Macmillan Cancer Support has come under fire for using the #IceBucketChallenge to help raise funds for its own charity.
The organic and unplanned campaign has swept across the internet in the last few weeks, tasking its participants with enduring a bucket of freezing water poured on their heads.
One of the earlier people to do it, a golfer named Chris Kennedy, was the first to bring the ALS Association into the mix as his wife’s cousin suffers from it.
This simple dare led to thousands of subsequent people also using the ALS term (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or motor neurone disease, as commonly known in the UK) and has raised $62.5million (£37.7million) for the US association, as well as £250,000 for its UK equivalent, the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA).
In pictures: The famous do the ice bucket challenge
In pictures: The famous do the ice bucket challenge
1/16 Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga managed to keep an admirably straight face as she poured what looked like a solid silver bowl of cold water over herself
2/16 Homer Simpson
Fans were overjoyed when their favourite yellow cartoon character got involved in the campaign to raise money to help those suffering from ALS. As per usual with Homer Simpson, things escalated quickly
3/16 Reece Witherspoon
One of those who have arrived slightly late on the scene, actress Reece Witherspoon looks nervous but resolute as she has a bucket of ice-cold water chucked over her head
4/16 Lily Allen
Lily wore a bikini as she self-administered her bucket of icy water. She thanked Jess Glynne for the nomination, and passed the challenge onto Mark Ronson, Millie Mackintosh and rapper Giggs
5/16 Daisy Lowe
Celebrity ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos seem to be coming in faster than we can watch them - model Daisy Lowe is one of the most recent to get involved. She was nominated by Sun journalist Dan Wooton, and passed it on to radio presenter Nick Grimshaw and Abbey Clancy
6/16 Bill Gates
One of the first to go viral on YouTube, Bill Gates had freezing water tipped over him in a bid to raise millions of dollars to fight the illness ALS
7/16 George W. Bush
It felt like quite an important moment when the former President of the United States accepted nominations from his daughter Jenna Bush Hager, golfing champion Rory McIlroy, Woody Johnson, and Jim Harbaugh. He nominated 'my friend Bill Clinton'
8/16 Jimmy Fallon
In an official letter this week, the ALS Association said: 'Never before have been in a better position to fuel our fight against this disease.'
NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
9/16 Tom Hiddleston
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis affects the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons degenerate and die which makes it increasingly difficult to move muscles
10/16 Rita Ora
There is no known cause of ALS, though there is a proven hereditary factor in some cases
11/16 Taylor Swift
There is also no known cure, though the millions being raised by the ALS association will go towards researching these great unknowns
12/16 Oprah Winfrey
The illness is also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, named after the all-time great baseball player from the early 20th Century whose time at the top ended when he was stricken with the illness in 1939
13/16 Mark Zuckerberg
The Facebook founder is unarguably the master of the challenge, who – following his drenching – saunters off
14/16 Justin Bieber
Bieber's first attempt was pretty naff: he didn’t quite get it and decided not to use ice or a bucket to complete the challenge. Obviously, the internet moaned at him and he was brilliantly peer pressured into having another go
15/16 Justin Timberlake
Celebrities have been nominating one another to do the challenge
16/16 Christiano Ronaldo and Marcelo
The challenge is now making its way over to this side of the Atlantic, former Manchester United players Paul Scholes and Gary Neville both doused themselves in cold water for a terminally ill fan
It has also led to eminent public figures carrying out the challenge and nominating others, including Bill Gates, David Beckham, Mark Zuckerberg and Oprah Winfrey.
However, though some people used the challenge to promote or donate to their own favoured charities, one particular organisation has been accused of “hijacking” it for its own means
Video: Celebrities take on the ice bucket challenge
As the challenge’s popularity skyrocketed, Macmillan asked people to do the Ice Bucket Challenge before filming it, posting it online and then donating £3 to its cause “by sending ICE to 70550”. (The Motor Neurone Disease Association can also be donated to by texting ICED55 £5 - or any amount - to 70070).
Even though I appreciate macmillan cancer trust and what it does for people. I still don't think it's okay to jump on the bandwagon...; Bethan Mary Leadley (@musicalbethan) August 23, 2014
It has reportedly received donations over £250,000 – enough to fund six Macmillan nurses – as a result of the challenge, according to Civil Society.
A number of people, including current Macmillan supporters, have criticised the charity for jumping on the bandwagon and “taking away the awareness” of ALS.
“Really unimpressed that you hijacked the ice bucket challenge from mnda [Motor Neurone Disease Association] in the UK. They need awareness far more than you,” one said on Twitter.
There have also been calls for Macmillan to “let someone else have their day” and to “get [their] own fundraising ideas”.
One Facebook user told the charity: “I’m really dissapointed [sic] in your charity, I pay a monthly donation to what is I believe a good cause, helping people suffering with cancer, but im seriously considering withdrawing my donation and changing it to MND/AlS because of your taking away their awareness.”
While another wrote: “Why couldn't you just let ALS have their chance to raise funds? Why did you have to steal the idea from a charity which doesn't have the profile that you have? Why not let the little guys have a chance? Why not think of your own idea?”
A spokesperson from the MNDA has also reportedly condemned the move.
“Of course we’re both trying to fund cures for diseases, but we’re much smaller. We’d rather a big charity didn’t come swooping in and take our funding away. We don’t have the resources that they do,” an insider said, according to The Times.
Others have leapt to the defence of Macmillan, arguing that many people are doing it for different types of charities not just ALS, with one person saying: “It’s NOT a competition between 2 charities, donate to both or the one that your heart and head says”.
Macmillan posted an explainer on its website on Thursday, detailing and defending to some extent its decision to utilise the challenge for itself.
Head of Digital, Amanda Neylon, said that it was trying to be more responsive to social trends after failing to exploit #NoMakeupSelfie earlier this year, which ended up raising £8million for Cancer Research within six days.
“We’re trying to be bolder, we’re listening to what’s going on all over the world, and we’re responding more quickly than we have in the past. We’re trying new things so that we can keep moving forward as an organisation,” she added in the blog post.
Ms Neylon said the team were delighted people were fundraising and that they had noticed as far back as July that people were doing the #IceBucketChallenge for Macmillan as well as other charities. But seeing as nobody owns the campaign, they were able to use it themselves.