A little over a month after his last viral stunt sparked controversy, YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson, better known as MrBeast, is drawing criticism once again after calling on fans to go to their local Walmart and clean up in-store displays for his new line of Feastables chocolate bars.
“I need your help!" MrBeast tweeted out. "Next time you see Feastables in Walmart (and soon to be new retailers) if you could clean up the presentation and make it look better that’d make me very happy. I’m building a team to do this routinely, just need help in the short term.”
\u201cI need your help! Next time you see Feastables in Walmart (and soon to be new retailers) if you could clean up the presentation and make it look better that\u2019d make me very happy \ud83e\udd7a\n\nI\u2019m building a team to do this routinely, just need help in the short term \u2764\ufe0f\u201d— MrBeast (@MrBeast) 1677881905
Some fans were weirdly quick to embrace the request, jumping at the opportunity to tidy up the chocolate bar displays at their local retailer and flooding the thread with pictures of neatened store shelves in hopes of receiving approbation from their favorite content creator. Some even went so far as to praise MrBeast as being some brilliant business mind for mobilizing his fanbase to care about product presentation, with one even going so far as to call out competitor Hershey's, saying that "there's a new and better way of doing things."
Anyone familiar with stan culture is probably not terribly phased by the zealous fanaticism, idol worship and parasocial weirdness it usually entails, but it's the intersection with a new level of late-stage capitalism that seems to have left a particularly strange taste in everyone's mouths. There's the obvious hypocrisy of a multi-millionaire YouTuber asking his fanbase to perform unpaid labor, but it's the way the act is postured as some sort of grassroots marketing campaign to promote his own line of chocolate bars that makes the whole thing feels like a deranged corporate social experiment or a relic of our dystopian present.
\u201cI feel like I'm going insane reading these replies. What the fuck is wrong with people\u201d— Wild Geerters (@Wild Geerters) 1677973639
Naturally, detractors were quick to turn the bizarre phenomenon into a meme, joking about how they were going to intentionally go out and destroy displays as well as mocking MrBeast's crazed fans by going to ridiculous lengths to punish anyone that dared disturb the neatly lined Feastables.
\u201c.@MrBeast I will continue destroying your chocolate displays until you pay me $100k\u201d— thousand yard stare from playing too much warzone (@thousand yard stare from playing too much warzone) 1678028111
\u201c.@MrBeast I caught this man after he bumped into a Feastables display at Walmart. I am slowly poisoning him with gas and he is begging for his life. Shall I finish him off sir?\u201d— adult human shemale (@adult human shemale) 1678052295
\u201c.@MrBeast I caught this man after his shoulder brushed a Feastables display and one of your chocolates fell to the ground. He is pleading for mercy but I do not believe he is truly sorry. How shall I deal with him sir?\u201d— Ali (@Ali) 1677996109
Coming on the heels of MrBeast's last stunt which saw him pay for a thousand people to get cataract surgery, the crowdsourced marketing ploy has reignited the discourse over the creator's positioning of philanthropy as content. Many have criticized the ethics of monetizing altruism as being emotionally manipulative, virtue signaling and glossing over the larger systemic issues at play. In a similar vein to the video where he restores the sight of hundreds, the chocolate bar tweet has ignited multi-layered debates over whether or not it is truly noble to straightened out a skewed display for underpaid retail workers, even if its a contrived self-serving promo scheme.
It's frankly not as deep as it is a soul-sucking conversation and yet it's like an internet car crash you can't help but watch.
Photo via Getty/Denise Truscello
- MrBeast Surpasses PewDiePie As Most-Subscribed YouTuber ›
- MrBeast Sparks Criticism After Helping 1,000 Blind People See Again ›