MrBeast

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MrBeast
MrBeast in 2023
Personal information
Born
James Stephen Donaldson

(1998-05-07) May 7, 1998 (age 26)
OriginGreenville, North Carolina, U.S.[1]
Other names
  • Jimmy Donaldson
  • MrBeast6000
EducationGreenville Christian Academy
Occupations
Signature
Websitemrbeast.store
YouTube information
Channel
Years active2012–present
Genres
Subscribers
  • 305 million (main channel)
  • 44.4 million (MrBeast 2)
  • 25.6 million (Beast Philanthropy)
  • 44.7 million (MrBeast Gaming)
  • 34.3 million (Beast Reacts)
[2]
Total views
  • 54.9 billion (main channel)
  • 7 billion (MrBeast 2)
  • 867 million (Beast Philanthropy)
  • 8 billion (MrBeast Gaming)
  • 6.1 billion (Beast Reacts)
[2]
Associated acts
100,000 subscribers2016[3]
1,000,000 subscribers2017[4]
10,000,000 subscribers2018[4]
50,000,000 subscribers2021
100,000,000 subscribers2022

Last updated: July 21, 2024

James Stephen "Jimmy" Donaldson[a] (born May 7, 1998), better known by his online alias MrBeast, is an American YouTuber, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is known for his fast-paced and high-production videos featuring elaborate challenges and lucrative giveaways.[11] With 304 million subscribers, he has the most-subscribed channel on YouTube.

Donaldson grew up in Greenville, North Carolina. He began posting videos to YouTube in early 2012, at the age of 13,[12] under the handle MrBeast6000. His early content ranged from Let's Plays to "videos estimating the wealth of other YouTubers".[13] He went viral in 2017 after his "counting to 100,000" video earned tens of thousands of views in just a few days, and he has become increasingly popular ever since, with most of his videos gaining hundreds of millions of views.[13] His videos have become increasingly grand and extravagant.[14] Once his channel took off, Donaldson hired some of his childhood friends to co-run the brand. As of 2024, the MrBeast team is made up of over 250 people, including Donaldson himself.[15] Other than MrBeast, Donaldson runs the YouTube channels Beast Reacts, MrBeast Gaming, MrBeast 2 (formerly MrBeast Shorts)[16] and the philanthropy channel Beast Philanthropy.[17][18] He formerly ran MrBeast 3 (initially MrBeast 2), which is now inactive.[19][20]

Donaldson is the founder of MrBeast Burger, Feastables, and also a co-creator of Team Trees, a fundraiser for the Arbor Day Foundation that has raised over $24 million for its campaigns.[21][22] He also co-founded Team Seas, a fundraiser for Ocean Conservancy and The Ocean Cleanup that has raised over $30 million.[23] Donaldson won the Creator of the Year award four years in a row at the Streamy Awards in 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023; he also won the Favorite Male Creator award three times at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards in 2022, 2023, and 2024. In 2023, Time named him as one of the world's 100 most influential people.[24] He has ranked on the Forbes list for the highest paid YouTube creator in 2022[25] and has an estimated net worth of $500 million.[26]

Early life

James Stephen Donaldson[a] was born on May 7, 1998,[27] in Wichita, Kansas[28] as the son of Sue Donaldson.[29] He was mainly raised in Greenville, North Carolina.[30][31] He moved often and was under the care of au pairs due to his parents working long hours and serving in the military. His parents divorced in 2007.[30] In 2016, Donaldson graduated from Greenville Christian Academy, a small private evangelical Christian high school in the area. He briefly attended East Carolina University before dropping out.[32][33] Whilst at Greenville, Donaldson played as an outfielder in baseball for a number of years.[34] After dropping out, Donaldson and his friends tried to analyze YouTube's recommendation algorithm and sought to deduce how to create viral videos.[35] Donaldson recalled during this time, "There's a five-year point in my life where I was just relentlessly, unhealthily obsessed with studying virality, studying the YouTube algorithm. I woke up. I would Uber Eats food. And then I would sit on my computer all day just studying shit nonstop with [other YouTubers]."[36]

YouTube career

Early viral attempts (2012–2017)

Members of MrBeast. From left to right: Ava "Kris" Tyson (permanently stepped down), Karl Jacobs, Nolan Hansen, and Chandler Hallow

