Youtube content has certainly evolved from the simple days of accent challenges and entertaining back-to-school videos.
What was once a fun platform for people to post 10-minute videos about their lives and hobbies has transformed into a means of making millions in a brief amount of time.
Over the past five years or so, Youtube stardom has become synonymous with the opulent Los Angeles lifestyle worth millions of dollars.
Gone are the days when collaborations were the most popular content for audiences. Now, creators engage in boxing matches and videos exposing one another.
Along with this, there is one creator who has swiftly ascended to the top.
MrBeast has become one of the platform’s highest-paid and most renowned creators through his videos in which he organizes people to take part in massive challenges.
However, the thing audiences adore about him is that he generously gives away millions in these videos.
With a net worth of $25 million, it is evident to viewers that he has the financial resources to spare in return for his content to go viral every single time.
The Ascent of MrBeast
Born Jimmy Donaldson in Kansas on May 7, 1998, the creator had relatively modest beginnings.
He and his brother were primarily raised in Greenville, North Carolina, and he graduated from Greenville Christian Academy in 2016. Donaldson briefly attended East Carolina University before he dropped out.
His initial Youtube video was posted in 2013, on a channel named MrBeast6000, when he was thirteen years old.
The channel’s content commenced with the prevalent gaming genre Let’s PLays, where the creator plays a video game and provides commentary through voiceover.
He then began creating videos where he estimated the wealth of the platform’s most prominent Youtubers and commented on the drama that occurred on the platform.
Between 2015 and 2016, Donaldson’s channel began to gain popularity. He uploaded a series of ‘worst intros’ videos, where he mockingly referenced Youtuber introductions.
By mid-2016, he had acquired approximately 30,000 subscribers and made the decision to leave college.
MrBeast finally went viral in 2017, with a video of himself counting to 100,000 being posted on his channel.
The process took him 44 hours, with sections of the video being sped up to keep the video length under 24.
Regarding his decision to create the video in the first place, Donaldson stated, “I just truly desired it,” referencing the need to achieve great success, adding, “I had dropped out of college, I wasn’t really making much. I knew it would go viral.”
After four years of effort, he had finally found a niche in the Youtube algorithm.
He commenced posting videos of himself, devoting endless hours to nonsensical activities to attract a following, such as spinning a fidget spinner for 24 hours or watching fellow Youtuber Jake Paul’s music video for 10 hours.
He finally reached a million subscribers by November that year – beginning to amass part of his now-exponential net worth.
MrBeast: The Platform’s Preferred Creator
Following this milestone, it appeared as though the platform had an insatiable desire for the creator.
His videos were nearly always trending, and there was no escaping one of his thumbnails when browsing the website.
Not all of his videos yielded success, and Donaldson ensured that he shared his failures on the platform.
One of these endeavors involved an attempt to remain underwater for 24 hours, which failed due to health issues Donaldson was already grappling with (he disclosed that he had been suffering from Crohn’s disease – making the challenge even more arduous).
He also began dispensing money when he involved other individuals in his exploits.
Those who triumphed in challenges were generously rewarded, and by 2018 he had given away $1 million. This earned him the title of ‘Youtube’s biggest philanthropist.’
Fans have labeled certain videos as belonging to the realm of “junklord Youtube.” These include stunts such as “repeatedly visiting the same drive-thru 1000 times” and the “last to remove hand gets a Lamborghini challenge,” where Donaldson has an exorbitant amount of cash to expend.
He has been commended for his charitable endeavors, involving local audiences in environmental cleanups that he documents on the MrBeast channel.
On October 25, 2019, he collaborated with Youtuber and former NASA engineer Mark Rober to orchestrate a fundraising event on Youtube, dubbing it #TeamTrees.
The two aimed to raise $20 million for the Arbor Day Foundation by the start of 2020 and plant more trees by the end of 2022.
In October 2021, the duo joined forces once more to establish #TeamSeas, a project focused on ocean conservancy and cleanup.
For every dollar donated, a pound of trash is removed.
As of December 21, they have amassed over $20 million; consequently, 20 million pounds worth of trash has been expunged.
Donaldson also launched a burger company called MrBeast Burgers to further enhance his net worth. It sold over a million meals in three months.
MrBeast Has Experienced Controversy
Similar to every other influencer, individuals delved into MrBeast’s past.
Despite unearthing old tweets in which he had used racial and homophobic slurs, social media users swiftly accepted a simple apology and moved on.
In May 2021, The New York Times published an article on MrBeast alleging that the creator had been mistreating and demeaning his staff.
The Times reported that eleven former employees had accused Donaldson of creating a “challenging work environment” and stating that his on-screen cheerful persona “changed when the camera wasn’t around.”
The author of the article, Taylor Lorenz, informed Insider:
“Working for a 22-year-old YouTube star isn’t going to be the most professional work environment, but if you are positioning yourself as a business leader or the next Elon Musk, you should contemplate the type of work culture you’re creating and what you are rewarding.”
Lorenz had included statements made by former MrBeast editor Matt Tuner, who worked for the channel from 2018 to 2019.
Turner had mentioned that he was rarely credited for his work and that Donaldson often used a slur against mentally disabled individuals whenever irritated by staff members.
He had once uploaded a video elucidating his allegations against Donaldson, even posting a now-deleted Twitter thread in which he claimed he was “yelled at, bullied, called mentally r— and replaceable by MrBeast every single day.”
In one of his recent videos, many social media users and media outlets have censured MrBeast’s parody of the Netflix hit Squid Game, accusing the creator of missing the essence of the series.
In his version, those who succumb to capitalist tendencies are not penalized, and the intent of the show to shed light on such issues is overshadowed by the entertainment value MrBeast’s video brings to the otherwise gritty social commentary.