MrBeast Burger bites back with $100M+ lawsuit against MrBeast

(Image credit: Dave Kotinsky (Getty Images))

Last week it was revealed that Jimmy 'MrBeast' Donaldson, the most popular YouTuber in the world, had earlier this year launched a lawsuit against his own "revolting" brand of burgers: MrBeast Burgers, operated by the company Virtual Dining Concepts (VDC). VDC fired back in a statement saying the suit was "meritless", that MrBeast is a bully who's "elevated greed over his word and the truth", and has now filed counter-suit, claiming both that the burgers are "excellent" and seeking a nine-figure sum in damages, ie, over $100 million dollars. 

The counter-suit, first reported by Variety, was filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York and claims that MrBeast not only failed to honor his contractual obligations but intentionally engaged in "tortious interference" (legal terminology meaning the matter involves a tort, a civil wrong). It says that, contrary to MrBeast's own claim that VDC had sought to expand MrBeast Burger too quickly, it was MrBeast's company that pushed for more rapid expansion following early success, before attempting to re-negotiate the original deal "to serve his own monetary interests" and acquire more ownership of the brand.

"This case is about a social media celebrity who believes his fame means that his word does not matter," claims VDC's suit, "that the facts do not matter, and that he can renege and breach his contractual obligations without consequence. He is mistaken."

Flipping MrBeast's claims like a well-done patty, VDC says it's him that has damaged the reputation of MrBeast Burger with "untruthful" statements, "shattered" relationships with affiliated restaurants, and caused "enormous financial harm" to the brand. It exemplifies this with now-deleted tweets from the YouTuber in which he said VDC "won’t let me stop even though it’s terrible for my brand", that "young beast signed a bad deal" and "sometimes when ur young you sign [a] shit deal" (MrBeast is 25).

This all adds up, claims VDC, to damages that "according to the evidence and Donaldson’s own statements regarding the value of MrBeast Burger, are in the nine-figure range."

A particular point of contention is customer reviews of the food in question. Donaldson's suit cited reviews, often accompanied by photographs of apparently raw food, that called the burgers "revolting" and "inedible" among many other things. VDC acknowledges that these reviews are real but says they're "a very small minority" of customers and the majority of reviews are highly positive: "70% of customer reviews included 5-star ratings" on UberEats and DoorDash. 

There's even room for a personal sideswipe at MrBeast's YouTube persona, which has been created in part through morally complicated philanthropic stunts: things like paying for eye operations and posting a video of the results under the title "1,000 Blind People See For The First Time". VDC's lawyers say MrBeast's schtick is all about "creating a persona, inaccurately as it has turned out, suggesting that he is more interested in charity than profit."

This one looks like it will go all the way, because MrBeast Burger is obviously a hugely profitable enterprise that VDC will want to keep running, while MrBeast himself is asking for the court to allow him to close the whole thing (the star has since moved on to promoting snacks called Feastables). No date for the case has been set.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."