Gamer raises £250,000 for transgender charity by playing Donkey Kong
Celebrities including US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Ortez helped spread the word and raise money for the charity.
A British gamer has raised more than £250,000 for transgender youth charity Mermaids by playing Nintendo 64 game Donkey Kong live for more than two days.
Harris Brewis, known on YouTube and streaming site Twitch as Hbomberguy, aimed to complete the game live and raise money at the same time, drawing celebrity appearances and high-profile endorsements over the 57 hours and 48 minutes it was active.
The stream raised over $50,000 (around £38,000) in its first day, and quickly became wildly popular on the website.
Thank you all. So much. I didn't plan for this, and I never could have done. A lot of more specific thanks are in order when I can get to them, but first and foremost for the sake of best keeping track, donate from now directly to @Mermaids_Gender athttps://t.co/HvVtlEd5j4— Hbomb (@Hbomberguy) January 21, 2019
In a YouTube video announcing the stream, Mr Brewis explained that he had never beaten Donkey Kong 64 as a child, a hurdle he pledged to overcome.
He said in the video: “The goal is to beat Donkey Kong 64 100%. That means doing everything.”
Mr Brewis said: “I chose to support [Mermaids] because as a person living in Britain, I find the media discussion surrounding this issue in my country, especially in its tabloids, to be woefully misinformed, and I’d like to do my bit to help support the people who do the hard work of contributing to people’s thinking on an important issue.”
Apparently today is #BlueMonday, the saddest day of the year?— Mermaids 🧜🏻♀️ (@Mermaids_Gender) January 21, 2019
This weekend one guy raised over $340,000 for Mermaids by playing Donkey Kong online and uniting the world behind trans kids and the trans community.
Thanks to @Hbomberguy, this Monday is awesome!!#MermaidsMonday pic.twitter.com/Qf8mq2qZU1
Mermaids, formed in 1995, had National Lottery funding withheld and put under review after Irish comedy writer Graham Linehan called for opposition to the charity’s designation.
In a thread on parenting website Mumsnet, Mr Linehan, writer of Father Ted, claimed Mermaids was pursuing an “extreme ideological agenda”, and described the prospect of 45 support clinics being opened as a result of the funding, “terrifying”.
Linehan’s criticism inspired Mr Brewis to create the stream in support of the charity and wider transgender community.
After the campaign raised hundreds of thousands of pounds, a number of Mr Brewis’ supporters tweeted the hashtag #ThanksGraham as a sarcastic message to the writer for bringing awareness to the charity.
Sorry... make that $335600.17— Adrian Harrop 🎃🧛🏼♂️ (@AdrianHarrop) January 21, 2019
Three Hundred And Thirty Five Thousand, Six Hundred U.S. Dollars, And Seventeen Cents.
At current $:£ exchange rate = £260,694.21
From the bottom of my heart... #ThanksGraham 😊💖🏳️🌈🧜🏼♀️ https://t.co/VSMhDYpIkM
Who knew that trans rights would be saved by a man in a vest playing Donkey Kong 64 whilst talking to a US Congresswoman and a man who made Doom. This is amazing. I can't even.#thanksgraham— Natalie (@Transsomething) January 20, 2019
Susie Green, CEO of the charity, which supports transgender and gender non-binary children as well as their families, said the money raised was “astonishing”.
She said: “The love and support that has been generated by this wonderful human being is the real win, as transgender children and young people have seen this and know that they are not alone”.
“Transgender people have faced unprecedented hostility over the last few years, it is a welcome change to see the narrative reversed.”
The Twitch stream featured guests including US congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, writer Owen Jones, and trans activists Chelsea Manning and Lily Madigan, and was retweeted by singer Cher.
During the stream, Ms Osasio-Cortez said: “What I think we have to reassert is that when we say equal rights for all, we mean equal rights for all, no asterisks, exceptions, fine print, nothing.”