Jimmy Donaldson (born May 7, 1998), better known by his online alias MrBeast, is an American YouTuber, internet personality, businessman, and philanthropist. He has been credited with pioneering a genre of YouTube videos that center on expensive stunts. 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, 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, under the handle “MrBeast6000”; his early content ranged from Let’s Plays to “videos estimating the wealth of other YouTubers”. 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. 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. 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.
As of December 25, 2021, Donaldson’s main YouTube channel “MrBeast” has 86.3 million subscribers and 14.1 billion total views. 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. 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.
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), videos estimating the wealth of other YouTubers, 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.
As of July 2013, the subscriber count of his channel, then named “That-dude”, was around 240. 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. His mother did not approve of this, and made him move out of the family home.
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. 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.”
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.