Culture News

"Durte Dom," Former Member of David Dobrik's Vlog Squad, Has Been Accused of Sexual Assault

A woman under the pseudonym Hannah alleges Internet personality Dom Zeglaitis forced her into having sex with him while she was too drunk to consent, during a bit filmed for David Dobrik's channel.

@durtedom on Instagram

Content warning: This article contains mentions of rape.

A young woman has accused Dom Zeglaitis, the Internet personality known for his appearances in YouTuber David Dobrik's massively popular vlogs, of rape.

Insider reports that the woman, under the pseudonym Hannah, joined her friends in November 2018 to record a video with the Vlog Squad — Dobrik's group of friends who have somewhat become reality stars in their own right. Hannah alleges that before meeting Dobrik and Zeglaitis, the latter had told Hannah's friends he was interested in "hooking up" with them. Zeglaitis had often been portrayed as a womanizer and sex addict in Dobrik's vlogs.

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Music Features

FKA twigs Sues Shia LaBeouf for Physical and Emotional Abuse

"What I went through with Shia was the worst thing I've ever been through," the musician said of her actor ex-boyfriend.

Shia LaBeouf

Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI/Shutterstock

Content warning: This article contains description of sexual assault.

Musician FKA twigs has sued her ex-boyfriend, actor Shia LaBeouf, citing "relentless" physical, emotional, and mental abuse.

"I'd like to be able to raise awareness on the tactics that abusers use to control you and take away your agency," twigs, born Tahliah Barnett, told the New York Times. In the lawsuit, she cited a 2019 incident in which she was on a road trip with LaBeouf, who was driving, as he threatened to crash the car unless she professed her love for him. After finally letting Barnett out of the car at a nearby gas station, LaBeouf allegedly assaulted her, marking one of many instances in which the musician said her ex-boyfriend had abused her throughout their almost year-long relationship.

LaBeouf and Barnett met in 2018 on the set of Honey Boy, a largely autobiographical film written by the former. Once their "honeymoon phase" wore off, Barnett said LeBeouf began exemplifying controlling behavior, to the point where she was unable to fulfill work responsibilities. Her critically-acclaimed 2019 album, MAGDALENE, was delayed as a result.

"I just thought to myself, no one is ever going to believe me," Barnett told the Times. "I'm unconventional. And I'm a person of color who is a female...What I went through with Shia was the worst thing I've ever been through in the whole of my life."

Barnett's lawsuit also mentions plans to donate a large portion of any monetary damages to domestic violence charities.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, you can call 800-799-SAFE (7233), or chat live at the National Domestic Violence Hotline's website.

Culture News

Duffy Opens Up About What Helped Her Survive Assault and Years of Isolation

Singer Duffy has shared the details of her kidnapping and sexual assault in a new blog post.


Photo by Alex Macnaughton/Shutterstock

This article contains mentions of sexual assault that some readers may find disturbing.

In February, singer Duffy told the world the cause of her decade-long absence from music: trauma from a kidnapping and rape. This Sunday, Duffy detailed the events and their aftermath in a 3600-word blog post on her website.

The post briefly describes what happened, but it focuses more on Duffy's psychological trauma following the event and, eventually, describes her slow journey towards the decision to share her story.

She acknowledges the fact that her post comes in the midst of coronavirus, when millions are stuck at home, living in fear and instability and isolation. "It troubles me that this story contains sorrow, when so many need the opposite of that at this time," she begins. "I can only hope that my words serve as a momentary distraction or maybe even some comfort that one can come out of darkness."

Her decision to post the story comes from a knowledge that just like she will never be able to become who she was before she was raped, there will never be a right time to share her story—and now, it might be able to help some people who feel as lost and scared as she did.

"I was tired of hiding," she wrote. "What is also hard to explain is that, in hiding, in not talking, I was allowing the rape to become a companion. Me and it living in my being, I no longer wanted to feel that intimacy with it, a decade of that intimacy has been destructive. I had to set myself free. I have been hurt and it would have been dangerous to talk from that hurt place in the past, prior to feeling ready."

The description of what happened to her is brief and vague and horrifying, like the stuff of true nightmares. "It was my birthday, I was drugged at a restaurant," Duffy writes. From there, she was taken home and drugged, then brought to a foreign country in a plane and a car, where she was raped in a hotel room for days. Eventually, her assailant took her back to her house and held her there. At last he left, but the trauma did not. The ordeal lasted four weeks.

Following what happened, Duffy wrote, she spent a long time with the memories as a silent companion, living in isolation, hiding from the world and wasting away. She told no one, blaming herself, wondering what she'd done to deserve what happened. She moved to five different houses before finally settling down, never feeling safe until she reached the "fifth house," in an unspecified location somewhere by the ocean. Appropriately, the essay is called "The 5th House." Eventually, she told a psychologist and a police officer what happened, and she slowly began to reconnect with life and the world. She ultimately found solace in the quote, "In the end, it's never between them and you, it's always between them and God."

