A former member of David Dobrik's "Vlog Squad" is speaking out about the treatment he received while a part of the group. After leaving the group in 2018, Nik Keswani, who is better known as BigNik, recently opened up about his experience as a member of the friend group during an appearance on the H3H3 After Dark podcast, admitting that he was subject to bullying and that his time with the group made him feel "worthless."
Speaking on the podcast, Keswani likened the Vlog Squad to a "cult" and "high school kind of bullying." The Squad was made up of a group of popular vloggers and brought Dobrik millions of followers, according to Insider. In the short videos, typically around four minutes, the group would do funny skits, though Keswani, who has dwarfism, was often the target of many jokes about his height. He said being part of the group was mentally draining, revealing that other members would gossip about him privately.
"They gossip behind your back, they have this superiority complex and you can just feel it in the room," he said. "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.' It just felt like a huge cult, just bad energy and I just didn't want any part of it."
Keswani said he often thought about leaving the group and would tell his friends, "'Yo, I've got to get out of this, I can't do this.'" He said he was "constantly stressing about 'How do I escape from this.'" He said his relationship with Dobrik became strained while he was a Vlog Squad member due to the YouTuber using him and his physical appearance as punchlines and treating him "like a punching bag." He said that because Dobrike disrespected him "in the videos, and so then everybody else got the notion of 'Oh, okay, we can disrespect BigNik too, because our master does it.'" According to Keswani, how he was treated contributed to his struggles with depression and led to him feeling suicidal.
"For a long time, I felt worthless being in those videos; I was like 'Dude, why am I even here? What's the point of my existence?' Because I was just treated like this punching bag," Keswani said. "Everyone was just joking about me, mocking me."
Keswani ultimately left the group in 2018, and while his experience with the group wasn't great, he said he has no hard feelings towards Dobrik. According to Keswani, after leaving the group, he reached out to Dobrik in 2019 to discuss his experience, and Dobrik apologized. Keswani said he and Dobrik are now on good terms.