Donaldson uploaded his first YouTube video in February 2012, at the age of 13, under the name of "MrBeast6000".[37] His early content ranged from Let's Plays, mainly focused on Minecraft and Call of Duty: Black Ops II,[37] videos estimating the wealth of other YouTubers,[38] videos that offered tips to upcoming YouTube creators and commentary on YouTube drama. Donaldson appeared infrequently in these videos.[37]

In 2015 and 2016, Donaldson began to gain popularity with his "Worst Intros on YouTube" series poking fun at YouTube video introductions.[37] By mid-2016, Donaldson had around 30,000 subscribers. In fall 2016, Donaldson dropped out of East Carolina University to pursue a full-time career as a YouTuber.[13][38] His mother did not approve of this and made him move out of the family home.[32]

As his channel grew, Donaldson hired four childhood friends – Ava "Kris" Tyson, Chandler Hallow, Garrett Ronalds and Jake Franklin – to contribute to his channel.[32] Franklin left the crew in 2020. Afterwards, Karl Jacobs, previously a cameraman, was promoted to take his place.[39][40][41]

Rise to fame (2017–2020)

MrBeast in 2018

In January 2017, Jimmy Donaldson published an almost day-long video of himself counting to 100,000, which became his breakthrough viral video.[14] The ordeal took him 40 hours, with some parts sped up to "keep it under 24 hours."[42] Donaldson gained popularity during this period with stunts, such as attempting to break glass using a hundred megaphones, watching paint dry for an hour,[33] attempting to stay underwater for 24 hours, which ended up failing due to health issues, and an unsuccessful attempt to spin a fidget spinner for a day.[43] By 2018, Donaldson had given out $1 million through his outlandish stunts, which earned him the title of "YouTube's biggest philanthropist".[32]

During the PewDiePie vs T-Series rivalry in 2018, a competition to become the most-subscribed channel on YouTube, Donaldson bought billboards and numerous television and radio advertisements to help PewDiePie gain more subscribers than T-Series.[44][45] During Super Bowl LIII, he bought multiple seats for himself and his team, whose shirts spelled out "Sub 2 PewDiePie."[46][47]

In March 2019, Donaldson organized and filmed a real-life battle royale competition in Los Angeles with a prize of $200,000 (two games were played, making game earnings of $100,000 for each game) in collaboration with Apex Legends.[48] The event and prize pool was sponsored by Apex Legends publisher Electronic Arts.[49]

Donaldson was accused of using counterfeit money in his video titled "I Opened A FREE BANK", published on November 23, 2019.[32] He later explained that he used fake money to avoid participant safety concerns and that participants received real checks after the shoot.[32]

In April 2020, Donaldson created a rock, paper, scissors competition stream that featured 32 influencers and a grand prize of $250,000, which at the time became YouTube's most-watched live Original event with 662,000 concurrent viewers.[50] The event was won by Nadeshot.[51] In October 2020, Donaldson hosted another influencer tournament, this time trivia, featuring 24 competitors with a grand prize of $300,000. The tournament was won by siblings Charli and Dixie D'Amelio, which caused controversy due to claims that they cheated.[52]

Mainstream success (2021–present)

On January 1, 2021, Donaldson released the video "Youtube Rewind 2020, Thank God It's Over".[53] In Donaldson's video, he explains that he had always believed that YouTubers "should get more say in Rewind", and with this in mind, he decided to call "hundreds of YouTubers".[53] At the end of the video, Donaldson gives a shout-out to PewDiePie, citing him and his 2018 Rewind as the inspiration for Donaldson's Rewind.[53] A month later, Donaldson signed a Facebook and Snapchat content distribution deal with Jellysmack.[54][55]

MrBeast at the 2023 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards

During a Clubhouse room in February 2021, Donaldson booted entrepreneur Farokh Sarmad after he allegedly said he could not pronounce his name, a move that Sarmad later said was racist. Sarmad's claims were questioned and denied by other Clubhouse users, who were present at the call who argued against Sarmad's claims, claiming that Donaldson removed him along with others to make room for women to be more inclusive.[56][57]

