MrBeast slammed as 'white savior' over viral orphanage video

EXCLUSIVE: MrBeast slammed as ‘white savior’ by charities over viral orphanage video amid claims YouTuber ignored pleas to help rehome the children instead

  • Charities wrote to MrBeast in March after he launched appeal for donations
  • They say orphanages are hotbed for abuse and children should be rehomed
  • But the YouTuber ‘ignored’ them, sparking accusations it was a stunt for clicks 

MrBeast has been branded a ‘white savior’ by charities over a viral video in which he boasts of rebuilding an African orphanage, despite a global campaign to shut them down.

The world’s richest YouTuber allegedly ignored pleas from humanitarian groups to stop his ‘philanthropic stunt’ amid concerns that orphanages are a haven for ‘violence, abuse and neglect’.

But MrBeast instead plowed millions of dollars into filming the reconstruction of the Baphumelele orphanage in South Africa.

His video showing the transformation of the building alongside smiling children garnered more than 7 million views on YouTube in under a week.

It has sparked accusations from charity Hope and Homes for Children that the stunt was simply a ‘ploy for more views’.

MrBeast, the world’s biggest YouTuber, has been accused of ‘white saviorism’ by charities over a video in which he boasts of rebuilding an orphanage in South Africa

MrBeast, whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson, claims his team saved the orphanage from the brink of closure thanks to six months of ‘tireless work’

Before and after shots show how his Beast Philanthropy venture renovated the playground

The movement to end orphanages worldwide and find families for children instead is backed by the UN, EU, Commonwealth and South African government.

In 2019, a UN General Assembly Resolution on Rights of the Child, urged member States to progressively replace orphanages with quality alternative care, such as foster networks and social workers.

Lourenza Foghill, from Hope and Homes for Children, said Mr.Beast had chosen to ‘completely ignore’ these voices, despite the charity contacting him in March, shortly after he released a video appealing for donations to his orphanage project.

She added: ‘Is it a classic case of white saviorism? Arguably yes, but one thing is for sure, Mr.Beast is denying the so-called ‘orphans’ from Baphumele their right to grow up in a family.’

The charity stressed there was no suggestion of wrongdoing at the Baphumelele orphanage itself, but pointed to evidence that shows 80 percent of the 5.4 million children confined in orphanages today aren’t actually orphans, but have family who could care for them.

Campaigners say the majority of children who grow up in such institutions suffer abuse and neglect and are more likely to become homeless later in life, experience mental health issues and have run-ins with the law.

Charities, including Hope and Homes and the Lumos Foundation, of which JK Rowling is President, wrote to MrBeast’s team in March to make this point, after his video appealing for donations to save the Baphumelele orphanage hit 15 million views.

Hope and Homes said they did not receive a response.

On August 20, MrBeast uploaded a new video titled ‘We Adopted an Orphanage’, which claimed his venture Beast Philanthropy had saved Baphumelele from closure after six months of ‘tireless’ work in which his team built 12 new homes, provided an ongoing supply of fresh food and repaired its dilapidated playground.

It claimed the orphanage had previously saved around 5,000 lives.

The video also tells the heartwarming story of Mama Rosie, who founded the orphanage 30 years ago. The charities who criticized MrBeast made clear there were no claims of wrongdoing on behalf of Mama Rosie or her Baphumelele orphanage

The video shows pictures of smiling children – presumed to be orphans at Baphumelele

But charities claim 80 percent of the 5.4 million children confined in orphanages today aren’t actually orphans, but have family who could care for them

The charities say they wrote to MrBeast in March, shortly after he launched his appeal for donations to the project, urging him to redirect his efforts into rehoming the children instead. But they said they were ‘completely ignored’ 

READ MORE: Inside the $500m MrBeast empire

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Jimmy Donaldson – aka MrBeast – is already the world’s richest YouTuber, with an estimated net worth of more than $500million

The video featured the heartwarming story of orphanage founder Mama Rosie, who was led blindfolded to her newly-renovated project before the big unveil leaves her close to tears.

Lumos said in a statement that although Mama Rosie’s orphanage appeared ‘well-intentioned’, this was not the case for all such institutions.

‘Many orphanages across the world are set up to exploit children for profit, exposing children to harm and abuse. By promoting orphanages, even well-intentioned ones, we promote the work of those that are not, continuing the cycle of exploitation,’ the charity added.

‘We do not believe that anyone in the video has bad intentions including Mama Rosie and MrBeast. But if we are going to support children in the best way possible, we need to move away from promoting the orphanage system and start supporting families with community-based care, so that their children can remain where they belong.’ has contacted MrBeast and the Baphumelele orphanage for comment.

This is not the first time MrBeast, whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson, 25, has been accused of being kind for clicks.

In January, he was blasted over a video on his channel showing how he helped scores of blind people from the US and across the world remove their cataracts with the help of a not-for-profit organization.

Critics accused him of using their suffering to increase his wealth and fame, although the doctor who performed the surgery said many patients had benefited.

MrBeast is one of the very few people who have more than 100 million subscribers on YouTube

He  has previously faced criticism over a video in which he helped cure blindness in 1,000 people with the help of a not-for-profit organization, with some accusing him of using suffering for clicks

The YouTuber has amassed a staggering estimated net worth of more than $500million, largely based around extravagant stunts in which he offers lavish gifts to unwitting members of the public.

His early content revolved around harmless pranks on friends, but quickly became outlandish.

Earlier this month, he claimed to have garnered the most YouTube views in 24 hours on a non-music video with his clip ‘7 Days Stranded At Sea’.

The video features the YouTuber and four of his friends, purposely getting themselves stranded on a raft in the middle of the ocean for a week.

When boasting of his new record, which was unverified, he also took aim at his critics on X, formerly known as Twitter. He wrote: ‘Also, I don’t ever want to hear I only get view’s because I give away money. We broke the world record with me and my friends suffering and cracking jokes lol.’

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