The ongoing saga of Tessica Brown and her unfortunate Gorilla Glue hair treatment has been one of the biggest viral stories of the year so far. Sadly, some online have taken Brown’s plight as a challenge instead of a cautionary tale. The unfortunate result? The Gorilla Glue challenge.
How It Began
For those who aren’t caught up, it all started in early February when Brown took to TikTok to share her unique predicament. Weeks earlier, Brown had run out of Got2b Glued hair spray and decided to improvise. Unfortunately, her choice of substitute was the super-strong adhesive known as Gorilla Glue.
“My hair, it don’t move,” a visibly distraught Brown said in the viral video. “You hear what I’m telling you? It don’t move.”
In the days to come, Brown would share updates documenting her attempts to wash the glue out of her hair. The manufacturer even chimed in with suggestions to use soapy water and rubbing alcohol. However, Brown ended up requiring expensive surgery to remove the adhesive — which a doctor in Los Angeles generously performed pro bono early the week of February 7.
While the incident led to plenty of online ridicule for Brown, many also rallied around her in her time of need. A GoFundMe campaign started by Brown to raise money for medical expenses far exceeded its $1,500 goal, having currently raised over $22,000.
Celebrities like Chance the Rapper also chimed in with messages of support for the 40-year-old mother.
“When I watched the video the second time it was hard to laugh cause I could tell shorty genuinely didn’t know she had put one of the world’s most powerful adhesives in her sh*t,” tweeted the hip-hop star. “I hope she recovers well.”
Dangerous Trend Is Born
At least one social media user, however, has taken the completely wrong lesson from Brown’s struggles.
“I thought she was just playing around, I didn’t think it was that serious, that Gorilla Glue would really do all that, you know?” Len Martin told Fox 8 news.
The Louisiana native found out the hard way that Brown wasn’t playing around when, inspired by her story, he decided to try a Gorilla Glue challenge of his own. For some reason, Martin even decided to up the ante by gluing a Solo cup directly to his lip.
“I thought that I could lick it off, you know, put moisture on it and it would come right off, but that didn’t work,” Martin recounted.
Emergency room doctors were able to separate Martin’s lip from the cup, but not easily.
“My upper skin from my lip — basically all of that’s been torn off,” he said.
This isn’t Martin’s first brush with viral challenge infamy. Last year, the 36-year-old joined many others in participating in the “ice cream challenge.” That disturbing trend involved licking the inside of a quart of ice cream before placing it back on a store shelf — and earned Martin charges of unlawful posting of criminal activity and criminal mischief.
This time, however, Martin acknowledges he may have gone too far in pursuit of viral fame.
“I don’t want to be sitting up here like this,” he said, gesturing toward his mouth. “You’ve got Valentine’s Day coming up — I can’t even kiss my old lady. That’s not what I’m trying to do.”
As for the viral potential of his newest challenge, Martin said he hoped others would learn from his mistake.
“This is definitely one not to try,” he said. “Let’s just stop this now, it’s over with, let’s act like it never started. It’s very harmful, and could hurt a lot of people.”