Celebrity Ice Bucket Challenges Are Completely Missing the Point

celebrity ice bucket challenge
It's a strange day when I find myself nodding at the wisdom of former Jackass star Steve-O, but I'm completely on board with his recent post about celebrity ice bucket challenge videos. He first shared a clip of himself carrying out the now-familiar act of dousing himself in freezing water, then asked, "I'm all about helping causes, but did this raise any awareness at all?”

He went on to post a statement on Facebook decrying celebrities for not doing more to create awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. While Steve-O's opinion isn't likely to be a popular one, I see exactly where he's coming from -- and I agree more money could have been raised if so many celebrities hadn't turned their participation in the #ALSIceBucketChallenge into personal vanity projects.

Steve-O wrote,

When you consider the countless A-list celebrities who have actively gotten behind this cause by posting videos—the fact that not more than fifteen million dollars has been raised is a tragedy ... most of them just poured water over their heads and named three random people. Had all those celebrities given this cause any thought, hundreds of millions of dollars might have been raised, and a whole lot more awareness.

I'll go one further and suggest that most celebrities aren't just naming three random people -- they're angling for more press by name-dropping other celebs. Like 50 Cent calling out/taunting Floyd Mayweather in his video (oh no he di'n't!), or Gwyneth Paltrow challenging her ex Chris Martin (aww, their conscious uncoupling is so friendly). You've got celebs making headlines for their wet T-shirts, bikinis, or post-challenge nakedness, you've got Lady Gaga who of course had to make her video super weird and vaguely creepy.

Most celebrities aren't posting a thing about ALS or even providing links to donate. So I can absolutely see what Steve-O means when he says that opportunities have been wasted.

Still, who could have possibly predicted that this challenge would go as viral as it did? Regardless of whether most celebrities truly have good intentions or they're just jumping on a bandwagon in order to score some free promotion, the bottom line is that millions have been raised, and that's a good thing. A spokeswoman with the ALS Association points out,

Only about half of Americans two weeks ago even knew what ALS was, and now we have an incredible amount of celebrities saying ‘ALS’ and raising awareness. And the monetary contributions are absolutely amazing.

Anthony Carbajal, an ALS patient, shared a heartbreaking video in which he said of the challenge,

This is the first successful advocacy [ALS has] ever really ... had and I’m so, so, so grateful. You have no idea how every single challenge makes me feel, lifts my spirits, lifts every single ALS patient’s spirits. You’re really, truly making a difference.

So maybe it doesn't matter if by and large, celebrities' challenge videos are self-serving. Still, it would be nice to see more A-listers following in actor Zachary Levi's footsteps, and devoting at least part of their oh-so-viral video to talking about why it's important to donate.

What do you think of the growing trend of celebrity ice bucket challenges? Do you agree with Steve-O at all?

Image via YouTube



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nonmember avatar Kristi

I agree. Am I missing something? Wasn't the challenge to have an ice bath OR donate? NO ONE should be ice dumping!! Like I said, unless I missed something.....

nonmember avatar Erica

I donated as well as doing the challenge. Why not?? It's a fun way to get the word out, and why not have a chance to be silly and raise awareness??? Calm down and be happy that people are finally taking notice.

gilesl15 gilesl15

If people actually checked the website, you'll find out that because of the ice challenge, the ALS foundation has raised 31.5 million dollars as opposed to the 1.9 million they raised last year. So yes, there is a point.

Prett... PrettyWings29

Kristi, I agree! I don't understand why people need to film themselves being iced...it's like "Hey, I didn't donate and I'm sad about that, so watch me put a bucket of ice water over my head to make me look like less of an a-hole!" 

balan... balancing-act

Kristi the original message was to accept a challenge of doing the ice water dump and donate $10 or decline and donate $100. So money should be donated either way. It would be even better if people with celebrity level income would make an even larger donation!

nonmember avatar HJ

Actually the challenge is, donate $100 and don't do the ice bucket or do the ice bucket and donate $10. So either way your supposed to donate, but a lot of people keep missing that point and thinking that the ice bucket gets them out of donating. I do wish all celebrities would say something about how and why to donate.

nonmember avatar krystian

I'm missing the point.

I'm so glad I've not been nominated, I refuse to do it even if I do get nominated. I do not have an extra 10 bucks laying around. Nor do I have an extra 100.

I'll be saving my time for when Sept hits so I can donate to childhood cancer research.....the lowest funded research program that kills more children a day then any other diseases

youth... youthfulsoul

I have heard celebs are donating, so who's really to say.

nonmember avatar Erica


Why are you so negative? Don't put one charity in front of the other. Everyone should donate and volunteer, don't put people down because they're able to donate.

nonmember avatar Abby

Charlie Sheen was nominated and dumped a bucket on his head but it was full of money he was going to donate. He said "ice will melt but the money will actually help" then the celebs he nominated he asked them to match his donation. I like that.

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