An entrepreneur told his TikTok audience that he hires workers in Pakistan and pays them $4 per hour.
He faced outrage across social media as some people labeled the practice exploitative.
Following criticism, he has doubled down, saying people are asking to work for him.
An online business creator has caused controversy after telling people he pays some employees $4 an hour.
Christian Bonnier is a 23-year-old entrepreneur who posts content on YouTube, TikTok, and X (formerly known as Twitter) sharing his takes on business and work and promoting a $497 masterclass about starting a cold-emailing agency.
In a TikTok video, which was posted on July 23, Bonnier told viewers that he pays some employees $4 per hour, and that they are "extremely grateful" to be working for him.
It's unclear how many employees he was talking about, but he gave just one example: a virtual assistant based in Pakistan to complete administrative tasks such as formatting spreadsheets and setting up email accounts.
"With the four bucks per hour they're getting from me, they get 160 bucks per week, or 640 bucks per month, which is almost three times the average income over there. A really great living for them, they live very, very well," he said. "If they do really great work for me, I can raise their pay to $5, $6, or even $7 per hour, which is four, five, or six times the average monthly income of a typical person in Pakistan."
It is unclear what Bonnier is basing this calculation on, but in June 2021, the average monthly earnings in Pakistan were estimated to be $150 according to reports by CEIC, an organization that curates economic, industry, and financial data. Bonnier also said he has US employees who make more — the federal minimum hourly wage in the US is $7.25, although in many states it's higher.
The video has received over 380,000 views on TikTok, and has sparked controversy about whether the practice is fair. While some agreed with his point of view, many people accused the TikToker of taking advantage of the workers.
The debate blew up further when it hit X a few weeks later. Joshua P. Hill, who writes a political newsletter, posted the TikTok video to his 277,000 followers on September 16, captioning it, "Capitalism is evil."
—Stop Cop City (@JoshuaPHilll) September 16, 2023
His post was viewed over 3 million times and received over 30,000 likes. In hundreds of replies, many people criticized the entrepreneur.
One person wrote that the video made them "nauseous," while another questioned whether it was satire. Bonnier responded to the post, doubling down on his stance and inviting people to debate the topic with him.
—Christian (@cbwritescopy) September 18, 2023
He also replied with a screenshot that appeared to show one person asking if they could work for him for $4 per hour, and another telling him that they lived in Kenya and that earning $3 per hour would allow them to pay their school fees for the semester in two weeks.
—Christian (@cbwritescopy) September 17, 2023
In a TikTok video posted two days later, Bonnier said that being anti-capitalist is a way to "cope with not being satisfied in life," although he didn't specify what this was in reference to. In another follow-up TikTok posted on September 19, he said he had increased a Pakistani employee's salary to $5 an hour.
While many online marketers recommend that people hire virtual assistants based in other countries as a way to save time and money and grow their businesses, the practice is controversial. Many people have mixed feelings when it comes to the ethics of hiring virtual assistants and paying them low wages, and believe that the practice is exploitative, Insider previously reported.
This isn't the first time Bonnier has shared controversial opinions online. In one TikTok video posted on September 16, he said that women are not meant to work more than 20 hours per week and that they should be "frolicking around at a farmer's market," going to pilates classes, doing yoga, and taking care of the house and the kids.
In another video posted on September 19, Bonnier was very critical of American food, and he told viewers that he thinks it is "literally poison."
Bonnier has said that he runs two "seven-figure marketing agencies." His YouTube channel featuring business tips has 2,700 subscribers, and his TikTok account has just under 9,000 followers. On X, he has over 22,000 followers.
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