Is it just for clout, or does YouTube star MrBeast really mean well, and his delivery is just flawed? That’s the question a lot of people are wondering after watching his newest viral video titled, “1,000 Deaf People Hear For The First Time.”
The YouTube video, which has received more than 33 million views in a few short days, is similar to something Jimmy Donaldson, MrBeast’s real name, did for blind people back in January. But the Deaf community is not happy about how misleading the video really is.
MrBeast Has Upset Many With His Latest Video
Before uploading his video where he funds treatment for 1,000 people with hearing loss to try to restore their hearing, he told his fans that his next project would “change YouTube.”
It’s been reported that the six-minute video took more than six months to edit, almost 4,000 hours to be exact, and that MrBeast, 25, spent $3 million getting the latest technology to help the 1,000 individuals featured in the video.
While some are praising him for his efforts, many members of the Deaf community have spoken out against the video for a variety of reasons.
One common reason is that the video gives the idea that being deaf is an all or nothing experience, and the technology featured is a miracle cure that will restore someone’s hearing completely. But that’s simply not the case.
The way the video was presented and marketed was also debated because the participants who Donaldson helped were not born deaf and hearing for the first time ever, as the title insinuates. Instead, the people he helped seemed to only have varying levels of hearing loss, which a hearing aid could potentially improve.
Is MrBeast Just Producing “Inspiration Porn”?
An opinion piece for The Independent, written by Deaf journalist Liam O’Dell, explained that while the YouTube star may not have had any bad intentions with what he’s done, the impact of it can do more harm than good for the Deaf community.
“When I had my first hearing aid switched on, it certainly wasn’t a one-and-done situation like YouTube creator Jimmy ‘MrBeast’ Donaldson would have us believe in his latest video,” O’Dell wrote.
“It was a sudden flood of noise, it was overwhelming, and it definitely required more fine-tuning and adjustments over time.”
O’Dell called MrBeast‘s video, “inspiration porn,” a term coined by late disability activist Stella Young in 2014 to describe the “objectifying [of] disabled people for the benefit of non-disabled people.”
O’Dell further explains that the fact that MrBeast flips a switch and the hard-of-hearing people he’s trying to help can just suddenly hear, is misleading.
He also said it’s a “dangerous misconception that hearing devices such as hearing aids and cochlear implants are ‘cures’ or ‘fixes’ for deafness, because they simply aren’t. The aids produce the sensation of hearing, but they do not “restore” it. O’Dell wants people to realize that nothing in MrBeast’s viral video acknowledges the relationship deaf people have with hearing and listening.
“It is not a binary process where we suddenly go from deaf to hearing, but rather these devices are – as the name suggests – there to ‘aid’ hearing and help us pick up on auditory information we might not catch otherwise,” O’Dell wrote.
Comments On The Video Were A Mixed Bag Of Praise And Criticism
Donaldson got tons of positive remarks praising him for his efforts, but also received lots of criticism as well as some education on a topic that it seems he may not be fully informed on. Many of his Instagram followers dropped into the comment section of a photo he shared about the video to leave their thoughts on why they thought it was misleading and upsetting to view.
“This video is so misleading. Hearing aids do NOT cure hearing loss like he makes it seem they do. I’ve worn hearing aids my whole life: check out my video on my profile that explains why this is so frustrating,” one person wrote on MrBeast’s Instagram post.
“Fun fact Deafness can’t be ‘cured.’ There’s a spectrum of how much residual hearing each person has, if they are completely Deaf in both ears hearing aids won’t do anything helpful at all. Even if there is some residual hearing often it will only help with background noises,” another person added to the comments.
Another fan of MrBeast also added a comment explaining why this video was upsetting to watch, and why they feel the video was done purely for clout.
“I always like to watch his videos but this so so wrong. I am deaf and putting hearing aid on them thinking it will freaking work. It will not work at all because I did try out hearing aid on while I was so young. Guess what. IT DIDN’T WORK ON ME. So he really thinks that he ‘cured’ them. He only using Deaf culture for clout. It sad to see hearing people using deaf culture as clout like they should respect us.”