EU Removes Promotional Video from Its Website over Charges of Racism & Violence Against Women

Brussels, 7.3.2012 20:07, (ROMEA)

A still from the controversial video depicting men of color threatening to attack a white woman representing

A still from the controversial video depicting men of color threatening to attack a white woman representing "Europe".

The UK paper Daily Telegraph has reported that on Tuesday, 6 March, the European Commission removed a video clip promoting the EU as a creator of world piece from YouTube after viewers objected to it as racist (it is available here: http://www.romea.cz/romeatv/index.php?id=detail&source=t&vid=9E2B_yI8jrI&detail=9E2B_yI8jrI). The video reportedly cost EUR 127 000 to produce.

The video, which is clearly inspired by Quentin Tarantino's cult film "Kill Bill", shows three non-white men preparing for a martial arts tournament against a lone white woman. However, the woman then produces identical copies of herself, who encircle the men. The would-be assailants drop their weapons and the women's yellow bodysuits transform themselves into the 12 stars of the European Union flag.

The European Commission has expressed regret for the fact that the video has been perceived as racist and has apologized for it. "The clip was in no way intended as racist and we naturally regret that it was understood as such," said Director-General for Enlargement Stefano Sannino. "We apologize to everyone who may have been offended by it. Given the controversy we have decided to immediately halt the campaign and remove the video clip from circulation," he added.

Sannino said the response to the video from its intended target group of young people aged 16-24, "who understand the plots and topics of martial arts films and video games", had been positive. However, his statement also acknowledged that others had "expressed uneasiness about the message" of the clip. The Daily Telegraph reported that thousands of complaints have been made about the video in which people argue that it promotes "imperialism" and "stereotypes" instead of the EU's "neighbor policy".

The video shows a woman walking through an empty warehouse. Suddenly a man from East Asia jumps in front of her and shows off his kung-fu. Next a master of the martial art of Kalaripayattu from the southern Indian state of Kerala shows up and points his sabre at her. Next, a dark-skinned man with dreadlocks bursts in performing the Brazilian martial art of capoeira and starts doing cartwheels toward her.

The woman views the trio calmly and then multiplies into 12 identical versions of herself, who surround her would-be assailants. The men resignedly lower their weapons and sit cross-legged on the ground, as do the women. The final clip shows the women transforming into the stars on the flag of the EU, followed by the slogan "the more we are, the stronger we are".

"[The video] starts with a display of martial arts and ends with all of the characters showing one another mutual respect by sitting in a position that expresses peace and harmony," Sannino explained. "The genre was chosen in order to attract young people and increase their interest in an important part of EU policy."

The independent Open Europe institution has called the video "quite odd" at the very least. "It's half-baked, and the question remains whether money should be spent on such things and whether they can really support enlargement [of the EU]," said Open Europe analyst Raoul Ruparel. "The EU is usually politically correct overall, so this is somewhat unexpected."

Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert