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YouTuber MrBeast Responds to Criticism of Massive Tree Planting Project

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  • 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.

#TeamTrees 

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. 

See what others are saying: (Insider) (The Verge) (Dextero)

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Protection Order Filed By Onision Against Chris Hansen Dismissed

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  • YouTuber Onision, who has been accused of grooming and predatory behavior, filed court protection orders against journalist Chris Hanson and YouTuber Repzion, who have both been covering the allegations against him. 
  • A court appearance was held Friday for both, where the charges were voluntarily dismissed. 
  • While this was not the cause for dismissal, Hansen had actually never been formally served because Onision actually served the wrong Chris Hansen. 
  • Repzion anticipates that Onision will seek other forms of litigation like a civil suit for slander, which he is prepared to fight. 

Hansen’s Case Dismissed

An order of protection of harassment filed by YouTuber Onision against journalist Chris Hansen was voluntarily dismissed after a Friday court appearance. 

Onision, also known by James or Greg Jackson, has been long accused of grooming and predatory behavior. Allegations stretch to nearly ten years ago, with many saying he engages in inappropriate behavior with young women, along with the help of his partner Kai.

Hansen has been covering these allegations, which Jackson has consistently denied, on his YouTube channel “Have a Seat With Chris Hansen.”

In early January, Hansen went to Jackson’s house to hear his side of the story. Jackson called the police and later filed a court order. According to Mike Morse, a lawyer working with Hansen on the matter, the order alleged that Hansen was a “stalker” who had been making “hateful and harassment type videos since August 2019.”

Jackson filed the order without an attorney and represented himself. Connecticut-based Hansen sent an attorney, Naomi, to represent him in the Washington state courtroom. She initially asked for the order to be dismissed because Hanson was never formally served. The court said service was sent out, but it turned out that Jackson had served a different Chris Hansen, also located in Connecticut. 

The other Chris Hansen responded to the service. 

“I have nothing to do with this very public case and do know know the petitioner or the intended respondent,” he wrote. “I am not Chris Hansen from to Catch a Predator. Given that I’m not the intended recipient of this complaint, there shouldn’t be a case against me.”

While the mix-up over the wrong Chris Hansen being served did not result in the case’s dismissal, the case was still voluntarily dismissed. Naomi asked for the order to be dismissed with prejudice, meaning Jackson could not refile and the case would be over. The judge did not grant that, and the case was dismissed without prejudice, meaning it could be filed again.

Repzion’s Case Dismissed

A similar order was filed against Daniel Sulzbach, also known as Repzion, a YouTuber who has also been making videos about the allegations against Onision. This case appeared in the court on the same day, and the order was also voluntarily dismissed. 

Jackson had filed for dismissal before heading into court. Still, Sulzbach spent the money and time to appear in the Washington courtroom with his own lawyers.

“It was probably one of the most anticlimactic things that I [have] ever been in,” he told Morse on a phone call posted on YouTube.

Sulzbach anticipates that legal matters between him and Jackson are not over. He predicts a civil suit over slander could be on the way, even though he maintains he has only ever discussed information already made public. 

Morse also shared photos taken in the courtroom. In them, Jackson appeared to be wearing sneakers and a ski cap. Many present also noted the boxy way his jacket fit, with several speculating he could have been wearing a Kevlar vest, which is bulletproof. 

As for what happens next, on his show, Hansen said that in 2019, the police were called to Jackson’s home 19 times. The calls stem from reports of potential inappropriate behavior with girls or child neglect. Hansen also said there were local investigations and has previously said there is also an FBI investigation into Jackson. 

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Google and YouTube Could Be Banned From San Francisco’s Pride Parade

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  • Seven members of SF Pride voted to ban Google and its affiliates from future parades, arguing that the company does not do enough to protect the LGBTQ community.
  • There were debates over whether or not the vote is legally binding since only 12 of the 326 members were present.
  • The organization said its board will meet on Feb. 5 to determine what happens next. 

What Prompted the Vote? 

YouTube and its parent company, Google, may no longer be welcome at San Francisco’s annual LGBTQ pride parade after a group of event organizers voted to ban them from future festivities. 

Members of San Francisco Pride passed the resolution against Google and its affiliates on Jan. 15, saying the company is not doing enough to protect members of the LGBTQ community, particularly when it comes to hate speech and harassment on YouTube.

Though YouTube has been a long-time supporter of the LGBTQ community in terms of corporate marketing, it’s faced a ton of backlash in recent months from critics who accused the platform of not supporting the community with its policies. 

For many, this became apparent when Vox journalist Carlos Maza said he had been a victim of homophobic and racist harassment at the hands of conservative commentator Steven Crowder. Maza claimed that over the course of two years, Crowder called him names including “Mr.Gay Vox,” “lispy queer,” and “anchor baby.” 

YouTube initially responded by letting Crowder’s videos stand, saying that while his comments were hurtful, they did not violate community guidelines. Instead, the platform suspended Crowder’s ability to earn ad revenue.

That decision sparked widespread outrage both from the general public and internally. Soon after, over 140 Google employees signed a letter asking SF Pride to drop Google from its parade. Meanwhile dozens of others marched to protest against the company’s policies, despite being warned that doing so would violate Google’s code of conduct and potentially cost them their jobs. 

About six months after the Maza- Crowder controversy, the company updated its harassment policy, banning content that contains malicious insults based on race, gender expression, or sexual orientation. But organizers say that isn’t enough to protect LGBTQ users and argue that creators like Crowder still remain popular on the platform. 

Is the Vote Legal?  

The vote marks a huge change in the attitude that many have towards Google, which was once viewed as a corporate leader in its support of the LBGTQ community.

“Companies are no longer scared to be seen as pro-LGBTQ; in fact, their participation is a great opportunity for them. We believe companies should earn that opportunity by proving that they really do stand with our community,” the members seeking to ban Google said in a statement to Recode. 

However, it’s important to note that the vote represents only a small percentage of the organization given that only about 12 of the 326 members were present at the time. Seven people voted in favor of the ban, according to the interim executive director, Fred Lopez. 

Lopez told Recode that some members of the board questioned whether the vote was legally binding without the board’s approval. Others argued that members do have the authority to pass the ban since current bylaws don’t appear to restrict them from making amendments.

Lopez explained that the group was looking into the legality of the vote saying, “Our legal team is reviewing the implications of last week’s vote by seven of Pride’s 326 members. Our Board of Directors will meet February 5th to determine our next step.” 

The effort to ban Google is being led by former Google employee Laurence Berland, who claims the company fired him for workplace organizing. Google denied this claim and told Recode that Berland violated company data security policies. However, Berland has been fighting for Google to be banned since last June, when he was still working for the company and is now urging the board to approve the motion at the Feb. 5 meeting. 

Google Responds 

Meanwhile, Google has expressed disappointment in the news. “Google has been a proud supporter of San Francisco Pride for over a decade,” the company told Recode in a statement.

“We’re saddened that seven members, including a recently fired employee, decided to recommend banning Google, YouTube, and our employees from supporting this important community organization. SF Pride has over 300 members and a separate board that makes the ultimate decision on participation; we’ll continue to work with the San Francisco Pride board and its broader membership on next steps.”

The spokesperson also defended the company against claims that it doesn’t support the LGBTQ community, pointing out that Google has opposed laws that target the LGBTQ individuals and has provided employees with same-sex health benefits that include coverage of gender reassignment surgery. 

See what others are saying: (Recode) (Tubefilter) (SF Gate)

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Onision Calls 911 on Chris Hansen, Files Court Order

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  • YouTuber Onision, who has long been accused of predatory behavior, recently called 911 when journalist Chris Hansen showed up to his door. 
  • Hansen has been extensively covering the accusations against Onision, and Onision told the dispatcher he was his “internet stalker.”
  • No arrests were made once police arrived, but Onision has filed a court order against both Hansen and another YouTuber, Repzion, who has also been covering the allegations.
  • Hansen posted another video saying that he obtained police records showing that Onision’s daughter fell from a window and that Onision recorded the aftermath.

