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The Shady Side Of MrBeast

Jimmy "MrBeast" Donaldson is one of the most recognizable people on the internet. He's one of the most successful YouTubers in the world, and his videos on the platform have generated billions of views. He's built a reputation for pulling off crazy stunts and for being YouTube's biggest philanthropist. Many of MrBeast's biggest videos have involved the YouTuber giving away tens of thousands of dollars to his fans and total strangers, while others have been built around elaborate challenges and set pieces. Every MrBeast video is an event.

Although still in his early 20s, MrBeast already has a wealth of experience and a career that even older content creators would envy. MrBeast's life has seen its share of tragic moments, but his determination and commitment to his craft has earned him plenty of success. That said, MrBeast isn't always giving money away and spreading joy. There have been multiple moments when the YouTuber has made poor decisions that have led him straight into controversy. 

Homophobia accusations

MrBeast was still a teenager when he became a YouTube star, and like most teenagers on the internet, he had a habit of saying things that he'd later regret. In 2018, The Atlantic took a look at MrBeast's history of using homophobic slurs online. There was a time when MrBeast repeatedly used homophobic slurs on Twitter when interacting with fans and haters. In some of his videos, especially his early content, homosexuality was regularly referenced as a joke, and MrBeast seemed oblivious to how hurtful his comments could be.

The facts of the article were bad enough, but MrBeast's response to getting called out only made matters worse. When The Atlantic approached him for a comment, he said, "I'm not offensive to anyone." He went on to remark, "I'm just going to ignore it. I don't think anyone cares about this stuff." 

Despite MrBeast's nonchalance, people do care about this kind of thing, and he may have cared much more than he let on when he gave his comment. In the wake of the article, MrBeast did seem to tone down his language on Twitter, and these days his videos no longer make jokes at the expense of any one group of people. It looks like he's genuinely learned his lesson in this instance.

MrBeast Burger fiasco

If MrBeast had stuck to just making YouTube videos, he might have limited his potential for scandal. But some of his offline ventures have caused quite a bit of controversy, and few were as publicized as MrBeast Burger. In theory, MrBeast had come up with a brilliant business idea: His branded burgers would be cooked at "ghost kitchens" and delivered to fans who ordered them online. The model kept his own overhead costs low and allowed restaurants that were struggling during the pandemic to have a new stream of business. In practice, this hands-off approach to running a food brand caused more problems than it solved. 

Initially, MrBeast Burger had problems when the ordering app repeatedly crashed on launch, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. According to critics and customers, MrBeast Burger had serious quality control issues. With no central location and no real way for MrBeast or his team to oversee the actual cooking process, it didn't take long for complaints about the food to start rolling in (per Eat This, Not That!). Some customers were getting burgers so blackened they were inedible, while others were getting boxes of raw chicken tenders and soggy fries. 

The food brand was always a side project for MrBeast, so aside from some online outrage from fans, he saw few consequences from the messy rollout of the service. And to be fair, plenty of customers were perfectly happy with their burgers. Still, MrBeast probably isn't going to become a full-time restaurateur anytime soon. 

Squid Game criticism

Part of being a YouTuber is capitalizing on the latest cultural sensations, and MrBeast has a knack for tapping into what people really want to see. Unfortunately, in his pursuit of view counts, he sometimes jumps into a new project without thinking through how people who don't share his perspective might react. That appears to be what happened when MrBeast recreated scenes from "Squid Game" for a video. The concept was simple: participants would play through the games featured in the show and — in classic MrBeast tradition — winners would walk away with huge cash prizes. MrBeast probably just wanted to have a fun time with Netflix's latest hit while also giving away some money, but the video received some major backlash online.

The National was one of many outlets that reported on the frustration sparked by MrBeast's "Squid Game." While he poured millions of dollars into recreating all the events from the TV show, many felt he didn't seem to consider what the original show was actually trying to say. Some online were disappointed that MrBeast was "flaunting wealth disparity" by going to such lengths to recreate the show, which itself had tried to criticize those exact divides, particularly in South Korea. 

Some critics felt MrBeast's video was made in poor taste, but it still raked in millions of views, and MrBeast quickly moved on to other ventures.

A problematic Clubhouse meeting

MrBeast caused a stir during an event hosted on the audio app Clubhouse in early 2021. According to Insider, MrBeast was hosting an event with 1,400 listeners, and he was in charge of giving different audience members the chance to speak. Things were running smoothly until Clubhouse host Farokh Sarmad wanted an opportunity to talk. Sarmad says that MrBeast then removed him from the meeting, while saying, "I can't spell your name, so I'm going to yote you out."

