MrBeast’s ‘Squid Game’ Video Has Fans Outraged – ‘That’s Not a Creator Economy, That’s a Con Man Economy’

YouTuber James Steven Donaldson, also known as MrBeast, has made the news for his extravagant recreation of Hwang Dong-hyuk’s Korean drama Squid Game. The Youtuber recreated the immense and intricate set from the K-drama and gathered 456 players to participate in the Games. His version is an elaborate display minus the gore and violence.

While many fans praise MrBeast for his detailed project, he is also under scrutiny for spending millions to make the video. Fans claim he plagiarizes the director’s work and breaks Squid Game’s overall message about the social class divide.

MrBeast 'Squid Game' Youtube video with players wearing green tracksuits.
MrBeast ‘Squid Game’ video thumbnail | MrBeast via Youtube

MrBeast gave the players a cash prize for participating in the ‘Squid Game’ video

The Youtuber, MrBeast, has over 80 Million followers on his channel and decided to take the Squid Game craze by the horns. According to The South China Morning Post, the Youtuber spent US$3.5 million to recreate the set used in the K-drama. Just like the K-drama, he recruited 456 players with the promise of one winning the grand prize. Instead of the whopping cash amount offered in the K-drama, MrBeast’s prize was US$456,000 for the winner.

His version of Squid Game had some minor tweaks for players who already saw the K-drama. For the Dalgona challenge, the players were not allowed to pick the shape. For the final round of the Games, the players instead participated in musical chairs.

Unlike the players’ tragic fate after losing a round, MrBeast gave every disqualified contestant a US$2,000 prize. The runner-up winner was given US$10,000.

Fans criticize MrBeast for plagiarizing Hwang Dong-hyuk’s work

One of the critiques MrBeast has faced about his Squid Game video is taking Hwang’s 10-year work and ridding its immense success for his own. American actor, comedian, and writer Ron Funches posted on Twitter about the matter. “Yes, it is much easier to copy someone else’s hard work for profit. That’s not a creator economy that’s a con man economy,” said Funches.

MrBeast’s original TikTok video gained the necessary views to kickstart the project. Creating the set took roughly a month, according to Buzzfeed. Within four days of the video’s release, it gained 103 million views. But it also led fans to critique its success was only because of Squid Game’s already existing popularity.

“It took less time to make because it was an inspiration from an already made show which was a product of 10 years of hard work. It took less time to reach the views because Squid Game is already massive, without it, the MrBeast video wouldn’t exist at all,” said Aanchal Agrawal on Twitter. The video and how much it costs to create also caused unfavorable comments.

Is MrBeast’s video missing the point about capitalism in ‘Squid Game’?


‘Squid Game’: Did the Netflix K-Drama Plagiarize a Japanese Movie?

Much like the criticism Chrissy Teigen received for her extravagant Squid Game party, MrBeast is being ridiculed for doing exactly what the K-drama is trying to portray about society. “Donaldson has been criticized for spending such a large amount of money recreating a show which, at its core, is a commentary on poverty and wealth disparity,” said The South China Morning Post.

Squid Game was a bloody battle for survival where 456 players looked for an answer to their crumbling lives. The storyline was about greed, as many players were willing to do anything necessary to win. The K-drama’s message centered around the social and wealth gap between the rich and poor. The Games are run by the upper-class elite who use their power for entertainment. MrBeast’s version is all the wealth, minus the consequences.

A fan on Reddit commented, “Either way, my stance is that it’s strange to watch the show, and the first thing you do is put yourself in the shoes of the Front Man, but that doesn’t make him a bad person.” While MrBeast has been criticized for using a large sum of money to recreate the Games for entertainment, some fans counteract, saying he has done charitable work in the past.