Court Order Filed 

YouTuber Onision is filing a court personal protection order against journalist Chris Hansen, who has been covering the series of accusations of grooming and predatory behavior levied against him.

Hansen said in a video on Monday that Onision, who is also known as Greg or James Jackson, filed the order in Washington state. Jackson also filed the order against YouTuber Repzion, or Daniel Sulzbach, who has also posted several videos about the long-standing allegations.

Many have claimed that Jackson, along with his partner Kai, grooms young women, often minors who are fans of his, to become sexually intimate with him once they turn 18. Others have also brought up potential cases of other inappropriate, predatory behavior. Several girls have spoken to Hansen on his YouTube channel to explain their claims. Some have described a system of control and manipulation, such as a list of rules Jackson and Kai force the girls to follow. 

Jackson has regularly denied the allegations. Rogue Rocket reached out to him to discuss them back in December. He asked for $10,000 in exchange for an interview. 

Hansen Attempts to Reach Out to Onision

This was not the first time Hansen had attempted to reach Jackson to hear his side of the story. Hansen has claimed that he too was asked for monetary compensation in order to ask Jackson questions. On January 13, he posted a video of the 911 call Jackson made when he knocked on his door in an attempt at a face-to-face conversation. 

In the call, Jackson refers to Hanson as an “internet stalker.” Hansen is seen standing outside of his door, knocking and sometimes speaking. He was accompanied by a camera crew and his attorney, Mike Morse. Police did arrive and no arrests were made. 

In another video Hansen uploaded about his trip to speak with Jackson, he said that it appeared that Jackson was no stranger to officers. 

“It quickly became clear that Greg was not unfamiliar to the local law enforcement authorities here,” Hansen explained to the camera in a video that has amassed over one million views.  “They were aware of his YouTube antics, the allegations of inappropriate contact with young women.”

He also added that Jackson declined to speak to him when given the opportunity, something Hansen noted was typical behavior in his experience investigating child predators. 

Hansen confirmed the court order in a video week later.

Police Report on Onision’s Child

In the video where Hansen explained the court order, he also gave a disturbing update he found in regards to Jackson and Kai’s children when working with police. 

“We’ve now obtained Pierce County Sheriff’s reports about a 911 call in September of 2019,” Hansen said. “According to the transcripts, Onision and Kai’s young daughter fell from a second story bedroom window landing in the driveway.” 

Hansen also added that this report notes that Jackson actually took a video of his young daughter in the driveway while she was injured, and panned up to the window that she fell from. As for the details of what happened, many have been sharing what appear to be screenshots of the records of the incident. Rogue Rocket requested the records, but has not received them yet, therefore we cannot confirm them. Some of the information in the screenshots shared does line up with what Hansen described in the video. 

One screenshot came from Good Citizens Records, which said they obtained the police report. They redacted information to protect Jackson’s daughter and said that the accident was in fact an accident.

According to the screenshots, the police had previously done welfare checks at Jackson’s home and they had received calls about him “possibly sexually abusing young girls.”

As for why he recorded his child in the aftermath of the fall, Jackson said he wanted to be able to show the doctor what happened. According to the screenshots,  Jackson referenced an event in 2011 when a friend allegedly threatened to kill herself and make it look like he did it, and he wanted the video to show police he was not responsible. The report calls this explanation “strange.”

Another unconfirmed screenshot goes into the details of the accident and the injury obtained from it. It appears his daughter suffered from skull fractures as a result of the fall. 

The fractures did not initially seem life-threatening, though that could rapidly change. Hansen said he will be covering more on this later in the week.

See what others are saying: (Newsweek) (Insider) (Mashable)

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