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Internet Users Question MrBeast’s Intentions After Philanthropy Video Building Wells in Africa

Internet Users Question MrBeast’s Intentions After Philanthropy Video Building Wells in Africa

Just a week after MrBeast— real name Jimmy Donaldson— found himself at odds with Rosanna Pansino, the creator is again facing backlash. 

It all started after MrBeast posted a video titled “I Built 100 Wells In Africa” to his over 207 million subscribers last week. As the name suggests, the video follows MrBeast and his team as they help build wells and ensure safe water access to communities across Kenya, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Somalia and Cameroon. 

Throughout their trip to Africa, the MrBeast team also bought new computers for students, supplied bikes to children, rebuilt a bridge and even “powered a village.” 

While many viewers applaud MrBeast for “making a difference,” internet users have frequently raised concerns about his philanthropic-style content. Earlier this year, for example, he uploaded a controversial video claiming to “cure” blindness in 1,000 people.

In true MrBeast fashion, he paid for surgeries to help blind people worldwide. This included hundreds of people from countries where the surgery is unavailable, including Namibia, Mexico, Honduras, Indonesia, Brazil, Vietnam, Kenya, and Jamaica.

At the time, many viewers said that MrBeast’s content can be exploitative for those involved. These users noted that his altruism is both publicised and monetised— often making millions of dollars in profit for his philanthropy. 

Having faced backlash for this type of content in the past, MrBeast defended himself on X soon after uploading his new video. 

“I already know I’m gonna get canceled because I uploaded a video helping people, and to be 100% clear, I don’t care,” he writes. “I’m always going to use my channel to help people and try to inspire my audience to do the same.”

With MrBeast believing he will be “cancelled” for “helping people,” internet users claim that the YouTuber has completely missed the point. 

Viewers don’t have a problem with MrBeast using his resources to help those in need. Instead, they question his decision to make himself the focus of these videos and perpetuate a sort of “white saviour” narrative. 

“No one is “cancelling” you for “helping people”, you’ve received extremely light criticism in the past for the way you’ve monetised “kindness” content that some vulnerable people found to be exploitative,” tech journalist Taylor Lorenz writes. “Inspiring people to help others is great, but encouraging young ppl to exploit vulnerable communities for content which they can then profit off of enormously is the issue.”

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Ryan Broderick of the Garbage Day Substack made a similar claim.

Characterising MrBeast as “unnaturally viral,” Broderick notes that the YouTuber’s rise only came when he shifted from making gameplay videos to creating stunt-based content. With this in mind, many internet users see his philanthropic efforts videos as a relatively transparent attempt to stay relevant.

“At this point, we all know that making purely viral content and chasing audience-agnostic mass appeal, as MrBeast does, requires, in some sense, being a complete sociopath with no concept of what it means to artistically or creatively express something,” Broderick writes. “If he truly cared about philanthropy, for instance, why not just do it and never film it? Well, that’s because philanthropy is just another type of viral content for him.”

As MrBeast continues to share his philanthropic content, he seems to be reinforcing the idea that he creates these videos in the pursuit of viral fame. So the question is: will MrBeast be able to shift his reputation, or is it already too late?

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