By: Thomas Horvath
The YouTuber and philanthropist Jimmy Donaldson, better known as MrBeast, has been getting into controversy lately due to his video 1,000 Blind People See For The First Time, where he pays for one thousand eye surgeries. The video was well received by most, but a vocal minority has been shaming the video, saying that it was exploitative and greed-driven. This accusation has been following him and his channels for a while now and has sparked a bigger debate. The main question is: is this type of charity well-spirited, or is this just for selfish reasons?
For those who don’t know his story, MrBeast got his start by doing pretty normal videos of him playing Minecraft. He then started making videos of himself doing absurdly long videos that most normal people would never waste their time doing, like reading every word in the dictionary without stopping. These videos got him a bit more traction, but he really took off in 2018, when he made it his duty to make sure everyone subscribed to Pewdiepie, who was, at the time, the most subscribed to Youtuber. Pewdiepie started a subscriber war with T-Series, a channel that uploads Bollywood music videos. Donaldson started spending loads of money on advertisements for Pewdiepie, including every billboard in his city and holding a banner promoting Pewdiepie at the Super Bowl. Since then, MrBeast has been spending loads of money on every one of his videos. This has paid off for him, as he recently surpassed Pewdiepie as the most subscribed to Youtuber, with over 115 million subscribers on just his main channel.
There are many examples of people being exploitative and scamming their audiences. With the insane popularity of MrBeast, there will, of course, be copycats doing similar big-budget videos to pull in clicks. These videos normally focus on the challenge part of his videos and less so the philanthropy, but occasionally will try and do the philanthropy. These videos tend to be faked, however, but there are occasionally those who really do donate. A friend of MrBeast’s and a popular YouTuber, Mark Rober, is known for his fun and inventive videos and for co-founding a charity dedicated to cleaning the seas of the world with MrBeast. This charity ended up raising over $33 million and has gotten over 30 million pounds of trash out of the ocean.
Although all of these great things have come from Donaldson’s works, some YouTubers have used his tactics for their own greed. Many members of the Faze Clan started a fundraiser named Save the Kids, which got many donations from their young, naive audience. This was later exposed as a scam, which made them receive tons of backlash. Another YouTuber, Fidias, made a video where he visited the poorest country on the planet. He did nothing to help or raise awareness about their situation and just walked around shoving cameras in the faces of impoverished people.
To lump in MrBeast with these posers would not be fair to what he has accomplished. Even if his videos are made to make him rich, and he sincerely does not care about anybody he helps, at the end of the day, what he is doing is good, and his broadcasting this to younger kids is teaching them to be kind, generous, and eager to help out those who need it.