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Jimmy in December 2018
Personal information
BornJimmy Donaldson
(1998-05-07) May 7, 1998 (age 23)[1][2]
OccupationYouTuber, businessman, and philanthropist
WebsiteShop MrBeast
YouTube information
Years active2012–present
  • 85.1 million (main channel)
  • 165.7 million (combined)
Total views
  • 13.9 billion (main channel)
  • 21.3 billion (combined)
Associated acts
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg 100,000 subscribers 2016[5]
YouTube Gold Play Button 2.svg 1,000,000 subscribers 2017[6]
YouTube Diamond Play Button.svg 10,000,000 subscribers 2018
YouTube Ruby Play Button 2.svg 50,000,000 subscribers 2021

Updated: December 17, 2021

Jimmy Donaldson (born May 7, 1998), better known by his online alias MrBeast, is an American YouTuber, internet personality, businessman, and philanthropist.[7] He has been credited with pioneering a genre of YouTube videos that center on expensive stunts.[8] He is also the founder of MrBeast Burger and the co-creator of Team Trees, a fundraiser for the Arbor Day Foundation, which has raised over $23 million,[9][10] and Team Seas, a fundraiser for Ocean Conservancy and The Ocean Cleanup, which aims to raise $30 million by January 1, 2022.

Donaldson began posting videos to YouTube in early 2012 at the age of 13,[11] under the handle "MrBeast6000"; his early content ranged from Let's Plays to "videos estimating the wealth of other YouTubers".[12] 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 tens of millions of views.[12] Over time, his style of content diversified to include challenge and donation videos that reward thousands of dollars, videos either with arduous tasks or survival, and original vlogging videos.[13] Once his channel took off, Donaldson hired several of his childhood friends to help him run the growing brand. As of 2020, the MrBeast team was made up of 30 people.[14]

As of December 17, 2021, Donaldson's main YouTube channel "MrBeast" has 85.5 million subscribers and 13.9 billion total views.[15] It is the 6th most-subscribed channel on YouTube, as well as the second most subscribed channel owned by a YouTuber, and the most subscribed owned by a YouTuber from the United States. Aside from his main channel, Donaldson has ten other YouTube channels, including MrBeast Shorts and MrBeast Gaming, the latter reaching over 10 million subscribers in less than one year.[16] Across his eleven channels, Donaldson has 165.7 million combined subscribers, and 21.3 billion combined total views across eleven of these channels.

In 2019, Donaldson won the Breakout Creator by Streamy Awards. At the 12th Annual Shorty Awards in 2020, he won YouTuber of the Year. He was also one of the top 10 highest-paid YouTubers of 2020, alongside other personalities such as Markiplier, Ryan's World and Blippi.[17]

YouTube career

Early career (2012–2017)

Donaldson uploaded his first-ever YouTube video in February 2012, at the age of 13, under the handle "MrBeast6000"; his early content ranged from Let's Plays (mainly focused on Minecraft and Call of Duty:Black Ops 2),[18] videos estimating the wealth of other YouTubers,[19] videos that offered tips to upcoming YouTube creators, and commentary on YouTube drama. During this early period of his channel, Donaldson himself made few appearances in his videos.[18]

As of July 2013, the subscriber count of his channel, then named "That-dude", was around 240.[20]

In 2015 and 2016, Donaldson began to gain popularity on the platform due to his "worst intros" series of videos, which rounded up and poked fun at YouTuber introductions he discovered on the site. 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.[12][19] His mother did not approve of this, and made him move out of the family home.[21]

Rise to fame (2017–present)

In January 2017, Donaldson published an almost day-long video of himself counting to 100,000. The stunt took him 40 hours, with some parts sped up to "keep it under 24 hours".[22][better source needed] A subsequent video titled "Counting to 200,000 (Road to a Mil)" was uploaded the next month, although, according to Donaldson, it too, had to be sped up because the full fifty-five hours of counting exceeded YouTube's upload limit.[23] Donaldson also gained popularity during this period with stunts, such as attempting to break glass using a hundred megaphones, watching paint dry for an hour,[24] 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.[25] By 2018, Donaldson had given out $1 million through his outlandish stunts, which earned him the title of "YouTube's biggest philanthropist".[21]

During PewDiePie vs T-Series in 2018, a competition to become the most-subscribed channel on YouTube, Donaldson bought billboards, numerous ads and radio advertisements to help PewDiePie gain more subscribers than T-Series.[4] During Super Bowl LIII, he bought multiple seats for him and his team whose shirts spelled out, "Sub 2 PewDiePie".[26][27][better source needed]

In March 2019, Donaldson organized and filmed a real-life battle royale competition in Los Angeles with a prize of $200,000 (2 games were played, making game earnings of $100,000 for each game) in collaboration with Apex Legends.[28] The event and prize pool was sponsored by Apex Legends publisher Electronic Arts.[29]

Donaldson was accused of using counterfeit money in a November 2019 video. He later explained that he used fake money to mitigate the potential safety and security risks caused by a rush of people clamouring to get the free money, and claimed that he exchanged the counterfeit bills for a reality check for everyone afterwards.[21]

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.[30] The event was ultimately won by Nadeshot.[31]

In October 2020, Donaldson created another influencer tournament featuring 24 competitors with a grand prize of $300,000. The tournament was ultimately won by the D'Amelio family, which caused controversy due to claims that they cheated.[32]

On January 1, 2021, Donaldson released the video "Youtube [sic] Rewind 2020, Thank God It's Over". He previously announced in November 2020 that he would be making a Rewind days after YouTube announced they would not be making one. 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". At the end of the video, Donaldson gives a shoutout to PewDiePie, citing him and his 2018 Rewind as the inspiration for Donaldson's Rewind (both Rewinds featuring the editors FlyingKitty, Dolan Dark, and Grandayy, and a song by Party in Backyard).[33]

In February 2021, Donaldson made a guest appearance on the Clubhouse app causing it to crash.[34]

In March 2021, Donaldson signed a deal with Jellysmack which allows the company to exclusively manage distribution of his video content on Snapchat and Facebook.[35][36]

In November 2021, Donaldson uploaded a recreation of the survival drama streaming television series Squid Game in real life, in which 456 people competed for a $456,000 cash prize without the violence in the show.[37] The video drew more than 161.6 million views as of December 10, 2021, becoming Donaldson’s most viewed YouTube video and also making it one of the most-watched YouTube videos of 2021.[38]

Content and style

Donaldson's videos typically feature attention-grabbing stunts. He often makes videos where he donates large amounts of money to individuals, with many of these videos being sponsored by various companies. He also sometimes hosts competitions in games, such as Minecraft, for big money prizes which includes donating a house in one of his gaming videos.[24][39]

A typical video involves Donaldson giving away large sums of money,[40][41] such as giving $100,000 worth of items to homeless shelters in December 2018,[42] donating $32,000 to the Veterans Army Wounded Warrior Program, $70,000 to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and $10,000 to a local animal shelter in Los Angeles.[43] His expensive YouTube videos are mostly funded and sponsored through large-scale brand deals that appear as in-video ads on his videos.[44][21] In 2021, Donaldson claimed that he runs his main channel at a loss.[45]

MrBeast has been credited with launching a new style of high-cost stunt videos on YouTube, where creators pull off elaborate challenges and large-scale sponsored giveaways.[21]

As his channel has grown Donaldson was able to hire four of his childhood friends – Chris, Chandler, Garrett and Jake – to work for him and the channel, which has led to them being regularly shown in his videos.[21] Former cameraman Karl Jacobs was added into the rotating cast later, in late 2019 as Jake and Garrett left to pursue their own YouTube careers. Karl has become a successful YouTuber in his own right.

Business ventures

MrBeast has been called an early form of future creator-entrepreneurs.[46]

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" which tasked players to hold a finger to their phone screen in the app, with the last person to take it off winning $25,000.[47] In the end, four people ended up winning $20,000 each after keeping their finger on the app for over 70 hours.[48] The game was reportedly so successful that a sequel titled "Finger on the App 2" was planned to originally launch in December 2020. However, 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.[49] The game was ultimately won by a 19-year-old man who went under the username Swagbacon123 on Twitter after around 51 hours of competition. The second-place finisher also received a prize of $20,000.[50]

MrBeast Burger

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. MrBeast Burger will sell franchise rights to serve the burgers to restaurants across the US and customers will be able to order the burgers via online delivery services.[51][verification needed]