In November 2021, Donaldson uploaded "$456,000 Squid Game in Real Life!", a recreation of the survival drama streaming television series Squid Game in real life. The video had 456 people compete for a $456,000 cash prize.[58] The video was one of the most-watched YouTube videos of 2021, receiving over 130 million views within a week.[59] A review of the video in Vice argued that it "badly misunderstood the anti-capitalist message of Squid Game".[60] Despite this, Squid Game creator Hwang Dong-hyuk has reacted positively to recreations and parodies of the series.[61]

In December 2021, Donaldson created a third influencer tournament featuring 15 competitors with a grand prize of $1,000,000.[62][63][64] In January 2022, Forbes ranked Donaldson as YouTube's highest-earning creator, earning an estimated $54 million in 2021. Forbes stated that his income in 2021 would have placed him 40th in the 2020 Forbes Celebrity 100, earning as much money as Vin Diesel and Lewis Hamilton did in 2020.[65][66]

On July 28, 2022, Donaldson surpassed 100 million subscribers on his main channel, making him the fifth channel and the second individual YouTuber to achieve the milestone.[67][68] On November 17, 2022, Donaldson achieved the Guinness World Record of "Most Subscribers for an Individual Male on YouTube" with his MrBeast channel at 112,193,139 subscribers.[69] The previous record holder, PewDiePie, had held the record as the most subscribed YouTuber for almost ten years.[70] Donaldson achieved one billion video views over a period of 30 days on his main YouTube channel in November 2022.[71] On October 15, 2023, Donaldson surpassed 200 million subscribers.[72] His YouTube Shorts video "Would You Fly to Paris for a Baguette?" is the most watched video on his main YouTube channel, having more than 1.3 billion views and 50 million likes as of January 2024.[73]

On June 2, 2024, Donaldson surpassed Indian-based music label and film production company T-Series in subscribers for the title of the most subscribed channel on YouTube, at 267 million.[74] On July 10, 2024, Donaldson became the first YouTuber to surpass 300 million subscribers.[75] On July 13, 2024, Donaldson uploaded his 300 million subscribers special, "50 YouTubers Fight For $1,000,000". The video features many well-renowned YouTubers such as KSI, Logan Paul, and CarryMinati[76], as well as guest appearances from Howie Mandel, Miranda Cosgrove, and Joey Chestnut.[77] This video reached 71 million views in the first 24 hours, becoming Donaldson's most-viewed video within its first 24 hours.[78]

YouTube content

Early in his career, Donaldson's content usually consisted of Let's Plays, "best and worst" videos and YouTube commentary.[79][37] Donaldson's present-day videos are categorized into three genres: stunt videos, where Donaldson or other participants perform challenges that are interesting, challenging, or dangerous; "junklord" videos, where Donaldson uses a large quantity of a particular product in an unusual way or spends an extravagant amount on it; and giveaway videos, where Donaldson gives away large amounts of money or extravagant prizes to people, usually including a competitive aspect.[b] Giveaway videos are considered to be a distinctive feature of Donaldson's content.[79]

Donaldson's videos leverage YouTube's recommendation algorithm in order to go viral, mainly by maximizing click-through rate and viewer retention.[79] To maximize click-through rate, he focuses on creating effective topics, titles and thumbnails.[80] In an interview with Lex Fridman, he stated that for him to create a viral video, it needed to be "original, creative, something people really need to see, ideally never been done before".[81] His titles are designed to attract attention by promising outrageous stunts, and using certain keywords like "24-hours" and "challenge".[35][80] His thumbnails are designed to be easily understandable, clearly focused and brightly colored.[82] To maximize viewer retention, Donaldson paces the videos to have viewers engaged throughout. His videos typically span 10–30 minutes. He hooks viewers by explaining the premise in under half a minute at the start of the video,[35] and promises a "finale" to have viewers engaged until the end of the video.[79]

