A website urging Vin Diesel to run for president, purportedly set up as a joke, has unintendedly caused the action star to take up the challenge.
The satirical website, www.draftVin2008.org, asks Diesel - star of action films such as "XXX" and more recently the light comedy "The Pacifier" - to run for president in 2008 as an independent. It claims to have signatures of over 20,000 Diesel fans who support the actor's running in the contest, as well as a bio, an online store where you can purchase "Diesel Is Gonna Rock The White House" T-shirts, and a link to contribute money to the "Diesel For Prez PAC".
The misunderstanding apparently occurred some time last month when friends of Diesel alerted him to the site, without mentioning that it was purely fictitious. Shortly after the actor viewed it, Diesel's publicist released a statement saying simply that the actor was "super honoured that so many Americans want to make me their next commander-in-chief."
The site's creator, a 28-year old web design major at the University of Vermont, said he created the website purely as a joke.
Mike Preston said that he though of the idea after a friend told him about www.walken2008.com - a spoof site that claims to be the home of the official "Walken For President 2008" campaign.
When Preston, a huge Diesel fan who owns all the actor's movies, including a a rare director's cut edition DVD of "The Pacifier" that he bought on eBay recently for over $400, heard that Walken had personally looked at the "Walken 20008" site and thought it was hilarious, he figured he would jump in the ring with his own version. Preston used his web design skills to make the site look identical to the "Draft Condi Rice!" site, had a photography major friend take some background shots of a podium, and then digitally spliced Diesel's muscled frame into the photos.
"I figured why not create my own site but use Diesel instead since I'm his number one fan," he said when reached at his home near Burlington, Vermont.
Astonishingly, on Monday, Diesel went on "Entertainment Tonight" to announce that he was seriously considering entering the 2008 presidential election, either as an independent or as a third party candidate.
"If Arnold can do it, why can't I?" said Diesel. "I consider it quite an honour that over 20,000 of my fans would sign an online petition begging me to run for president. I have no choice but to run. When your country comes calling, you have to answer it. I'll see you on the campaign trail."
Diesel went on to mention how it had always been a dream of his since he was a young boy to become the president one day and said he was considering asking Chuck Norris to be his VP.
"I figured Vin would have a good laugh, maybe send me an autographed picture or something," explained Preston. "I never in a million years, though he would take the site seriously. I mean, he doesn't have the greatest acting skills ever, even I admit that. But just how dumb is he? Dude, this guy must be majorly dense or something."
According to Preston, all the people he showed the site to realized immediately that it was a joke and also told him it was quite funny. He also pointed out that it should be obvious that the site is satirical because actress Asia Argento - Diesel's co-star in the blockbuster "XXX" and an Italian citizen who lives in Italy - is featured as Diesel's possible running mate. As a foreign citizen, living in another country, she would be inelligeable to be the Vice President.
"Vin, if you're reading this, the whole thing was just a joke, big guy," said Preston. "Please don't come to my apartment and, like, kick my ass or something. Dude, I'm just really sorry. I hope you can forgive me."
Vin Diesel's publicist is refusing to comment on the matter, except to direct the media to the original press release.