Sarmad called MrBeast out not long after the incident, but some of the YouTuber's fans were quick to pile on his defense on Twitter, insisting that Sarmad had misunderstood his comments. They insisted that MrBeast hadn't acted in a racist manner, but Farokh Sarmad sees it differently. 

When Insider brought up a recording of the infamous meeting that included a more innocuous response from MrBeast, Farokh told the publication that this was only part of a much longer interaction. Farokh explained, "From an outsider's perspective if you see the video, you see my tweets, you think I'm crazy. I did this because I've suffered from this before, given that my name is Farokh." MrBeast might not have intended to cause harm in this case, but that doesn't mean his words and actions in this instance aren't worth discussing. The YouTuber never officially responded to the controversy.

Allegedly creating a toxic workplace

MrBeast doesn't create his videos alone anymore; nowadays, he has an entire team of people helping him to create, film, and edit all of his videos. He may only be 24 years old, but MrBeast is a real business owner and boss — and according to some of his past employees, his management skills leave a lot to be desired. The New York Times interviewed a handful of MrBeast's ex-employees and uncovered some allegedly unsavory behavior.

Matt Turner used to edit videos for MrBeast, but claims that he was never credited for his work. "I'd ask for credit, he'd credit someone else," he explained. That would be bad enough, but Turner also says that MrBeast would insult and berate him daily, frequently using "a phrase used to insult people with mental disabilities" to drag Turner down. He's not the only one to allegedly have a bad experience working for MrBeast. Nate Anderson quit his editing job after just a week and posted a video titled "My Experience Editing for Mr. Beast (Worst Week of My Life)" on YouTube. The video was later removed after Anderson says he received death threats from enraged MrBeast fans.

In total, The New York Times spoke to nearly a dozen ex-employees of MrBeast who had negative things to say about the YouTuber. These former employees voiced complaints ranging from lack of credit, to unrealistic expectations, to frequent verbal abuse. If MrBeast wants to keep his positive reputation, he might need to make some changes at his workplace.

Cryptocurrency scandal

It's not just ex-employees who are upset with MrBeast — some of his biggest fans are, as well. Cryptocurrency is all the rage right now, and MrBeast has gotten in on the trend, but his recent foray into the blockchain ended in disaster. MrBeast's fans began taking an interest in Refinable when the YouTuber followed the coin on Twitter. Shortly after that, Refinable began using MrBeast's image in its marketing. Gfinity Esports has speculated that this marketing campaign was a big part of why the coin launched with a value of $8.35 per coin, more than 25 times its expected launch price.

But the bigger they are, the harder they fall. As of mid-2022, Refinable's price is less than $0.05 per coin, meaning that many who got in on the ground floor lost big. Some fans who bought Refinable after seeing MrBeast in ads felt they'd been scammed out of their money. It wasn't long before Refinable was being reported on as potentially participating in a "pump and dump" scheme, during which a coin's price is artificially inflated so a select few can sell it off and make a profit before the price tanks (per Bitcoin Insider). 

Some Redditors questioned whether or not MrBeast had intended to mislead fans by allowing Refinable to use him in marketing, and fans continued to call for a statement from MrBeast after Refinable made its own public comments on the situation.

The Joe Rogan Experience

When you're a high profile internet personality, you have to be conscious of the company you keep. In early 2022, some of MrBeast's fans attacked him for going on Joe Rogan's podcast (as reported by Sportskeeda). 

Rogan has repeatedly stirred controversy in recent years. He made headlines by platforming vaccine misinformation during the Covid-19 pandemic (via Yahoo News). His podcast's migration to Spotify brought it greater scrutiny, and many didn't like what they found. Complaints ranged from Rogan's frequent use of homophobic and misogynistic language to more than two dozen instances of Rogan using racial slurs on his show (via Vox).

Despite all the controversy surrounding Rogan, it's not all that surprising that he and MrBeast would want to meet up. They are two of the biggest content creators online, and in that respect they had plenty to discuss. Some fans were still disappointed that MrBeast went on the podcast, with some arguing the decision "Says a lot about who [MrBeast] actually is as a person." Others viewed MrBeast's appearance as basically an approval of Rogan's hurtful language. In this case, it's likely that MrBeast was just trying to open himself up to a bigger audience, as he has in other situations that have led him into controversy.