Donaldson's funding for these videos mainly come from sponsorships and Google's AdSense program.[83] Donaldson was reported in 2022 to spend about $1 million on each video.[84] Although Donaldson's videos rarely turn a profit, he is concentrated more on expanding his YouTube channel rather than earning a profit, stating in an interview with Rolling Stone: "I could be doing cheaper videos, [...] But I just don't want to. I want to push the boundaries to go bigger, bigger".[84][85] Most of his funding come from sponsorships.[83] Donaldson uses his reaction channel and gaming channel to help finance his main channel, as their videos are relatively cheap to produce and make a substantial amount of money.[84] The Verge noted that his revenue is self-perpetuating: "The more viral he becomes, the more brands want to work with him, and the bigger his own AdSense earnings get. He can then entice viewers with even bigger giveaway videos. It's a never ending cycle."[83] Donaldson earns passive income through merchandise, MrBeast Burger, and Feastables.[79][86]

As of 2023, Donaldson employs over 250 people. They include writers, editors, and producers.[87][88] Many employees are people familiar to Donaldson, such as friends and family members.[88] Some former employees alleged that Donaldson nurtured a difficult work environment. In a May 2021 New York Times article, Matt Turner, an editor for Donaldson from February 2018 to September 2019, claimed that Donaldson berated him almost daily, including calling him a "retard". Turner reported that he was regularly not credited for his work.[88] Reporting by Insider showed that Turner previously posted a video in 2018 explaining his allegations, and in October 2019 released a deleted Twitter thread which stated that he was "yelled at, bullied, called mentally retarded and replaceable by Donaldson every single day."[89] Nate Anderson, another editor, quit after working for Donaldson for a week in 2018 over what he said were unreasonable demands, and called Donaldson a perfectionist. After releasing a video describing his experience, Anderson reportedly received death threats from Donaldson's fans. Nine other employees who worked for Donaldson also stated that while he was sometimes generous, his demeanor would change when the cameras were off.[88][89] Donaldson disputes these claims, stating: "We have high standards, but it’s not a toxic work environment."[84] Donaldson also claims that he gave Turner $10,000 and suggested a job at another company to him at the end of his contract.

Other ventures

Finger on the App

In June 2020, Donaldson, in collaboration with Brooklyn-based art collective MSCHF, released a one-time multiplayer mobile game titled Finger on the App. In the game, players touch their phone screen and the last person to remove their finger from the screen wins $25,000.[90] In the end, four people ended up winning $20,000 each after keeping their finger on the app for over 70 hours.[91] The game was reportedly so successful that a sequel titled Finger on the App 2 was planned to originally launch in December 2020. The game was postponed to February, and then further delayed to March 2021 due to a flood of downloads, causing the game to crash and requiring the game's developers to upgrade their servers. This time, the game featured a grand prize of $100,000.[92] The winner kept their finger on the phone screen for around 51 hours. The second-place finisher also received a prize of $20,000.[93]

MrBeast Burger

A MrBeast Burger restaurant in New Jersey

Will Hyde, a producer for the MrBeast channel, announced in a November 2020 article with The Wake Weekly that Donaldson would launch a virtual restaurant called MrBeast Burger in December 2020. Hyde said his team worked with Virtual Dining Concepts during the development of the restaurant concept. He said that MrBeast Burger will sell franchise rights to serve the burgers to restaurants across the U.S. and customers will be able to order the burgers via online delivery services.[94]

In August 2022, Donaldson announced that he would bring a MrBeast Burger shop to the American Dream Mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey, near New York City, to be the location of his first U.S. restaurant. The restaurant opened on September 4, 2022.[95]

On June 17, 2023, Donaldson expressed wishes to shut down MrBeast Burger due to fears that quality cannot be guaranteed, saying he regrets signing "a bad deal" with Virtual Dining Concepts, LLC, but said the company "won't let me stop even though it's terrible for my brand."[96][97][98] On July 31, 2023, Donaldson sued Virtual Dining Concepts to end their partnership, alleging that the company damaged his reputation by prioritizing the expansion of the MrBeast Burger brand over food quality. Donaldson also claimed he received no payment from the partnership.[99][100] Virtual Dining Concepts disputed the claims, stating Donaldson had grown his reputation due to the MrBeast Burger brand, and accused Donaldson of attempting a new deal for personal gain and resorting to "bullying" when rejected.[101]

