In mid-November, a 35-year-old Florida woman was sentenced to 15 days in prison for assaulting U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz at a campaign event in June. Amanda Kondrat'yev pleaded guilty to the charge, and admitted that yes, she did throw a red slushie at Gaetz as he left the Brew Ha Ha restaurant.
Gaetz attended Kondrat'yev's hearing, and gave a statement asking the judge to send her to prison for dousing his shirt sleeve with a frozen drink. "Only incarceration allows me to reinforce to my supporters and opponents alike that Free Speech is welcomed—but assault will not be tolerated," he said. In addition to the 15-day stint in prison, Kondrat'yev will also have to serve one year of supervised probation and pay a $500 fine.
Although Kondrat'yev's weapon of choice was dairy-free, there's a good chance that she was inspired by the efforts of Danyaal Mahmud, the 23-year-old British man who has been credited, for better or for worse, with starting the trend of "milkshaking" shitty politicians.
In May, Mahmud was caught on camera as he covered far-right anti-Islam activist Tommy Robinson with a milkshake. It was the second time that Robinson had been milkshaked that week, but the first milkshaking didn't have the impact of Mahmud's point-blank version. (At the time, Mahmud said the drink "slipped out of [his] hand.")
"At first I was like: wow, I’m actually standing in front of this guy,” Mahmud told The Guardian. “But then, after it sank in, when he started with his racist, abusive comments and threatening behavior, the rest obviously was all on the news—and all over Facebook and Instagram and social media … It was a massive thing."
The milkshaking was a massive thing too, as other politicians were either 'shaked or so terrified of flying frozen beverages that they changed their plans. Brexit party leader Nigel Farage was hit with a banana and salted caramel milkshake and, several days later, when his team saw three men wearing balaclavas and carrying milkshakes, they led him back to his bus and made him stay there.
"Eventually he did come off but he only stepped about a meter away and chatted to some supporters," KentLive reported. "He got back on the bus very quickly. In all the other places he stopped off and walked down the high street."
Other milkshakings followed: A Trump supporter took one to the face while protesting a protest to the President's visit to Britain. Far-right politicians in Ireland were doused. And fast food restaurants that were located near political rallies or campaign events were encouraged to temporarily suspend their milkshake sales.
But as milkshaking became A Thing, Mahmud didn't quite know how to respond—not to the phenomenon, and not to the attention it brought him. "I had people coming over to me, taking selfies wherever I went. I was getting thousands of messages, literally thousands. I’ve still not read through them all," he said. Dessert bars was offering me to come over, saying: ‘Have a dessert on us and do promotions for us,’ and stuff like that. People were offering me limousines, car-hiring firms were saying: ‘Come hire a car from us for free.’”
He told The Guardian that if he could do it all over again, he's not sure he would've dumped that now-infamous milkshake all over Robinson.
Back in the United States, Kondrat'yev's prison sentence was scheduled to begin on December 2, which means that she has several more days to go. Her Twitter bio still reads "Matt Gaetz thinks cups are deadly weapons but guns are cool for school," a statement that is punctuated with an eye-roll emoji… and a cup with a straw.