos get millions of views a piece, landing him at 18.4 M subscribers. The intriguing part of Dobrik’s videos that viewers seem to enjoy is the length of his vlogs. All of his videos are 4:21 minutes long. Traditionally, YouTube videos tend to be longer as there isn’t really a limit to the length of your content. That being said, Dobrik catered towards people with short attention spans as he kept his videos packed with action and decently short.
Jeff Wittek, originally from New York, got introduced to Dobrik and joined the vlog squad in 2019. Since then, Wittek quickly became a fan favorite, playing the role as the “pretty boy” in Dobrik’s skits. He has his own YouTube channel called “Jeff’s Barbershop,” where he cuts other Youtubers and social media stars’ hair. This channel has also given him loads of success as his videos are comedic, and are in the form of a casual conversation or interview, which very much differed from the content of Dobrik’s channel.
The vlog squad has been known for doing crazy pranks and skits, which resulted in many people getting injured. With this time in particular though, it was inches away from being fatal.
On June 30, 2020 Wittek posted a series of photos of him in the hospital to his Instagram account with the caption, “Sorry I haven’t posted any new pics of the mullet this week. I got in an accident and broke my face and skull in a few places. But I’m OK. I’m more alive than ever. I’ll heal up good as new, and I’ll get some new pics of that mullet up as soon as they can get me a blow dryer up to my hospital room.”
No one knew the cause of this terrible accident that left him in the hospital with a broken skull, and they didn’t find out until a little less than a year later. On April 15th, he posted the trailer to his upcoming documentary series on his YouTube channel which would explain the story of his terrible accident.
The first episode of the series was posted on April 18th, with the title “COMING CLEAN ABOUT EVERYTHING |Ep1| Don’t Try This At Home.” This episode mainly covered his backstory. He went to New York where he is from, and spoke with family and old friends about his troubled past. He showed his growth and character, explaining the rebellious mistakes he made as a teen and young adult, which put him in jail many times. He also explains how he met David Dobrik, and how Dobrik was extremely fascinated with his troubled past.
Towards the end of the video, Wittek explains the mindset of many Youtubers, as you need to “one up yourself every time,” and make every video better than your last.
Episode two of Jeff’s series came out on April 21st, with the title “HOW I BROKE MY FACE.” This video though, has an age restriction on it, as it shows graphic photos and videos from the accident.
Because of the pandemic, Dobrik had not been able to film videos for his channel due to social distancing restrictions. When the group was finally able to get back together, he wanted to make an epic comeback by creating a video with epic stunts.
One of the stunts for this video was going to be a skydiving stunt. Vlog squad members Jeff Wittek, Toddy Smith, and Natalie Noel all committed to participate in this stunt. In order to get their skydiving licence though, they needed to jump 25 times out of an airplane. Since they wanted to get their licences as quickly as possible, they ended up jumping 6-7 times per day. If anything, Wittek was expecting to get injured doing this stunt, but that wasn’t the case.
After jumping out of the plane 25 times , Wittek, Noel, and Smith all headed to Utah to film the other stunts that were going to be in the video, “One of those stunts involved swinging around on an excavator.” Vlog squad member Corinna Kopf is the first on the rope, which was attached to an excavator that David Dobrik was driving. “In one clip, viewers can see Corinna Kopf swinging on the rope, before telling David to let her down because he had started spinning too fast. She can be heard saying “You take things too far,” before Jeff confirms in a voiceover that it was directed at David.
After Kopf is let down from the excavator, Wittek volunteers to try next, which was a terrible idea. In the video Wittek states, “”I just jumped out of a plane 20 times, what’s the worst that could happen if I swing from a rope over a one-foot-deep lake?”
The excavator starts to spin, but Dobrik gets a little carried away and accidentally moves the vehicle too fast, causing Jeff to spin out of control and slam into it.
Once he hits the excavator, Jeff’s body falls into the water and some members of the Vlog Squad run into the lake to save him. In Wittek’s podcast he mentions that “he gets emotional watching the part of the video where people run and save him. He said Smith, Hijazi, Scotty Sire, and Ilya Federovich all ran to rescue him. They put him on a raft to get him to shore as he was bleeding profusely.” In regards to that moment, David Dobrik says, “Time literally slows down.”
Viewers were quickly livid with David Dobrik as he almost killed one of his close friends while attempting a stunt. Wittek released the third episode of the series on April 25th, titled “AFTER THE ACCIDENT.” In this episode, Wittek shows his recovery process in the hospital and explains his injuries from the accident.
When he appeared on Logan Paul’s podcast “Impaulsive”, “He said he smashed his face on a steel structure, shattered his skull and face in 9 places and now has a number of metal plates in his face. He also broke his hip.” This accident could have easily been fatal.
Wittek also explains that he felt some resentment towards Dobrik as he mentions, “The first Instagram story would be him, and I would click on it, and it would be him being praised for something that he accomplished that week. And I’m sitting here in my house, in the worst place I’ve ever been, thinking I’m never going to get back to where I was at.” Wittek mentions that he wished David came to see him more, and that “all he had to do was come to check on me. Come talk to me, man to man, in person. I wanted to make it clear to him that this was a problem that we both had to fix now.”
Wittek also expresses that he knows Dobrik didn’t do it on purpose. He states, “David, he didn’t sign up to nearly kill his friend and nearly lose everything that he’s worked for. Nobody asked for this. But this is what happened.”
David’s involvement makes fans angry as they feel that he always takes things too far for views. Some are also upset because, “Dobrik himself has not addressed the incident outside of his involvement in Wittek’s series.”
TheWrap states that, “One person said “It’s insane that the entire time we were under the impression David ‘stopped’ vlogging because of COVID when he really stopped because he almost killed one of his best friends.” Another Twitter user says, “David Dobrik was swinging Jeff Wittek around while driving the excavator with ONE hand. He has his camera in the other hand filming him.”
Along with the backlash from this accident, Dobrik has been getting heat after another scandal going around. TheWrap says, “The new video comes after weeks of fallout for Dobrik amid allegations of sexual assault and other inappropriate behavior by members of the Vlog Squad.” Adding this accident with Wittek onto his plate is making him very problematic on the internet, and he has been losing many supporters.
Ever since the accident, Wittek has been recovering with the best doctors possible, trying to get his life back after it almost being taken away from him. If the accident had played out with the slightest differences, he may not even be here today. “A doctor explained later in the video that if Wittek had landed in the water “three millimeters higher” at the same angle, his eye would’ve been “cut right in half.” The doctor said: “You could’ve died so easy.””