- YouTuber MrBeast has launched a campaign to plant 20 million trees in celebration of reaching 20 million YouTube subscribers.
- The #TeamTrees project was created in collaboration with the Arbor Day Foundation, and for every $1 donation, the organization will plant one tree.
- Critics argued there are more immediate ways to address climate change, but MrBeast defended his project and the Arbor Day Foundation explained it was working with partners to plant trees responsibly.
To celebrate reaching 20 million subscribers on YouTube, MrBeast is spearheading a massive campaign to plant 20 million trees.
MrBeast, whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson, is well known on YouTube for charitable stunts and crazy challenges involving huge sums of money. Earlier this year, a subscriber came up with the idea for MrBeast to plant 20 million trees, a request that quickly went viral.
In his latest video announcing the project, MrBeast said his fans spammed him with the request so often that he had to take on the challenge. He kicked off the campaign in Oregon by planting hundreds of trees with friends and fans in a large field. YouTuber Mark Rober, a former NASA engineer also joined in by using drones to plant trees.
But in order to reach his goal, MrBeast has collaborated with the Arbor Day Foundation – one of the largest nonprofit conservation organizations dedicated to planting trees. Together they launched the #TeamTrees website, where supporters can donate to the cause. For every $1 raised, one tree will be planted in an area of high need around the globe.
#TeamTrees hopes to reach its $20,000,000 goal by January 1, 2020. According to the site’s FAQ section, trees will be planted throughout 2020, with a completion goal of December 2022.
MrBeast pledged more than $100,000 himself and received support from other huge creators. On October 25 you might have seen dozen and dozens of videos flooding YouTube about the project, dominating the trending page, homepages, and recommendations.
Videos were shared by creators like Pewdiepie, Jacksepticeye, The Infographics Show, Guava Juice, The Try Guys, and several others. Huge donations were made by influencers like Jeffree Star, Ninja, Simply Nailogical, and Doctor Mike.
The list of supporters goes on and on, including big names like Safiya Nygard, The Slow Mo Guys, Marquees Brownlee, Jake Paul, and Casey Neitstat. According to The Verge, more than 600 YouTubers have expressed their support. YouTube even confirmed that they would cover all transaction fees for donations made on the platform.
Criticism of the Project
Despite massive praise for the campaign, MrBeast has seen some criticism from those who argue he should find more effective ways to fight climate change.
Some are specifically pointing out that it will take years before these new trees can make a considerable impact.
MrBeast responded to those comments saying, “Just to be clear we all realize 20 million trees won’t fix climate change. But at the end of the day 20 million more trees is better then 0! We want to take action because doing nothing is how we got here!”
Long term survival is key for trees to have an impact on our planet, so there must also be an effort to protect and nurture these new trees in order for them to help the environment. The Arbor Day Foundation’s director of public relations Danny Cohn said that some of the funds raised will be used to help maintain all of the trees planted.
“We’re just not planting and walking away,” he said. He explained to The Verge that the partners who work with the organization are all required to have plans to help their trees thrive.
The organization said that it’s not sure what the survival rate is for its trees since the foundation itself does not do the planting. But they say the US Forest Service, which it partners with, estimates a 3 percent mortality rate per year.
There have also been concerns that too many trees will be planted in the wrong places, which can actually be damaging to some ecosystems The Arbor Day Foundation addressed those concerns by noting that it partners with agencies like the US Forest Service, the National Park Service, and the National Association of State Foresters to ensure that they’re planting trees responsibly.
“That’s the first thing: right tree, right place,” Cohn said. “People are very concerned about invasive species, and we are very concerned about that as well.”
“We know that 20 million trees isn’t going to cure climate change, but the point here is to end this decade on a super strong note,” YouTuber Mark Rober said in a private campaign video to other creators. “It’s a constructive way to send a message to the politicians, ‘it’s freaking time to do something about climate change.’ Plus we just really love trees so this is like a fist pump to mother Earth.”
As of Monday morning, the campaign has earned about $5.7 million to plant trees around the globe, with that number steadily rising.
Twitch Shares Its First-Ever Transparency Report, but Critics Want More Accountability
- Twitch released its first-ever Transparency Report on Tuesday in a continued effort to address toxic and harmful behavior on the platform.
- While Twitch listed several statistics detailing how it’s taken action, many still accused the platform of ignoring user complaints.
