Josh Paler Lin might just regret giving $100 to that homeless man after all. The now infamous video, which has amassed over 30 million views since it was posted last December, shows YouTuber Lin approaching a random homeless man and offering him $100.
Lin then documents what he does with the money and is shocked to see that instead of buying booze, the homeless guy bought food for other homeless people.
If it was real, it was an amazing act of charity by someone in a position that could ill afford to be so charitable. Of course that was a pretty big if.
In the wake of the video though, Josh started a fundraiser for the homeless man, Kenni “Thomas” Nickel. The internet, touched by the display of human kindness, donated over $145,000 to Nickel. It was money Nickel’s father, William, says the man never got. Kenni was found dead in an alley of alcoholism last month. “I just don’t feel Josh has been honest at all,” William says in the video, which won’t embed correctly here, so you have to watch it on their site.
Lin tells a different story about the financials, claiming that the money was disbursed on March 11 of this year in a tribute video he made about Kenni.
Kenni’s brother, Kevin, also doesn’t believe that Kenni received the money, and goes on to mention that Kenni has a trust fund and that he wasn’t homeless because he needed money — a distinction that the internet frequently fails to comprehend. Many online advocates for the homeless get very upset though if it is speculated that mental illness is a reason for homelessness.
The Indiegogo campaign started by Lin was called Help Thomas To Get A Fresh Start.”
“When you’re found in an alley four months later…dead… from consuming alcohol, clearly that wasn’t done,” Kevin said in an interview with NBC Los Angeles.
Even more interesting — allegedly Josh’s legal team drafted a document in regards to the money that would give Josh Paler Lin almost $20,000 of it “for his expenses.” Allegedly, Kenni didn’t want to sign it, but was told that he wouldn’t get any of the money the internet raised for him if he didn’t.
According to William, Kenni would have used the money to start a homeless shelter in Missouri, and that’s precisely what William wants to do as well. Of course, several questions still remain about it all that have cast a sort of cloud over what was once posited as a nice bit of charity.
If Kenni has a trust fund, why didn’t he use that to start this homeless shelter? If Kenni didn’t get the money, what happened to it? if the video is indeed fake, as William claims his son told him it was, should the money still be awarded to Kenni’s estate? It definitely shouldn’t go to Josh Paler Lin, who already benefits from Adsense on the original video, but it also shouldn’t go back to the people who donated it.
Hopefully there is a way 100 percent of the money can go towards helping the homeless in some capacity. Maybe the money should just be given directly to the homeless, a few grand to each person, in the spirit of the video? Or would that be too generous?
Either way, William aims to get that money. His salvo at the close of the video? “I’m going to sue the tail off him.”