The European Commission has withdrawn a video promoting EU enlargement after accusations that it was racist, the BBC reports.
The video, called ‘Growing Together’, shows a white woman dressed in a yellow jumpsuit being threatened in an abandoned warehouse by three ethnic minority men: a Chinese-looking man doing kung fu, an Indian-looking man wielding a sword and practicing kalaripayattu (a martial art that originated in south India), and a black man who menaces her in the style of capoeira (a Brazilian martial art).
But after gazing calmly at the trio, the woman multiples herself 12 times and surrounds the three men, following which the men drop their weapons and they all sit down cross-legged as the woman turns into the 12 stars on the EU flag. The video ends with the slogan “The more we are, the stronger we are”.
In a statement, Stefano Sannino, Director General of Enlargement for the European Commission, said that while feedback from the target audience of 16 to 24 year olds “who understand the plots and themes of martial arts films and video games” had been positive, it was pulling the video owing to concerns about its message. “We apologise to anyone who may have felt offended. Given these controversies, we have decided to stop the campaign immediately and to withdraw the video,” he said.
Independent think-tank Open Europe questioned whether viral videos were the way to go for the EU. “It is strange because normally there is something of the ‘Kum Ba Yah’ about the commission. But it has produced a video which shows a white female being threatened by foreign men with weapons. This is in dubious taste and judgment,” Raoul Ruparel of Open Europe told the Guardian.
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