Feastables

Feastables Bar

In January 2022, Donaldson announced the creation of a new food company called Feastables, which launched with its own brand of chocolate bars called "Feastables". At launch they offered three flavors of bars: original, almond and quinoa crunch. The launch corresponded with a sweepstakes with over $1 million in prizes, including ten grand prize winners who would receive a chance to compete for a chocolate factory in a future video, emulating Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.[102][better source needed] The video, released in June 2022, contained a series of elimination challenges where the winner won the choice of the chocolate factory or a $500,000 cash prize. Michelin Star chef Gordon Ramsay featured as a judge in the final challenge of the video and ultimately decided who won the cash prize.[103][104] Feastables reportedly made $10 million in its first few months of operation.[105]

On March 3, 2023, Donaldson asked fans on Twitter to "clean up the presentation" of Feastables displays on store shelves, and suggested that they obscure competing products. Feastables offered fans entry into a $5,000 raffle if they provided proof of their assistance. The tweets drew criticism and accusations that Feastables was exploiting fans for unpaid labor.[106][107]

On October 2, 2023, Feastables signed a partnership with the Charlotte Hornets to include MrBeast's insignia on their jerseys.[108][109]

On January 11, 2024, Donaldson announced changes to the original Feastables bar, including a new shape and formula. Donaldson and the Feastables team weren't entirely happy with the taste of the original bar, inspiring Donaldson to change Feastables into "the best-tasting chocolate ever made by mankind." The new formula reportedly made the chocolate creamier, tastier, and softer, receiving positive reactions from fans.[110][111]

Investments and partnerships

Donaldson is an investor in the tech startup Backbone, which produces the Backbone One, a controller that makes smartphones appear more similar to Nintendo Switch controllers, and the Backbone app, a content creation and social tools app for its users.[112][113]

In March 2021, Donaldson partnered with Creative Juice financial network to introduce Juice Funds, a $2 million investment fund for content creators.[114][88]

In April 2021, Donaldson became a long-term investor and partner of financial technology company Current.[115][116] The same month, Donaldson received backlash after fans lost large amounts of money in a cryptocurrency scheme that Donaldson had invested in and promoted.[88]

In November 2022, Donaldson partnered with East Carolina University to create a course centered around YouTube content creation.[117][118]

In May 2023, Donaldson featured as a judge on Gordon Ramsay's Food Stars show.[119]

In September 2023, Donaldson partnered with Samsung, making the Samsung Galaxy smartphone series the official vlogging camera of MrBeast.[120]

FAST Channel

In 2023, a free ad-supported streaming television network named Mr. Beast that only shows previously released MrBeast YouTube videos began airing on the Roku Channel service.[121]

'Beast Games' Amazon Prime Video Show

In March 2024, Donaldson and Amazon MGM Studios announced their plans to create a new reality competition series 'Beast Games', set to air exclusively on Prime Video. It is set to become the biggest reality competition series with 1,000 contestants competing for a $5 million cash prize—the biggest single prize in the history of television and streaming.[122]

Philanthropy

#TeamTrees

Team Trees

On October 25, 2019, Donaldson and former NASA engineer and YouTuber Mark Rober announced a collaborative fundraising challenge event on YouTube called #TeamTrees. The goal of this project was to raise $20 million for the Arbor Day Foundation by January 1, 2020, and plant trees "no later than December 2022." Every donation goes to the Arbor Day Foundation, which pledges to plant one tree for every dollar donated. Notable YouTubers such as Rhett & Link, Marshmello, iJustine, Marques Brownlee, The Slow Mo Guys, Ninja, Simone Giertz, Jacksepticeye and Smarter Every Day brought attention to the project, and trees began to be planted in October 2019 in US national parks.[123][124]

On December 19 of that year, the $20 million goal was surpassed.[125] The project has received large donations from corporate executives Jack Dorsey, Susan Wojcicki, Elon Musk[126] and Tobias Lütke,[127] as well as from companies such as Discovery, Verizon and PopCap.[128] Tobias Lütke, founder and CEO of Shopify, holds the record for the highest donation at 1,000,001 trees planted.[129]

As of June 5, 2024, the original goal of 20 million trees has been far surpassed, with over 24.7 million trees in the ground.[130]

Beast Philanthropy

Greenville received Thanksgiving meals as part of an initiative by Beast Philanthropy and Jennie-O.[131][132]

