A well-intentioned YouTuber has been denounced for his altruism after he spent potentially millions of dollars paying for 1,000 people to get their sight back. The only problem is, he videoed the entire thing and posted it online.
Content creator Mr Beast, the biggest individual creator on the YouTube platform, is well known for his acts of generosity. He raised $20,000,000 to plant 20,000,000 trees; he adopted every dog in one animal shelter; he bought a private island and then gave it away. He has also repeatedly handed out tens of thousands of dollars to streamers on the video platform Twitch and the game Fortnite, and called homeless shelters to ask what they needed—from TVs to towels and bed sheets—before dropping $20,000 worth of the goods at their door.
His channel—which boasts 131 million subscribers—is packed with footage of his charitable actions, and he even has an entire platform called Beast Philanthropy that boasts 11 million subscribers.
And yet his most recent video has been slammed for "making content out of people who can't see". In the video, 24-year-old Mr Beast, real name Jimmy Donaldson, emphatically tells the camera: "In this video we're going to be curing 1,000 people's blindness. It's gonna be crazy."
Cut to clips of emotional patients seeing their families clearly for the first time, with some handed silver cases filled with $10,000 in cash. One high school graduate named Jeremiah is given a massive cheque for $50,000 to go towards his college fees.
Although the video has garnered millions of 'likes' and tens of thousands of positive comments, others have said it fueled "rage" with many questioning why it took a YouTuber stepping in to get people their sight back. Political commentator and Twitch streamer Hasan Piker, known as HasanAbi, said: "I watch the video and I'm filled with rage. We shut off access to a ten-minute procedure because we paywalled it and decided that some people just simply can't get it.
"It's insanely frustrating that it's up to one Youtube guy to decide to make content out of it [...] the people who are too poor can't just see. That's insane. It's a deeply frustrating concept." Those commenting on the stream weighed in: "Now you have to be filmed for a YouTube video to get vision."
Fury with the system
Many were quick to signpost their fury was with the system, not with Mr Beast himself.
YouTuber 'The Zatzman' wrote: "It's deeply frustrating to have to rely on a benevolent content king making feel-good videos, rather than addressing the root causes of these problems." Another added: "The fact that a YouTuber can snap his fingers and change all these peoples lives yet none of them were able to afford to do this incredible thing for themselves is heartbreaking and ridiculous."
I don’t understand why curable blindness is a thing. Why don’t governments step in and help? Even if you’re thinking purely from a financial standpoint it’s hard to see how they don’t roi on taxes from people being able to work again.— MrBeast (@MrBeast) January 30, 2023
Mr Beast himself has even questioned why governments don't do more to help those who have curable blindness. He wrote on Twitter: "I don't understand why curable blindness is a thing. Even if you're thinking purely from a financial standpoint it's hard to see who they don't rot on taxes from people being able to work again."
Defending his actions from the backlash he added he had been branded "bad" despite pledging: "I'll us my money to help people and I promise to give away all my money before I die. Every single penny."
Representatives for Mr Beast were approached for comment but did not immediately respond.
Twitter - Rich people should help others with their money— MrBeast (@MrBeast) January 30, 2023
Me - Okay, I’ll use my money to help people and I promise to give away all my money before I die. Every single penny.
Twitter - MrBeast bad