YouTuber Jimmy “MrBeast” Donaldson has sparked an interesting bit of discussion online because of his latest video. Perhaps this is the fate of a content creator when, as in the case of MrBeast, they get the “King of YouTube.” However, the wrath generated by the feel-good maker, while accurate in criticism, is completely misguided in direction.
Read more: YouTube’s most subscribed king is now MrBeast, not PewDiePie
Of about 131 million subscribers on Google’s video sharing platform, and millions more TikTok and Twitter—MrBeast has become the new “King of YouTube” as of November 2022, even surpassing creator Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg’s astronomical subscriber numbers all-time. Spend enough time on the site and regardless of whether the algorithm has your number or not, it is possible that a MrBeast video will appear on your homepage. And even if not, his videos get millions of views and show up on the Trending pages in categories like the “Now” and “Gaming” sections. And with so many eyes come almost as many comments and thoughts.
This is exactly what happened with MrBeast’s latest video. The video, titled “1,000 blind people see for the first time,” was uploaded on January 28 and has already been viewed more than 62 million times. It ranks third on YouTube’s Trending page at the time of writing – and for good reason! Read that title again. The dude helped people regain their sight. “In this video we cure the blindness of 1,000 people,” MrBeast says at the beginning of the exactly eight-minute video. “It’s getting crazy.”
Crazy was right! As MrBeast and an unnamed surgeon explained in the video, the people chosen for the “10-minute surgery” appear to be a form of cataract, which is a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye. Regardless of age, the protein in the eyes can break down and clump together, causing that blurriness that some people experience. By using a “small vacuum to suck up the cloudy lens and replace it with an artificial lens”, also known as an intraocular lens, people can see again. And MrBeast’s video makes it a point to illustrate just how life-changing this “simple surgery” is. He’s gifting people $10,000 as they roll on the floor and, in some cases, cry through brighter, saltier eyes. I mean, MrBeast gave a patient a Tesla and another $50,000 for college after the successful procedure. Hell, MrBeast even took the operation abroad to help blind people in Brazil, Honduras and Mexico because “nearly half of the population with curable blindness cannot access this operation.” To say it’s heartwarming is an understatement.
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While many people online are applauding what MrBeast has done with this particular video, myself included, not everyone is happy with his philanthropy. The main core of the criticism is that he exploits people with disabilities clout and finally, gain. Since he does charity work, people say MrBeast shouldn’t try to cash in on that work by creating content that generates more eyeballs on him. He should do this in secret, the consensus goes, and not call it quits.
But that completely misses the mark. As some have noted online, including streamer Hasan “Hasanabi” Piker, the real problem is not MrBeast’s philanthropy, but rather the paid access to a simple surgery that can have healthy, long-lasting, positive effects on an individual’s eyesight. Think that, according to the nonprofit organization MyVision.org, the average cost of cataract surgery in the US is somewhere between $3,500 and $7,000 per eye. That excludes any kind of insurance benefits, which, as someone with the often uninsured eye condition called keratoconus, means people could be saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in hospital bills. If anything, MrBeast’s tear-jerking video is an indictment of our failing, ultra-capitalist healthcare system. The fault should not lie with MrBeast. It should be with Big Pharma.
MrBeast is aware of this and asks on Twitter why “governments don’t step in and help”. However, he seems to have internalized some of the criticism by tweeting that people on the Bird app are mad because he helps others with his money, something he acknowledges that people expect of the wealthy. He even did polled his followers about voting for him if he ran for president, with nearly 70 percent saying “Yes.” It’s clear that people enjoy what MrBeast does with the money he makes from YouTube.
my city contacted MrBeast for comment.
Further, recording his philanthropic works and sharing them on YouTube, where they can generate millions of views, will likely fund MrBeast’s charitable endeavors. While relying on the wealth of a single person is far from ideal, it is a temporary Band-Aid on a fundamental wealth distribution problem as our publicly funded institutions, such as libraries and schools, are extremely underserved and severely underfunded thanks to inaction. of government and pathetic legislation. It’s extremely frustrating, especially since there are ways the broken system can be fixed to benefit more people than it does today.
However, at the end of the day, the real problem here is capitalism. Since everything is for profit, no one can do anything when money is at stake. Even if MrBeast were to become the president in an alternate reality, until we disconnect our society from the ills of capitalism, until we learn to do things simply because it’s the right thing to do and not because it will generate views and revenue, nothing will change. MrBeast is not infallible, and criticism of him or his philanthropic efforts is totally fine. But we need to make sure we’re criticizing the right thing, and in this case what earns wrath is our stupid, for-profit, privatized healthcare system.