Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Why Poverty Is Not A Youtube Challenge

Living on the breadline is something that many of us are accustomed to. Finding enough money to rustle up a cheap dinner, using what's left in the freezer to make a pick and mix meal, relying on food banks when the money just isn't there. For a large portion of people, this is the reality. Yet Youtuber Alfie Deyes decided that living on £1 for food and drink a day would be a fantastic click bait video. 


In the past few days, Alfie Deyes (also known as PointlessBlog which is a pretty apt name) posted a video where he lived spent £1 in a day on food and drink. Let's put this into context. he changed the title from living to spending as he was only going to spend £1 on food and drink. Obviously living on £1 a day is pretty hard in a £1.7m mansion compared to a tiny flat like most of us live in.

What could have been an insightful look at living in poverty, turned into a joke where he was frustrated over not being able to drink filtered water from his home gym after a personal training session. Where he spent 67p on croissants as he wanted a free Waitrose coffee (he could have got a whole meal for that). Where he then used his fame to get a free box of Krispy Kreme donuts, which let's face it, he probably didn't eat all of and threw half in the bin. And finally he took his £50k Land Rover to town for a shopping spree where he got himself a beard comb amongst other things, justifying it as it wasn't food or drink.

Sitting here writing this, I'm still quite stunned that this self entitled idiot laughed and joked about something that affects millions of people in this country. When 1.5 million people are classed as destitute in the UK, that means they have NOTHING. There were 315 food bank parcels given out in his town of Brighton per week last year. Yet he seems to be unaware that there is a serious problem and poverty is a real thing happening on his doorstep.

I have to hold my hands up and say that we are fortunate. We have always paid the bills, we have always had food in the house, we have always had warmth and electric. But that's not to say we haven't had months where things have been tough. Months where an unexpected bill has left us with selling possessions to put food on the table, where living on tomato pasta with frozen veg had to get us through the penniless weekends. Despite living on the poverty line statistically, we are the fortunate ones and donate to food banks as much as possible. And for that I am eternally grateful

But for a large portion of people that isn't the case, The Trussell Trust recently reported that 1,332,952 people were given 3 day emergency food supplies in 2017/2018. When over 1 million people are struggling, it's baffling to understand how someone can find living in their situation for one day laughable. How someone did no research into what living in poverty is like. How he is so out of touch with reality, yet preaches to the masses that he is just like everyone else.

The Young Women's Trust did a report last year into young mums. Whilst I know he doesn't fall into that category, he is the same age as the mums that were surveyed. Over a quarter of the young mums relied on food banks to help put food on the table. Compare that in stark contrast to a man that doesn't think to spending £50 on food in a day, it's quite staggering to see how he can't see the bigger picture.

He has lived a privileged life where he hasn't wanted for anything. Where he made a career out of talking to a camera about his day and he can now do whatever he wants for the rest of his life. He doesn't understand the struggles of juggling multiple jobs, of planning a budget to see if your money can stretch. The part that got me the most about his video was the ad's he had placed throughout. The whopping 6 adverts hidden within a video about poverty, the fact he was making a profit on mocking the life of many people. He could have signposted to charities, donated the profits, ended the video with taking a ton of food to a food bank, instead he laughed.

I've since seen he's done an update. He's taken the video down and apologised. Promised to give money to charity and look into his local food bank. But why did it take everyone getting angry for him to do it? Why make a mockery of poverty. It isn't something to laugh at. It's the cold hard truth for many people. Whilst I can acknowledge he's accepted he's done wrong, it's frankly not good enough. It shouldn't have been done in the first place. Poverty isn't entertainment. Poverty isn't a game. Let's stop with this poverty porn and actually start helping people.

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1 comment

  1. Great blog post Laura. I agree. This was an extremely insensitive video and made me weep as he was poking fun at poverty. One thing poverty isn't is fun.

    And in regards to the donuts- him and his gf Zoella left them on the side and due to their unkept house ants ate the donuts which a homeless person would of been delighted to receive. So yes, the donuts were binned

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