Los Angeles comedian Josh Androsky raised over $1,200 for Planned Parenthood last weekend in the name of presidential candidate Ted Cruz, who has vowed to defund the reproductive health organization if elected and even went so far as to attack the nonprofit in a recent campaign ad.
Androsky told the Daily Dot that he came up with the idea when he was blocked by the Church of Scientology on Twitter. When he posted about that, his friend Eric Ohlsen commented that he’d been trying to get himself blocked by Ted Cruz—to no avail. Ohlsen then challenged Androsky: If he could get himself blocked by Cruz, Ohlsen would donate $100 to the charity of his choice. Naturally, Androsky chose Planned Parenthood and began the arduous task of getting the Cruz campaign to block him.
He started by tweeting insults.
But when that didn’t work, he changed his tactics.
Androsky told the Daily Dot, “Ted Cruz is truly evil. Why not combat it with targeted silliness?” But his trolling morphed into something more significant when a friend, Michelle Dash, pledged to donate $100 for every day Ted Cruz didn’t block Androsky on Twitter.
Androsky discovered that you can make donations “in honor of” anything or anyone, so he began encouraging his followers to donate to Planned Parenthood in honor of Cruz.
That’s when the donations began pouring in.
Androsky’s followers have since contributed to Planned Parenthood in honor of “Ted Cruz’s habit of dropping his pants all the way to use the urinal, like he’s a little boy,” “that time Ted Cruz tried to pet a dog but it farted and he cried,” “the time Ted Cruz pouted for a week because his wife wouldn’t sleep in the garage when she was on her period,” and “that time Ted Cruz ejaculated when Donald Trump whispered in his ear.”
Androsky asks his followers to send him a screenshot every time a new donation is made—and he tweets each one at Cruz.
In a sense, it’s a more politicized, sillier version of last year’s Ice Bucket Challenge, which raised over $20 million for ALS research. Androsky has coined it “the Ted Cruz challenge (aka Ted Cruz Reaps What He Sows, aka CRUZ CONTROL 2: This Time It’s HERsonal).”
Androsky told the Daily Dot, “I think the reason this has resonated with people is because this Republican field is so cartoonish. They’re monsters and they’re dangerous, sure, but it’s so over-the-top now that it’s so easy to push it into comedy. Activism is a serious thing, but online activism in many cases is so self-serious that it gets in its own way of actually doing anything. Being another white guy who just complains or makes jokes about injustice while my life isn’t under any threat felt hollow.”
Androsky added that he used to protest and march, but that he found the majority of physical protests—aside from Black Lives Matter—are “basically parades that just lead to a drum circle and make us liberal white people feel better about ourselves without actually doing anything.”
When asked how much money he hoped to raise for Planned Parenthood, Androsky said, “My goal is to raise $2,294,642, because that spells out ‘bazinga’ on a phone keypad.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated for tone and clarity.
Photo via Marc Nozell/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)