Because of all this, Duffy is no stranger to painful solitude. After she was raped, she spent a long time isolating herself, struggling and failing to love and trust. Throughout the essay, she extends love and sympathy to anyone feeling alone and afraid right now.

Now, she wants to share her story in order to connect with and help others facing isolation and fear. What helped her survive years of isolation was therapy, gratitude, time, and the generosity of fans and friends who opened their homes to her and extended support.

Isolation can be extremely painful, but there are ways to make it through. "Knowing the mind's science enables you to manage it," she advised. "And isolation is a small price to pay for saving lives, therefore we must be strong in the face of it. This demands us all, as one, to act for each other; never has mindfulness been so vital as it is now," she continued. "Naturally, the key is love. If you are reading this and are sad my encouragement to you is that … to know pain, you must first know how to love. Only the absence of love causes pain. So, go find it. Seek love in everything, even in a teacup."

Duffy -

Duffy ends the essay by saying that she hopes to produce more music and feels she owes it to herself to produce a body of work someday, but she can't promise anything. "Hopefully no more "what happened to Duffy questions," she concludes. "Now you know… and I am free."

Duffy's decision to go public with her story was praised by Rape Crisis, a rape charity. Katie Russel, the national spokesperson for the England and Wales branch of the organization, said that the post was "a really bold move" and "really commendable."

"We know through our frontline work at Rape Crisis why so few victims and survivors do speak about what has happened to them, or indeed report it to the police," Russell said. "It is because there is a lot of shame and stigma still attached to being raped or sexually assaulted and there are a lot of myths and stereotypes out there around the kind of people it happens to. In speaking out Duffy is reaching out to those people who maybe are suffering on their own.

"When people in the public eye speak about their experiences it really does help to encourage debate and widen understanding. That's really important because there is still a lack of understanding and we don't talk enough about rape and sexual violence."

Speaking out can never make up the lost time and loss of self that comes after something like this, but it can create new pathways of hope and strength for other people affected by these horrible things. In her post, Duffy wrote, "I am sharing this because we are living in a hurting world and I am no longer ashamed… I believe that if you speak from the heart within you, the heart within others will answer. As dark as my story is, I do speak from my heart, for my life, and for the life of others, whom have suffered the same."

Similarly, making it through and recovering from COVID-19 will require community action and connection like nothing we've seen before, but it will also take things from us that we'll never get back—including time. What we can do is find the small moments of gratitude within it all and extend love to others while we can.

Or, as Duffy says, "There will be great change to come from our shared crisis, a renewed understanding and appreciation of freedom and human connection, but nothing comforts loss, only time."


Grimes' New Song Connects Assault on Women and Assault on the Earth

The single, "So Heavy I Fell Through the Earth," comes in two forms.


Grimes has finally released the first single from her forthcoming album, Miss Anthropocene, due February 2020.

The single, "So Heavy I Fell Through the Earth," comes in two forms: a six-minute "Art Mix" and a four-minute "Algorithm Mix," the latter more radio-ready, the former more expansive and dreamlike.

In March 2019, she told Pitchforkthat her next album, Miss Anthropocene, was going to be "a concept album about the anthropomorphic goddess of climate Change." Each song, she said, would be "a different embodiment of human extinction as depicted through a Pop star Demonology."

It's not exactly clear what form of apocalypse "So Heavy I Fell Through the Earth" describes, though it does appear to be about some kind of assault. "Oh, silly love," she sings. "Coming here / when I say go." Back in April, she told The Faderthat the song is about "when a dude comes inside you, you become in their thrall—how it's an attack on your feminist freedom."

Below all the layers of synth and abstraction, it does seem like the single is critiquing patriarchal abuse of women. In light of her description of the album's overall theme, it could also be a critique of mankind's aggression towards the Earth.

These two impulses—man's impulse to dominate women and humankind's insistence on dominating the planet—are, in some ways, quite related. They're also connected (though certainly not equivalent) to white people's habit of colonizing, enslaving, and dominating the rest of the planet, and on capitalism's insistence on building up a select few on top of the bodies of others.

Humans, particularly those in positions of power, have always dominated others, at terrible costs, in order to maintain their status. Today, that tendency threatens to destroy the world. Perhaps, by connecting various forms of oppression and embodying Earth's and humanity's growing frustration with them, Grimes is tapping into a truly revolutionary sentiment. Time will tell if it's enough to cut through the haze.

Grimes - So Heavy I Fell Through the Earth (Visualizer)

Culture News

Soulja Boy Accused of Kidnapping and Assault

The woman claims she was left tied up for 6 hours.

Soulja Boy

By Dooley Productions / Shutterstock

A California woman claimed Saturday that Soulja Boy kidnapped her. The victim, Kayla, who was supposedly dating the rapper, was at Soulja Boy's Agoura Hills house Friday night when the two began arguing and Kayla was consequently asked to leave around 2:30 am. While backing down the driveway, she reportedly clipped the curb, drawing an angry reaction from Soulja Boy's assistant who witnessed the incident.

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