- The Anti-Defamation League also argued that Twitch’s report lacked additional vital data, including a list of the specific communities being targeted by hate speech on the streaming site.
- The complaints against Twitch’s transparency culminated when a staff member directly told users that the platform would not be addressing why Dr Disrespect, a popular streamer, was permanently banned in June 2020.
Twitch’s Transparency Report
Twitch released its first-ever transparency report on Tuesday as part of a continued attempt to reduce hateful conduct, sexual harassment, violence, gore, nudity, and even terrorist propaganda on the platform.
In the report, Twitch notes that over the past year, it’s “made a 4X increase in the number of content moderation professionals available to respond to user reports.” In other words, Twitch is saying that it’s now much more likely users’ reports will be processed soon after being filed.
Despite this, Twitch stopped short of saying how many moderators it actually employs.
In another statistic, Twitch said at least 92% of live content viewed on the platform last year “occurred in channels with chat that was moderated either by active moderators, or AutoMod, or both.”
Throughout the report, Twitch continues to list similar stats, including that the total number of enforcement actions on the platform rose 41% between the first and second half of the year.
Calls for More Accountability
Reaction to the data set has been mixed. While WIRED described the report “as a victory lap for [Twitch’s] recent moderation efforts,” the platform is still being plagued by criticism that it failed to ever take action against some user complaints.
“I had [a] person send me repeated death threats and threats of violence,” one person tweeted. “I reported it to you several times providing screen shots and you took literally 0 action. If you are going to flex about keep people safe you might want to actually do something instead of whatever this is.”
Likewise, the Anti-Defamation League noted that Twitch’s report contains no information on specific communities being targeted by hate on the platform.
As Nathan Grayson, a writer for Kotaku, noted, “The report contains a handful of other, similar data sets, most of which paint Twitch in a favorable light. Certainly, they’re a useful measure of Twitch’s growth in these areas… The problem with these kinds of reports, however, is that they have a way of appearing to say a lot while revealing very little.”
“Twitch has offered numbers and a small amount of context, but streamers and viewers remain in the dark on major issues that came to light last year,” Grayson continued.
Part of that involves last year’s permanent ban against Dr Disrespect, who was booted off Twitch in June after years of streaming and even a multi-year deal with the platform. To this day, it’s still unclear exactly what precipitated the ban.
It also looks like (at least for now) it’s going to stay that way.
That’s because during Twitch’s Transparency Report Breakdown, one user popped into the chat and asked, “Any Dr. Disrespect news??”
Instead of Twitch ignoring the comment, a staff member flat out said, “no.”
James Charles Denies Grooming Allegations
- Over the weekend, a 16-year-old who goes by Isaiyah accused 21-year-old YouTuber James Charles of grooming him.
- Isaiyah shared censored versions of nude photos James allegedly sent him as well as Snapchat messages showing the YouTuber allegedly asking for explicit photos.
- James denied the accusations, saying Isaiyah initiated contact with him, sent lewd photos first, and told him he was 18. James also claimed that once he learned Isaiyah was 16, he stopped contact, though Isaiyah insists this is not the case.
- Since then, two more people have come forward with their own stories detailing situations where they felt James acted inappropriately with them.
James Charles Accused of Grooming
James Charles is denying grooming allegations after a 16-year-old posted videos accusing the YouTuber of sending and asking for explicit photos.
The accuser, who goes by Isaiyah, shared his allegations in videos on both Twitter and TikTok last week. On the latter platform, he has over 260,000 followers.
Isaiyah claims that he and James began talking on Snapchat on February 17, and he hoped the conversation would give him a chance to interact with an influencer he looked up to. However, Isaiah says James ended up making their conversation sexual.
He shared photos of their interactions, including one snap where James is allegedly asking for Isaiyah to send videos taken in the shower. In another, James appears to mention Isaiyah’s genitals and says, “I bet you can make me finish just by flexing and showing off your hair.”
Isaiyah also shared censored nude and partially nude images that James allegedly sent, which he says prompted him to tell the YouTuber he is only 16.
“I was getting really uncomfortable so I told him my age and I told him I was 16 and meanwhile, he’s 21, he’s a grown man,” Isaiyah said in the video. “And then he proceeds to say, ‘oh but I didn’t get to see the….yet’ meaning my body. And after telling him no, like I’m not going to send it to you, like, he kept asking for videos and pictures of body hair and me flexing and stuff.”
