Friday, 3 October 2008
Council Refuses To Remove Offensive Video
This article has been updated. See below.
Barnet Council has recently found a new way to waste taxpayers money by posting pointless video clips on YouTube of local residents talking about the area where they live. One such clip was posted on 29th September - the eve of the Jewish New Year.
One minute into the video, the resident says: “I know it's mainly a Jewish area so a lot of the Jewish people have got things, but for the normal British people...there is nothing really for them.”
Being Jewish and being normal are not mutually exclusive.
I e-mailed Barnet’s Communications and Consultation Director Emer Coleman explaining that whilst I realised this person was not speaking for the council, I did not think they should be promoting her views. I asked for the clip to be removed.
Mr Dominic Campbell, the council’s Social Media Manager (no, I have no idea what one of those is either) replied: “While we understand your concerns, the views expressed are those of the resident and not those of Barnet Council and as such we do not intend to take any action at this point.”
This is absolute nonsense! Are we supposed to believe that if a resident made a video clip saying “I think the Chief Executive is an overpaid waste of space and should be sacked” they would allow it to remain on the website?
Let us give this resident the benefit of the doubt and say that she was not intentionally being anti-Semitic. Indeed she would probably tell you that some of her best friends are Jewish. Rather, let us assume that she has a somewhat weak grasp of the English language and did not appreciate the meaning of what she was saying.
But the same cannot be said of Barnet Council’s highly educated officers. Is it that difficult for them to see why these remarks are offensive?
Our well beloved leader Mike Freer claims to be a good friend of the Jewish community. Let him prove it by ordering the video clip to be removed immediately and apologising for Mr Campbell’s crass insensitivity.
Update 03.10.08 (11.15 am) The council has given in to pressure and now removed the video. However, they have not offered an apology or an explanation as to how it was ever allowed to be posted.