The well-known philanthropist and YouTube giant, MrBeast, has encountered a wave of criticism after his latest project in Africa.
Jimmy Donaldson, popularly known as MrBeast, faces a fresh wave of scrutiny following the release of his new video showcasing the funding and construction of 100 wells across various African nations. The digital philanthropist anticipated backlash, stating he expects to “get canceled” for his charitable actions, which have historically drawn fire.
MrBeast, who has previously faced labels such as “white savior” and been called “demonic” for his humanitarian content, has now been accused of overshadowing the efforts of local governments and international organizations. His initiative, stretching across Cameroon, Kenya, Somalia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, will provide clean drinking water to approximately 500,000 people.
The wells were constructed in villages and schools across Africa and were created using giant drills to access pure water sources underground.
In addition to the wells, MrBeast’s video features donations of educational supplies to Kenyan schools and the construction of a bridge to facilitate community access to medical facilities and educational institutions.
Despite the tangible benefits of these projects, the social media star has been met with mixed reactions.
“I already know I’m gonna get canceled because I uploaded a video helping people, and to be 100% clear, I don’t care. I’m always going to use my channel to help people and try to inspire my audience to do the same,” the social media star wrote.
I already know I’m gonna get canceled because I uploaded a video helping people, and to be 100% clear, I don’t care. I’m always going to use my channel to help people and try to inspire my audience to do the same ❤️
— MrBeast (@MrBeast) November 4, 2023
Taylor Lorenz, a far-left reporter, addressed the concept of monetizing kindness, suggesting that the YouTube star’s approach could be perceived as exploitative.
“No one is “cancelling” you for “helping people”, you’ve received extremely light criticism in the past for the way you’ve monetized “kindness” content that some vulnerable people found to be exploitative,” said Lorenz.
“Encouraging young people to exploit vulnerable communities for content which they can then profit off of enormously, is the issue,” Lorenz added.
No one is “cancelling” you for “helping people”, you’ve received extremely light criticism in the past for the way you’ve monetized “kindness” content that some vulnerable people found to be exploitative. https://t.co/T3xOXlJRff
— TaylorLorenz.Substack.com (@TaylorLorenz) November 6, 2023
Meanwhile, Albert Nat Hyde, a Twitter activist, rebuffed the idea of Africans needing water donations, criticizing what he views as a capitalist agenda beneath the guise of charity. He also added that the word “wells” is offensive.
“Wells in 2023 is offensive; why not boreholes or pipe-borne water? – Africans do not need water donation; we ain’t that poor and thirsty. – Africa is a continent with 54 countries; he must be specific where he went – This is capitalism; he wanna low-key use these countries for profit – He has set Africans for global ridicule by building wells we never asked him for,” Hyde wrote.
Mr Beast 100 wells is disrespect to Africans
– He described the entire Africa as a village with its people living in huts
– He projected that all Africans lack good drinking water
– Wells in 2023 is offensive; why not boreholes or pipe-borne water?
– Africans do not need water… pic.twitter.com/X8k12kvdp3
— Albert Nat Hyde (@BongoIdeas) November 5, 2023
Francis Gaitho, a Kenyan political activist, argued against what he perceives as a perpetuation of African stereotypes, accusing MrBeast of reinforcing the narrative of African poverty for content views. Gaitho emphasized the continent’s desire to move beyond philanthropy that serves external interests over genuine developmental progress.
“America is part of the problem,” said Gaitho, adding, “And you, Mr. Beast, are not supposed to be coming here to validate some of these long-held stereotypes that Africa is poor.”
MR BEAST IN KENYA
Content creator #mrbeast was in Kenya drilling boreholes in 100 schools across the country.
Also there’s a bishop from Naivasha called Abiud Masinde who has been accused by an American benefactor of stealing donor money meant to build a school. pic.twitter.com/QdZCwOamoy
— Francis Gaitho (@FGaitho237) November 5, 2023
Saran Kaba Jones, the founder of FACE Africa, also weighed in, expressing the challenges of sustaining such humanitarian projects. She acknowledges the frustrations of seeing a well-resourced figure like MrBeast, a “white male,” garner immediate attention.
“I’ve been doing this for 15 years, but we’ve been struggling to continue the work because funding, awareness, and advocacy all take work,” Jones told CNN, adding, “overnight, this person comes along, who happens to be a white male figure with a huge platform, and all of a sudden, he gets all of the attention. It’s kind of frustrating, but it’s also understanding the nature of how the world is.”