Eye Doctor ‘Almost Hung up’ When Approached for Collaboration

Eye Doctor ‘Almost Hung up’ When Approached for Collaboration

On January 28, YouTuber MrBeast posted a cataract surgery video to 1,000 people. He worked with ophthalmologist Jeffrey Levenson on the project, which proved controversial. Levenson said he didn’t know who MrBeast was when he first contacted him and almost hung up. Loading Something is loading.

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An eye doctor who worked with MrBeast for a recent video said he “almost hung up” when the YouTuber first contacted him because he didn’t know who he was.

Jeffrey Levenson, an ophthalmologist and chief medical officer of the non-profit eye care organization SEE International, was featured in a video posted to MrBeast’s YouTube channel on January 28, in which the YouTuber said he was “healing the blindness of 1,000 people” by arranging for them to undergo cataract surgery to restore their sight.

The YouTuber, whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson, interviewed Levenson in the video, who said, “Half of all blindness cases in the world are people who need 10-minute surgery.”

The video followed patients from various countries around the world who all underwent surgery over a three-week period, according to an Instagram post about the SEE International partnership.

On January 31, SEE International shared on its Facebook page a link to a TED Talk given by Levenson in 2017, titled “Ending Avoidable Blindness: Reinventing Cataract Surgery.” In the talk, Levenson spoke about the work he had done to bring low-cost cataract surgeries to the world’s poorest populations to make treatment more accessible.

The caption above the video said Levenson’s TED Talk led to the collaboration between him and Donaldson.

“I got a call from a stranger. He said his name was MrBeast and he was a bit famous on YouTube. He had seen my TED talk and he told me he wanted me to help restore sight to thousands of blind people all over the world,” Levenson said, according to the caption of the SEE International post.

The caption goes on to quote Levenson saying he didn’t know who Donaldson was before that phone call: “I had never heard of MrBeast so I almost hung up. But luckily I didn’t.”

The resulting video exploded, receiving 69 million views and generating a huge amount of discussion online which led to a mixed response.

Some viewers praised the YouTuber for his generosity, while others accused him of performing a stunt for “influence” and views. Others said Donaldson’s video pointed to loopholes in healthcare systems for people who couldn’t afford or access surgery due to a lack of medical insurance, leaving wealthy people like celebrities and influencers to perform charitable acts.

Donaldson became the most-subscribed individual YouTuber in November, overtaking gaming and vlogging creator PewDiePie, who previously held the title for nine years.

He developed a reputation for giving away large sums of money, rising to fame in 2018 for viral videos where he donated thousands of dollars to small streamers. In 2022, he gave away at least $3.2 million — plus a $2.5 million jet and a private island — in challenge prizes, according to all of the YouTube videos he posted that year.

The YouTuber previously said in an interview with ‘The Iced Coffee Hour’ podcast that he reinvests all revenue generated from advertising revenue from his videos into creating new content and delivering prizes, adding that he does not didn’t care about his own financial future. Across all of his YouTube channels, including marketing a line of chocolate products and a chain of burger restaurants he owns, Donaldson said on the podcast he spends between $7 million and $8 million a month. .

For more stories like this, check out Insider’s digital literacy team coverage here.

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