On September 17, 2020, the YouTube channel Beast Philanthropy was created.[133] On the channel's first video, Donaldson announced the charity and food bank and named Darren Margolias, who had appeared in previous videos, as executive director.[19][134] According to the channel description, 100% of its advertising revenue, brand deals and merchandise sales are donated to charity.[14][133]

Notable initiatives by Beast Philanthropy include giving away 10,000 turkeys to his hometown Greenville,[131][132] donating 20,000 shoes to children in Africa,[135] building 100 wells in Africa for villages with limited access to clean water,[136] and gifting $300,000 worth of technology to various schools.[137]

#TeamSeas

Team Seas

On October 29, 2021, Donaldson and Rober organized another collaborative challenge event on YouTube titled #TeamSeas. The goal of this project was to raise $30 million for the Ocean Conservancy and The Ocean Cleanup by January 1, 2022. The $30 million goal would fund the removal of 30 million pounds of plastic and other waste from oceans, rivers, and beaches. Donaldson and Rober enlisted thousands of content creators, including AzzyLand, DanTDM, TommyInnit, LinusTechTips, TierZoo, LEMMiNO, The Infographics Show, Hannah Stocking, Dhar Mann and Marques Brownlee, and partnered with BEN and TubeBuddy's initiative of eight million global creators, to promote the fundraiser.[138][139][140]

As of June 5, 2024, the original $30 million goal has been surpassed by 12–13%, with more than $33.7 million raised.[141]

Personal life

Donaldson describes himself as an introvert. Donaldson admits to having difficulty maintaining a social life due to his obsession with YouTube and his intense work ethic. Donaldson's mother, Sue, attributes his withdrawn lifestyle to their frequent relocations and his struggles with Crohn's disease.[142]

Donaldson dated Maddy Spidell, a YouTuber, from 2019 to 2022. He has been dating Thea Booysen, a gaming streamer, since 2022.[143][144]

In June 2023, Donaldson stated that he had been invited on a tourist expedition to view the wreck of the Titanic aboard the OceanGate submersible Titan but declined the offer.[145] The submersible later imploded in the Atlantic Ocean, killing all five aboard.[146]

Personal views

In an April 2022 interview with The Daily Beast, Donaldson announced that he was no longer an evangelical Christian and identified himself as an agnostic theist. He also stated that he had long disagreed with Christian opposition to homosexuality. He states that during the time he grew up in the Bible Belt, he had religion "beat into [his] head every day", and was taught that "gay people are the reason God's going to come and burn this Earth". He has disavowed anti-LGBT rhetoric since then.[142][147]

In October 2018, The Atlantic published an article on Donaldson's history of using homophobic slurs.[60][148][149] The article stated that Donaldson, while still a teenager, had had a habit of referring to people as "fags" on Twitter and regularly treated being homosexual as a punchline in jokes and "gay" as an insult.[148] Donaldson later removed the tweets, and in 2021, a spokesperson for Donaldson said that he had "grown up and matured into someone that doesn't speak like that".[150]

After Ava (then Chris) Tyson, Donaldson's childhood friend and employee, acknowledged in April 2023 that she was receiving feminizing hormone replacement therapy, Donaldson defended her against backlash she had received: "Yeah, this is getting absurd. Chris isn't my 'nightmare' he's[c] my fucken [sic] friend and things are fine. All this transphobia is starting to piss me off."[152][151] Tyson subsequently came out as a trans woman.[153][154]

Donaldson considers himself apolitical because he wants to avoid alienating his audience, which would interfere with his goal of charity.[142] On a podcast in September 2022, Donaldson commented that he would consider a run for president of the United States "in like 20 years", adding that the U.S. is "due for younger presidents".[155][156] On July 6, 2024, during the 2024 United States presidential election, Donaldson wrote on Twitter "If we lower the age to run for president I'll jump in the race".[157]

