Popular YouTube star Jimmy Donaldson, famously known as MrBeast, has taken his former virtual food chain partner to court in the latest legal showdown of the virtual fast-food industry.
The lawsuit, filed in a New York court on Monday, seeks $100 million in damages from the "Ghost Kitchen" Virtual Dining Concepts (VDC). The ghost kitchen had been partnered with the famous YouTuber's virtual food chain MrBeast Burger, supplying and creating the burgers that were then served across 1,000 locations in the US and Canada.
But the party involved now claims that buried in the lawsuits of the last few days are "false statements" made by Donaldson, as well as alleged bullying.
The suit claims that Donaldson breached the company's agreement and undermined the profits of the MrBeast Burger business by publicly disparaging the products.
"Donaldson's baseless and unlawful disparagement had the intended effect: MrBeast Burger's reputation was materially damaged if not destroyed," the suit reads.
The YouTuber had previously filed a lawsuit against Virtual Dining Concepts in which he sought to terminate his deal with the company, claiming they were selling "disgusting" and "inedible" food. He also accused the company of not ensuring the quality of the burgers, as well as selling raw food.
Donaldson's legal team cited several negative reviews from customers, which left a bad taste in the YouTuber's mouth. Quotes from review snippets in the federal filing read that the burger was called "disgusting," "revolting," and "inedible," and that customers weren't happy the YouTuber's name was attached to the "very upsetting" product.
The YouTuber has since pulled out of the virtual food chain business, but the lawsuit has brought to light allegations of a breach of contract by the VDC. The suit claims Donaldson had promised to support their business but failed to do so, hence damaging the name of the company and their former partnership.
The suit also alleges that the VDC attempted to conceal a nine-figure damage amount which has resulted due to the loss of customers, broken vendor relationships, and Donaldson's breach of contract.
Donaldson is yet to directly respond to the lawsuit, but his spokesperson said in a statement: "We had hoped Mr. Donaldson would act honorably. Instead, having elevated greed over his word and truth, he will face consequences in court when VDC files its claims against him.”
This legal showdown is not the first time the virtual fast-food services have taken a beating from a customer. In June, Poke Bros owner Nick Guy accused a ghost kitchen operating as Wingstop of ruining his brand's reputation by selling substandard food.
The virtual food industry is witnessing one of the biggest legal tussles between the services and celebrity owners over the unfulfilled promises and misrepresented food quality. It certainly appears that the legal consequences for these businesses could be costly. We will update you as this lawsuit progresses.