James “MrBeast” Donaldson, one of the biggest YouTube stars in the world, is now being sued by Virtual Dining Concepts for $100 million. The food company behind his MrBeast Burgers alleges in the newly filed lawsuit that MrBeast is a “social media celebrity who believes his fame” means he can break contracts and say anything. In the view of VDC’s lawyers, “He is mistaken.”
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In 2020, MrBeast partnered with Virtual Dining Concepts, a company that specializes in “ghost kitchen” restaurants that use other, established eateries to produce branded meals that are then sold via delivery apps like Uber Eats. In December of 2020, MrBeast Burgers launched around the country. I was tricked into ordering one. (And then the same thing happened to the wonderful and forever great Mike Fahey.) MrBeast has publicly addressed fan complaints that the burgers they ordered were “inedible” or disgusting, with some looking like raw beef slapped on a bun. So MrBeast filed a lawsuit on August 1 against VDC, claiming the company didn’t care about these quality issues and wanting to terminate the deal. Now VDC is firing back with its own lawsuit that claims he has failed to honor his contractual obligations and has negatively interfered with the business.
As first reported by Bloomberg on August 7, VDC filed a lawsuit against MrBeast in New York City that alleges the star behind many viral videos has “schemed to exploit [his] leverage and renege on [his] agreements.” VDC says this is all being done to get a “better, more lucrative deal.”
In the lawsuit, VDC says that when it didn’t agree to new terms with MrBeast he began to disparage both the food company and MrBeast Burgers—a joint brand owned by the YouTuber and VDC-via a series of tweets, some of which he has since deleted.
“If I had the ability to close it, I would have done so a long time ago sadly. Sometimes when ur young you sign shit deal [sic],” reads one of MrBeast’s tweets, as seen in the lawsuit.
VDC calls the negative tweets and MrBeast’s complaints about quality control “baseless” and “unlawful,” citing a non-disparagement clause that was included in the contract between the YouTuber and the food company. The company also claims in the lawsuit that the deal was set to expire in 2024, but MrBeast extended it “indefinitely” in 2022.
VDC argues in the suit that as a result of these negative tweets—and MrBeast’s team taking over MrBeast Burgers’ social media accounts to block promotions—the company’s reputation has been damaged and that it also lost vendors, suppliers, and customers. VDC alleges the total amount of monetary damage it has faced is “in the nine-figure range.”
As for the complaints about burger quality, in a comical section of the lawsuit, VDC suggests that complaints were within the normal expected amount for a venture this large. It then includes a screenshot of a negative review of MrBeast’s “Feastables” candy brand.
Kotaku contacted MrBeast’s representatives but received no comment. VDC sent this statement to Kotaku:
VDC looks forward to holding Mr. Donaldson and BI accountable for their actions. In the meantime, it is business as usual for MrBeast Burger and VDC to the greatest extent possible, and VDC looks forward to serving many more satisfied customers and continuing to help the restaurant industry.