Ice bucket challenge issued to Buffett, Gates: Will they do it?

Caelainn Barr
Bloomberg News

An Ice Bucket Challenge has been issued to Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos. Will they take it?

Business leaders from Mark Zuckerberg to Microsoft Corp.’s Satya Nadella have joined the social-media craze and dumped a bucket of ice-cold water over themselves to help increase awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Even Martha Stewart got her hair wet.

“Oh man, oh my god that is cold!” Nadella said before challenging Bezos and Google Inc.’s Larry Page.

The Ice Bucket Challenge was started a few weeks ago by the family of 29-year-old Pete Frates, a former Division 1 baseball player who was diagnosed with ALS two years ago. The premise is simple: our ice water on your head, post the video on social media and call out someone else to accept the challenge within 24 hours or donate to an ALS organization.

It went viral, raising $7.6 million in donations to the ALS Association since July 29.

Microsoft co-founder Gates got roped in by Facebook Inc.’s Zuckerberg, who accepted the challenge from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

“That was really cold,” Zuckerberg said. Besides Gates, he challenged his chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, and Netflix Inc. CEO Reed Hastings, asking them to “do this within the next 24 hours or donate $100.”

Martha Stewart, the lifestyle businesswoman, took the challenge — in a hair salon — pouring a white bucket of ice over her head.

“I’m about to get my hair done, so what the heck, it doesn’t matter if I pour a bucket of ice over my head,” she said. Stewart asked “three domestic goddesses” to take up the challenge: Gwyneth Paltrow, Blake Lively and Ellen DeGeneres.

Chief executives have now jumped in, looping in billionaires and fellow business leaders.

CNBC journalist Carl Quintanilla has nominated Bezos, Buffett and John Legere, the CEO of T-Mobile USA Inc. Legere, a self-styled rebel who routinely wears a hot-pink T-shirt to promote his wireless carrier’s brand, got doused by six buckets of water by employees wearing pink T-shirts. He called on his rivals: Lowell McAdam at Verizon Communications Inc., Randall Stephenson at AT&T Inc., and Marcelo Claure, the new head of Sprint Corp.

And the list goes on. No word yet as to whether Buffett will get wet.