Even after this, Isaiyah claims James still asked to FaceTime with him. He ultimately said the interaction left him seeing James in a new way.
“I’ve heard multiple stories about him doing this to people but you never believe it until it happens to you,” Isaiyah said. “So now, I’m a big believer of what James Charles does to other people.”
Both TikTok and Twitter have since removed the videos detailing these accusations, according to Insider.
James Charles Denies Allegations
On Friday, James took to Twitter to tell his side of the story. He called the grooming accusations “completely false.” He then said he found Isaiyah on Instagram’s explore page.
He said he noticed that Isaiyah followed him, so he decided to add him on Snapchat. James also claims he woke up to multiple messages from Isaiyah saying how excited he was to speak to him, as well as lewd photos from him.
“I asked how old he was right away and he told me he was 18 so I started flirting back,” James continued, adding that he never saw ID to verify his age.
“It’s now clear, based on the video he uploaded, he was taking photos of me with another device, and had an ulterior motive from the beginning,” he continued.
“Later in the day, he said a few things that made me question the validity of his original age answer and when I asked him to confirm his age once again, he admitted he was 16.”
“I told him I was really uncomfortable and apologized for flirting, but he insisted on continuing talking, saying it could be our little secret, he’s a fan of mine and would never tell anyone,” the post continued. “I told him I wasn’t okay with this, he started getting upset, and at this point I unfriended him. We haven’t spoken since.”
James wrote that he was not trying to victim blame or make himself out as the victim, but instead wanted to share his story because he has dealt with accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior in the past. Moving forward, he stressed that he will ask people for their ID or passports to verify their age before speaking with them.
Isaiyah shot back at James’ statement and insisted the popular influencer was well aware of his age.
“James we both know I blocked you, you never asked for my age. After I told you I was 16 you proceeded to ask me for nudes and said it didn’t matter,” he wrote. “You called me hot and said ‘I wish the timeline could speed up so you can be 18.’”
James we both know I blocked you, you never asked for my age. After I told you I was 16 you proceeded to ask me for nudes and said it didn’t matter. You called me hot and said “I wish the timeline could speed up so you can be 18.” pic.twitter.com/60QGI8jtLx— Isaiyah (@Isaiyah13) February 26, 2021
“If you’re gonna text someone, make sure you know their age,” he added in another tweet. “He added me on insta, my insta has my tik tok which shows me age.”
In another post, he said he would be contacting the police about the situation.
More People Speak Out
At least two more people have since come forward with their own stories about James over the weekend. One said on Twitter that they told James they were 17-years-old, but the YouTuber still flirted with them on social media.
They said nothing sexual happened; however, it still felt weird, making them feel compelled to share the story as others were speaking out. Those tweets have since been deleted.
Another person, who goes by LifeOfUzzy on Twitter, said they had a “disgusting” experience with James. In a lengthy Twitter thread, he shared screenshots of their messages and a video his brother recorded of him opening a Snapchat from James as proof of their interactions. He claims that things started out fine but took a turn when James began flirting.
“We started talking for a little and he was actually A VERY NICE person the first few days. He told me he wasn’t looking for anything until he started calling me ‘daddy’ and ‘babe,’ LifeOfUzzy wrote.
He then shared a video of James allegedly spamming him, asking to do a video call, and apparently asking him to do “disgusting things.”
LifeOfUzzy wrote that after James allegedly used him for “sexual pleasure,” he sent James a message ending things and asking him to delete the pictures he screenshotted.
LifeOfUzzy explained more details in a series of TikToks and a YouTube video, claiming he was just looking to get to know James, but that James clearly had no interest in this and was asking him for specific and explicit pictures. He said James stopped talking to him after declined.
James has not responded to these two newer allegations yet.
See what others are saying: (Insider) (Cosmopolitan) (Dexerto)
Former Member of David Dobrik’s Vlog Squad Says He Was Sexually Assaulted by Jason Nash on Video
- Former Vlog Squad member Seth Francois says he was sexually assaulted in a 2017 prank that YouTubers David Dobrik and Jason Nash pulled on him.
- Francois agreed to be in a video where he would make out with fellow Vlog Squad member Corinna Kopf while she was disguised as an old man. However, the costumed person he actually kissed was 45-year-old Nash.
- In 2018, Dobrik pulled a nearly identical prank on Francois again, despite Francois repeatedly stating he was not okay with what happened.
