Billionaires, athletes, celebrities, politicians, rock stars, and former United States presidents have taken the Ice Bucket Challenge by pouring buckets of freezing water over their heads. Videos have gone viral on the internet to support ALS in their research for Lou Gehrig's disease. While this seems like a fun and lucrative idea, according to Politico on Thursday, some people are banned from taking the challenge.
The State Department is forbidding United States ambassadors and other high-profile foreign service officers from participating in the challenge by pledging to donate for ALS research or by recording themselves getting soaked by frigid water and posting it online and nominating others to do the same.
State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said that federal government ethics rules prevent ambassadors from using public offices for private gain, no matter how worthy the cause is. Therefore, ambassadors and high-ranking State Department officials are forbidden from participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge.
According to KRON4 News on Thursday, by the time the cable was sent at least one high-ranking diplomat, Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro, had already participated and had challenged U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power to douse herself with ice water for the cause. But by then, Power and the other ambassadors had received the memo and knew they were forbidden to do it.
A news report on Friday says the Pentagon also bans people in uniforms from participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge. Service members are banned from filming themselves in uniform taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The Pentagon's Office of General Counsel Standards of Conduct Office did not state that service members could not participate but ordered troops and Department of Defense civilians not to perform the challenge in uniform.
Before the ban was instituted some military leaders had already sent out videos of themselves taking part in the challenge. The leadership of the U.S. Naval Academy accepted the challenge filming the superintendent and commandant being doused with ice water. Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen, superintendent at West Point, also appeared in a video with staff accepting the challenge.
President Barack Obama was nominated to take the challenge by Ethel Kennedy, the widow of former Sen. Bobby Kennedy. On Facebook, the 86-year-old challenged the president to join her in the challenge by dumping a bucket of ice water on his head. President Obama participated financially by donating an undisclosed sum, but he declined to take the challenge and now we know why.
The Huffington Post reported on Saturday that the Ice Bucket Challenge has been criticized by some observers as frivolous if the real point is to raise money for research. Pamela Anderson has called for ALS to stop the challenge because the association mistreats animals for their research. Also, some people are complaining because they say it's a waste of water.
Even though some people have been banned and some people are against it, the popularity of the Ice Bucket Challenge has spread around the globe, particularly to Australia, Britain, Canada, Germany and New Zealand.