Jimmy Donaldson, more popularly known as “MrBeast,” is an incredibly popular YouTuber known for giving away excessive amounts of money, sometimes through a fun game or challenge, but sometimes just for the act of charity. This includes sums of cash, rebuilding homes in devastated areas, or even adopting dogs from a shelter.
In a video released on Sunday, Donaldson cured the blindness of 1,000 people by giving them free cataract surgery. He even surprised some of them with thousands of dollars after their surgeries as a bonus, and even gave a Tesla to one kid who only ever wanted to drive a car.
Donaldson didn’t just help people in America, either. He went to the poor in other countries and gave them their sight back, too. The video is incredibly heartwarming to watch and to be sure, it’s been mostly greeted with a highly positive response.
You can watch the video yourself, below. Grab some tissues, if you’re prone to having feelings.
Despite the overwhelmingly positive response, the permanently outraged are still looking to find reasons to be mad about what Donaldson did. He’s being accused of several bizarre accusations, such as “performative altruism” or “poverty touring.”
The “performative altruism” claim is that Donaldson is doing these acts of charity so he can exploit them for his own personal gain. According to naysaying Twitter users, Donaldson should have just done the work and kept quiet about it, instead of using the footage to make a YouTube video.
The “poverty touring” accusation against Donaldson claims that he’s taking advantage of poor people by filming himself and helping them to make himself richer.
Then, of course, there are those who want to use this act of charity as a way to denounce the capitalist system. This was represented by Twitch streamer and hypocritical socialist Hasan Piker, who denounced American capitalism after watching the video during one of his streams.
“I watched the video and I’m filled with rage, that we shut off access to a 10-minute procedure because we paywalled it and decided that some people just simply can’t get it,” Piker said. “It is so insanely frustrating that it’s up to, like, one YouTube guy to decide to make content out of it, that people who are too poor just can’t … see.”
Artist Brandon Bird, who referred to the video as “demonic,” bemoaned that we live in a system where people can’t just have the surgery if they need it and are instead “paraded for views.”
“People would simply get surgery when they needed it,” said Bird, “neither misfortune nor acts of kindness would be paraded for views, and (something I think is being under-remarked upon) you wouldn’t need to be megarich to do something good.”
Some people think I’m mad at him, don’t care about him at all in fact think he is a fascinating & bizarre person. I don’t know what to tell you if “a single rich guy paid for life changing surgery for us, and it’s easy to do this” doesn’t set off any kind of alarm in your head
— Lolo (@LolOverruled) January 29, 2023
Firstly, let’s correct the record on the “poverty touring.”
It would be one thing if Donaldson was just showing up in these poor communities or countries, gathering people with these ailments together, showing them off for YouTube, and then not doing a thing about it. That’s not what he’s doing. He’s giving these people their eyesight back. He’s making the world a better place, in places where the world hasn’t exactly been the best–and claiming he’s just touring these areas is demonstrably false.
Secondly, I want to kill two birds with one stone. Is he doing performative altruism?
Sure. Be glad he is, because his performances garner more money through the same capitalist system these rich socialists are complaining about. Donaldson can then use the money he garnered through the system to perform more altruistic acts.
He is successfully using the capitalist system to help more people than socialism ever could on its own, and finger-wagging at him for showing the best economic system ever created at its most helpful is like naysaying a sheepdog for demonstrating his skill at protecting the herd.
One has to wonder why they’re mad that the sheep are being so well looked after, and ask why they want the sheepdog to stop doing what it’s doing in the first place.
But ultimately, watching people help people, especially when those people are people in need, is uplifting and inspiring. We get enough negativity in this world, and seeing something as great as watching 1,000 blind people get their vision back is an awesome and heartwarming break from the cold gruel we’re consistently served up in the news and on social media.
Keep it up, sheepdogs.