In one of the strangest government-produced videos I have ever seen, a video that was hosted on the official YouTube channel of Denmark’s parliament uses sex and violence to encourage young people to vote in the upcoming European elections.
Here’s a summary of the cartoon video: It begins with two young men discussing the elections. One of them says he isn’t going to vote, and Voteman (clever!), our beefy, leather & sunglasses wearing hero, promptly rips his head off. Voteman is then seen in bed with five naked women, one of whom is performing a sex act. The phone rings, and Voteman springs to action, punching all of the women out of the bed. Riding a jetski of two dolphins, Voteman rides out of his lair (yes, lair) and has a flashback on forgetting to vote in a European parliamentary election. He then begins taking stars off of the European Union flag and using them as ninja stars on lazy citizens, causing mortal wounds, complete with blood. Next, he runs into the room of two people having sex, lifts up the bed, and throws it out the window. Then he punches an unsuspecting man into a voting booth. Then he does it again. Then he does it again, only this time, he headbutts a woman. He does this another four or five times before freaking out and punching the camera. “VOTE MAY 25” appears on screen.
What in the world………
Originally, Parliament members defended the video, but it was eventually taken down. Mogens Lykketoft, the Speaker of the Parliament, apologized: “Many people whose opinions I deeply respect have perceived the cartoon from the EU information centre as far more serious and offensive than it was intended, and believe it talks down to young people. I acknowledge that in the future Folketinget as an institution has to show more caution in terms of what we put our name to.”
Anders Samuelsen, a Member of Parliament with the Liberal Alliance Party, summed it up pretty nicely: “I can’t understand that you would use violence against women, porn, and the handout of I don’t know how many slaps as an argument for people to go and vote.”
The lesson: If you want to increase voter turnout, don’t make a video that features sex and violence. Glad we cleared that up.