Investments and partnerships

Donaldson is an investor of 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.[52][53]

In March 2021, Donaldson partnered with Creative Juice financial network to introduce Juice Funds, a $2 million investment fund that offers creators up to $250,000 in exchange for equity in their YouTube channels.[54][46]

In April 2021, Donaldson became a long-term investor and partner of financial technology company Current.[55][56] The same month, Donaldson received backlash after fans lost large amounts of money in a cryptocurrency scheme that Donaldson had invested in and promoted.[46]


Team Trees

On October 25, 2019, Donaldson and former NASA engineer and YouTuber Mark Rober organized 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. 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 this idea. Trees began to be planted in October 2019 in national parks of the United States.[57][58][better source needed] On December 19 of that year, the $20,000,000 goal was surpassed,[59] . So far Team Trees planted 9 million trees across the globe and are expected to finish in 2022. The project has also received large donations from corporate executives Jack Dorsey, Susan Wojcicki, Elon Musk,[60] and Tobias Lütke.[61][better source needed] Companies such as Discovery, Verizon and Plants vs. Zombies have also pitched in to help.[62][failed verification]

As of December 12, 2021, they have received over 23.5 million dollars which equals to 23.5 million trees planted. Currently they need to plant 14.5 million trees to achieve this number. [63]

Beast Philanthropy

On September 17, 2020, the YouTube channel Beast Philanthropy was created.[64] On March 26, 2021, the channel posted its first video titled "I Opened My Own Charity!"[65] where Donaldson announced the charity, food bank and Darren from previous videos as Executive Director.[66]

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, as well as partnering with BEN and TubeBuddy's initiative of 8 million global creators, to promote the fundraiser.[67][68][69]

As of December 21, 2021, they have received over 20 million dollars which equates to 20 million pounds of trash removed.

Personal life

Donaldson was born on May 7, 1998, in the state of Kansas. Donaldson was mainly raised alongside his brother CJ in Greenville, North Carolina. Donaldson graduated from Greenville Christian Academy, a private secondary school in the area, in 2016. He briefly attended East Carolina University before dropping out.[21][24]

Donaldson suffers from Crohn's disease, an inflammatory bowel condition.[70] In a 2019 post on Instagram, it was revealed that Donaldson was dating Instagram model and social media influencer Maddy Spidell.[21]

Public image

Opinion polls have shown that Donaldson is one of the most well-liked YouTubers on the platform with a 2021 SurveyMonkey poll showing that 70% of respondents have a favorable view of him, compared to 12% who had an unfavorable view.[71]

In May 2018, Donaldson was criticized by Taylor Lorenz of The Atlantic for tweets that contained homophobic slurs like "fag" and "gay". He responded by stating that "I'm not offensive in the slightest bit in anything I do."[40]

During a Clubhouse room in February 2021, Donaldson booted entrepreneur Farokh Sarmad after he said he could not pronounce his name, a move that Sarmad later said was racist. Sarmad faced backlash from YouTube's commentary community and other Clubhouse users who were present at the call who argued against Sarmad's claims, claiming that MrBeast removed him along with others to make room for women on the stage to be more inclusive.[72][73]

Allegations of workplace bullying

In a May 2021 The New York Times article, Matt Turner, an editor for Donaldson from February 2018 to September 2019, was quoted as claiming that Donaldson berated him almost daily, including being called a retard. Turner also reported that he was regularly not credited for his work.[46] 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 MrBeast every single day." Also in 2019, Turner released a now-deleted YouTube video saying Donaldson deleted a project file for a video he was editing for him because a compilation of clips of his philanthropy did not equal the $500,000 figure mentioned in the title of the video. Nate Anderson 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 working with Donaldson, Anderson reportedly received death threats and hateful comments from MrBeast's fans. Nine other employees who worked for Donaldson also stated while Donaldson was sometimes generous, his demeanour would change when cameras were off of him. They described a difficult work environment while working under him.[46][74]

Awards and nominations

Year Ceremony Category Result Ref.
2019 9th Streamy Awards Breakout Creator Won [75]
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 Won [76][77]
Live Special Won
Social Good: Creator Won
Social Good: Nonprofit or NGO Won
2021 2021 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Male Social Star Nominated [78]
11th Streamy Awards Creator of the Year Won [79]

See also


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