1. So last month YouTube star MagicofRahat – aka Rahat Hossain – played a prank on a homeless man named Eric.
He tricked him by buying him a fake lottery ticket. What Eric didn’t know was that Rahat had given a store clerk $1,000 to hand over regardless.
2. The video’s received over 15 million views on YouTube.
But the reaction to it – and to a slew of similar videos – has been somewhat mixed.
As Slade Sohmer wrote on Hypervocal: “If there were no possibility whatsoever this could help build their YouTube subscriber base, would these charitable internet stars be doing these good deeds off-camera and off-brand? When you take these videos together, you start to wonder whether these folks identified inefficiencies in the clickbait market […]
Here’s the question: When are good deeds just good deeds, and where is the line where good deeds meets pimping out the homeless as props in the emotional clickbait economy? And, should that even matter?”
3. Well, now there’s been a new development.
Rahat has over three million subscribers on YouTube. After being hit with messages asking how they could donate to Eric, he set up a crowd funding project to help him get back on his feet.
4. He says the project more than doubled the intended goal of $20,000.
5. Rahat claims the $44,000 eventually raised means he was able to pay rent on a furnished house for a year and give Eric over $21,000 to keep him going.
Previous criticism has complained such YouTube stunts are helping individuals in the short term, but the lack of long-term commitment may eventually prove harmful. Assuming the events depicted haven’t been in any way faked, the video appears to address that criticism – at least as far as this particular stunt goes.
10. Here’s the video in full.
Rahat has also said that 100% of the ad revenue raised from the video will go to homeless charities.