MrBeast slammed by deaf community for latest viral video
After telling fans his next project would "change YouTube" forever, the 25-year-old influencer uploaded "1,000 Deaf People Hear For The First Time," in which he funds treatment for a thousand deaf individuals to help restore their hearing.
Though some praised the content creator, whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson, for his generous efforts, many members of the deaf community have spoken out against the project.
One common criticism of the video is that it perpetuates the idea of deafness being all-or-nothing, with the technology being presented as a miracle cure that restores hearing completely.
"My hearing aids only help me hear minor background sounds as a profoundly Deaf person. They are not a fix, they don't even allow me to hear speech. The assumption that they're a fix all is so thoughtless and uneducated," one user wrote.
The marketing of the video was also bashed, as the participants were not born deaf and hearing for the first time as the title claimed but instead regained the sensation of hearing through aids.
"Mr Beast video is so misleading. Hearing aids can only amplify any hearing you may have, it can't cure deafness or give you the frequencies you are missing," another said.
Deaf community calls out MrBeast on social media
In an opinion piece for The Guardian, deaf journalist Liam O'Dell argued that while MrBeast may not have had bad intentions, its impact will likely do more harm than good for the deaf community.
"When watching MrBeast's video, will the average viewer be more alert to the needs of deaf people (in a way which isn't some patroni[z]ing pity for a life many deaf people actually enjoy living), or be drawn to the 'heroic' Donaldson going out of his way to splash the cash on 1,000 people out of the goodness of his heart?" O'Dell wrote.
Social media responses from users who are deaf or hard of hearing continue to reinforce this critique.
"I found out about this earlier in the day and watched not even 20 seconds of the MrBeast video before I turned it off in disgust. I just don't understand why people think we need fixing?" one user said.
Donaldson faced a similar backlash in January for "curing" blindness in 1,000 patients, which critics argue exploited blind individuals for internet fame.
Cover photo: ROY ROCHLIN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP