Fact Check

Did a Young Girl Hit Mike Pence in the Head with a Water Balloon?

"All those who march, including me," the victim said, "do so at their peril and are fair game."

Published July 14, 2023

Updated Aug. 8, 2023
 (Facebook / Bruce Blakerman)
Image Via Facebook / Bruce Blakerman
Claim:
A video shows former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence being hit in the head with a water balloon thrown by a young girl during an appearance in a parade.
Context

This is a video of Nassau County (New York) Executive Bruce Blakeman getting hit in the head with a water balloon. It was filmed during the 2023 Stewart Manor Parade — a Fourth of July parade long associated with water balloons.

On July 14, 2023, a video described by several users as documenting a young girl throwing a water balloon square in the back of the head of former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence went viral on social media: 

Some descriptions invented further details. "After saying he doesn't care about struggling American cities," another viral tweet read, "Mike Pence is hit by kids throwing water balloons."

Each of these tweets misidentifies the white-haired politician being soaked, as well as the context behind the tossing of the water balloon. In reality, this is a video from July 4, 2023, of Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman marching in what is known on Long Island as the Stewart Manor Fourth of July parade. The girl who tossed the balloon was later identified as 10-year-old Alexa Cardona of Franklin Square, New York.

As described by CBS New York, the tradition of tossing water balloons at parade participants goes back "nearly 20 years." The outlet reported that it "started as a way to bring everyone together, giving them a chance to interact and have fun." The 2023 parade ended, CBS reported, in an all-out water fight:

It was a splash of a time in Stewart Manor this 4th of July. Thousands lined Covert Avenue and the surrounding streets dressed in patriotic gear, armed with American flags and coolers filled with thousands of water balloons. The parade kicked off at 10:30 a.m. with marching bands and firetrucks. Then it all morphed into a massive neighborhood water fight. 

Blakeman shared the video himself to his official Facebook page on July 12, suggesting "the New York Yankees and New York Mets" might draft the girl who hit him in the head. Responding to comments on the video, Blakerman added that:

The water balloons and soaker guns are a long tradition at the Stewart Manor parade. Please do not be offended. All those who march including me, do so at their peril and are fair game. I had fun even if I got a little wet!

Because this is a video of Blakeman and not Pence, we rate these and similar claims as Miscaptioned. 

Sources

The New York Yankees and New York Mets Could Certainly Use Her! | By Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman | Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/BruceBlakemanNCExec/videos/the-new-york-yankees-and-new-york-mets-could-certainly-use-her/1372355206644027/. Accessed 14 July 2023.

Water Balloons Help Make a Splash at Annual Stewart Manor's Annual 4th of July Parade - CBS New York. 4 July 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/newyork/news/water-balloons-help-make-a-splash-at-annual-stewart-manors-annual-4th-of-july-parade/.

Updates

Aug. 8, 2023: This fact check was updated with information about the girl who tossed the water balloon.

Alex Kasprak is an investigative journalist and science writer reporting on scientific misinformation, online fraud, and financial crime.

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