Politics

08.21.14

Ice Bucket Challenge Leads to Political Trolling

From Vladimir Putin to Barack Obama to NRA chief Wayne LaPierre, political figures are getting trolled pretty hard in the name of ALS research.

The Ice Bucket Challenge—the social-media phenomenon that involves pouring freezing water over your head and body or cutting a check to ALS disease research—has already resulted in quite a bit of good. Donations have topped $41 million, and awareness has been raised by everyone from Oscar-winning film director Steven Spielberg to famous torturer and dog painter George W. Bush. The craze has even led to some authentically funny videos from the likes of Guardians of the Galaxy leading man Chris Pratt and his Parks and Recreation co-star, Nick Offerman.

And as with all cheerful, well-intentioned memes, the Challenge has provoked some good old-fashioned political trolling.

After accepting the Ice Bucket Challenge, Fast & Furious star Vin Diesel challenged First Lady Michelle Obama, actress/activist Angelina Jolie… and Crimea-annexing Russian president Vladimir Putin:

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But don’t expect Putin (who previously sang and played piano for a kids’ charity) to join in on the fun. “we’ve had other things on our agenda,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, possibly referring to such pressing issues as invading Ukraine.

“Wayne LaPierre, the head of the National Rifle Association…we do hope one day we can agree upon more than just supporting ALS and Lou Gehrig’s disease research,” Kelly said.

In another example of a celebrity failing to lure a world leader to the Challenge, universally hated pop star Justin Bieber called on President Obama—his “main man”—to dump a bucket of ice on himself in the name of charity. The president did not accept Bieber’s challenge—or anyone else’s—and instead wrote a check.

And in the name of cheekily bridging a political divide, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, called out NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre in their video.

“Wayne LaPierre, the head of the National Rifle Association…we do hope one day we can agree upon more than just supporting ALS and Lou Gehrig’s disease research,” Kelly said.

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The former congresswoman has advocated for tighter gun laws after being the victim of a near-fatal shooting in Tucson in 2011. While this has obviously put her at odds with the NRA, a spokesman for the group confirmed on Thursday that LaPierre isn’t above finding common ground.

“Wayne will be doing the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS,” the spokesman told Business Insider. “He will also be sending a check. He will do it when he returns from being on the road.”

Meanwhile, the State Department and Pentagon have, due to ethics rules, officially barred employees from participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge. And the U.S. House of Representatives, in what perhaps can be construed as a bid to keep weak-kneed lawmakers warm and dry, has prohibited members from putting ice bucket videos on their official accounts.