Public image and influence

MrBeast's large model gumball machine at Vidcon 2022

Donaldson is one of the most well-liked YouTubers on the platform, and as of June 2024 his channel MrBeast is the most subscribed channel on YouTube, surpassing T-Series.[158] A poll from Insider showed that 70% of respondents have a favorable view of him, compared to 12% who had an unfavorable view.[159] His channel appeals strongly to younger viewers.[84][160][161] Donaldson's way of displaying his philanthropy as a form of entertainment builds a very positive public image for him. In particular, Donaldson links audience engagement to charitable acts through statements like "every single time someone subscribes, I will give away ten cents" and "100% of my revenue earned from [Beast Philanthropy] is going to my charity", which allows Donaldson to perform acts of charity and build a large and loyal fanbase.[79][162] Donaldson also builds a parasocial relationship with his viewers by "looking directly at the camera and talking to the audience"[161] and displaying himself as "an exciting, relatable, authentic, down-to-earth person".[161][162]

However, some critics have questioned Donaldson's motives and ethics. Users on social media accused Donaldson of exploiting poverty for views and deemed his content "charity porn".[163][164][165] His philanthropy has been criticized for not addressing the root causes of inequity in society.[166] In response, Donaldson claimed that he does not profit from Beast Philanthropy or its videos and that all revenue goes towards charity. He also stressed the importance of the government's role in solving systemic issues.[167][168]

According to Charissa Cheong of Insider, Donaldson becoming the most-subscribed YouTuber marks a shift in YouTube content away from traditional vlogging towards high-production, elaborate videos that create a more "television-like experience". She wrote that "the future of YouTube content will likely look more 'experimental' now that Donaldson's high-stakes challenges are performing so well. Creators are going to keep trying to 'push the boundaries of what is possible' by trying new and 'extreme' formats and genres".[169] Fellow YouTuber and former NASA engineer Mark Rober wrote that Donaldson is "constantly raising the bar for creators whether it's through re-creating Squid Game in real life or paying for the eye surgeries of 1,000 blind people."[170] Donaldson has inspired many young YouTubers.[162][171] His "extreme challenge videos" have influenced other YouTubers like Fidias and Airrack, who similarly try to attempt difficult challenges in their videos.[172] This trend has been called the "MrBeast-ification of YouTube".[173]

Filmography

Film
Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2023 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem Times Square Bystander (voice) [174]
Under the Boardwalk Hot Sauce Crab (voice)
2024 The Sidemen Story Himself Documentary [175]
Kung Fu Panda 4 Panda Pig (voice) [176]

Awards and nominations

Year Ceremony Category Result Ref.
2019 9th Streamy Awards Breakout Creator Won [177]
Ensemble Cast Nominated
Creator of the Year Nominated
2020 12th Annual Shorty Awards YouTuber of the Year Won
10th Streamy Awards Creator of the Year [178][179]
Live Special
Social Good: Creator
Social Good: Nonprofit or NGO
2021 2021 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Male Social Star Nominated [180]
11th Streamy Awards Creator of the Year Won [181]
Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Media Included [182]
2022 2022 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Male Creator Won [183]
12th Streamy Awards Creator of the Year Won [184][185]
Collaboration Nominated
Social Good: Creator[d] Won
Creator Product Nominated
Editing Nominated
Brand Engagement[d] Won
Social Impact Campaign[d] Nominated
2023 2023 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Male Creator Won [186]
13th Streamy Awards Creator of the Year Won [187]
Collaboration Won
Creator Product Nominated
Brand Engagement Nominated
2024 2024 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Male Creator Won [188]

World records

Publication Year World record Ref.
Guinness World Records 2021 Highest-earning YouTube contributor (current) [189]
2022 Largest vegetarian burger [190]
Most subscribers for an individual male on YouTube [191]
2023 First person to reach 1 million followers on Threads [192]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b Sources conflict on the spelling of Donaldson's middle name. Some spell it "Steven",[5][6] while others spell it "Stephen".[7][8] Donaldson's business filing lists his legal name as "James Stephen Donaldson".[9] In October 2022, one of Donaldson's staff members stated that Donaldson's full name was "James Stephen Donaldson".[10]
  2. ^ Examples of each genre:[79]
    • Stunt: "Microwaving a microwave", "I counted to 100,000"
    • Junklord: "I built a giant house using only Legos", "I ate $100,000 golden ice cream"
    • Giveaway: "Extreme $500,000 game of tag", "Giving a random homeless man $10,000"
  3. ^ At the time of this quote, Tyson was still using the forename Chris and did not have a pronoun preference.[151]
  4. ^ a b c As Team Seas

References

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