- Francois says he is not trying to “cancel” anyone but his attempts to resolve the matter behind closed doors with Dobrik have not been successful, so he felt he had to tell his story publicly.
Seth Francois Calls Kissing Prank Sexual Assault
Former Vlog Squad member Seth Francois says he was sexually assaulted in a prank that massive YouTuber David Dobrik pulled on him with fellow creator Jason Nash.
Francois first told his story to Ethan and Hila Klein on the H3 Podcast on Feb. 12. The prank in question happened in 2017. At the time, Dobrik asked Francois if he wanted to be in a video where he made out with Corinna Kopf while she was disguised as an old man. Francois agreed, but when he kissed the costumed person, Kopf was not the one behind the mask. Instead, it was 45-year-old Nash.
“I was touched by someone I did not consent to,” Francois said on the podcast.
He told BuzzFeed News that it felt wrong when it happened, but as more time passed, he began to feel even worse. He decided to call a sexual assault hotline to talk about and processs the situation.
“They said, ‘I’m sorry you were sexually assaulted.’ And I broke down,” Francois told the outlet. “I called my mother and some of my close friends and I said, ‘I can’t believe that happened to me.'”
Francois said Dobrik asked if they could make a similar video again, but Francois refused, explaining he did not like the prank and did not want to have to go through that again. Still, in 2018 Dobrik ended up pulling a nearly identical stunt.
The second time, Dobrik told Francois that they were making a commercial for Jack Link’s Jerky, which Francois was thrilled about. When Francois got to the set, there were people in gorilla costumes, and he was instructed to make out with one. When that person took their mask off, it was Nash again.
Francois said this incident ultimately led to him moving out of Los Angeles.
Jack Link’s Jerky has since tweeted that they were not involved in the stunt and do not condone any non-consensual conduct that occurred.
Other Allegations Against Dobrik and The Vlog Squad
On top of all this, Francois said that during his time in the Vlog Squad, he was pressured to participate in racist jokes that played into stereotypes about Black people. He felt he could not say no to these bits.
“It was an unwritten thing where you see a pattern of people saying, ‘Yo, I’m uncomfortable with this,’ and all of a sudden they disappear and they’re not in videos anymore,” he explained on the H3 Podcast.
These are just the latest in a series of accusations former Vlog Squad members have made about Dobrik, Nash, and group’s general culture. Nik Keswani, known to fans as Big Nik, explained to H3 that the group was “toxic” and like a cult. Keswani said that he was bullied and felt forced to make jokes about his own size, which led to other people thinking they could make fun of him in cruel ways.
YouTuber Trisha Paytas has also accused Dobrik and Nash of inappropriate behavior on multiple occasions. Both she and Francois also say they have heard rumors about Nash assaulting other people or sleeping with minors. In some cases, Paytas says victims have contacted her directly about it.
Dobrik has not commented on the sexual assault allegations brought up by Francois, but over the summer he did issue a general apology for offensive content he had posed in his past.
“I want them to have a positive experience when they interact with anything I produce,” he said on his podcast, “Views.”
“And with that being said, I feel like on a handful of occasions I just missed the mark on that, and that really bums me out.”
Why Francois Is Speaking Out
For a long time, Dobrik has been a top creator on YouTube. He is known for his Tesla giveaways and was dubbed Gen Z’s Jimmy Fallon by The Wall Street Journal. Francois said he felt the need to speak out because he fears Dobrik is not remorseful and is unaware of the harm he has caused.
“If [Dobrik and Nash] don’t know what’s wrong and they don’t understand that what they did was wrong, it makes me feel like that could still happen. Or maybe it has happened to other people who are afraid of speaking up,” he told BuzzFeed.
Francois said that he has asked for the videos to be removed, but Dobrik tried to offer him cash to keep them up. Dobrik eventually unlisted both prank videos and later privated the second one.
Francois has since tried to resolve the matter privately but has not gotten a response from Dobrik. He told Insider that his goal in speaking up is not to “cancel” anyone, though he felt he had no option but to make the matter public. He is now also considering legal action, which is a path he initially did not want to go down.
“People were saying I’ve betrayed David, but I feel like he betrayed me,” he told the outlet. “I was very hurt and even right now talking about it, it really makes you want to cry.”
“They profited off causing me a lot of mental trauma, which is something that really hurts to know,” he continued.
Now, people are calling for Dobrik to respond to the allegations. Many are starting to see his content in a new light and believe he should issue an apology.