Wednesday, September 7, 2011
"Slavery - The game" is a PR stunt: official statement Dutch public broadcaster NTR
Hilversum, September 7, 2011 – It turns out that the highly controversial game trailer ‘Slavery – The Game’, that was launched September 1st, is in fact a viral.
The trailer shows how gamers may trade slaves, conquer countries and even choose their means of torture and their personal burning marks. It was revealed today that the notorious trailer is fictional. The purpose of the trailer is firstly to confront people with an important, but often-neglected part of history. Secondly, the trailer aims to increase awareness about the existence of present-day slavery.
From Sunday September 18 onwards, Dutch public broadcaster NTR brings a TV series called ‘De Slavernij’ (‘Slavery’ in Dutch). This explicit TV series shows both the obscure past as well as the present situation considering slavery.
Indignation and Discussion
The fictional trailer is a creation of Javelin Reds, which is an anagram for ‘De Slavernij’, Dutch for ‘slavery’. The trailer shows how players could ‘get to work’. It shows scenes from the illusory game, in which players could choose weapons to torture their slaves, burning marks to brand them, and how they could trade their slaves internationally. "It was by no means our intention to hurt people with the trailer. We chose this approach to create maximum awareness for slavery in general. Not just for the history of slavery, but also for slavery that still exists today", states Carla Boos, editor in chief of public broadcaster NTR.
Many people from around the world reacted with vigorous indignation to the game trailer and the short film spurred spirited discussions on online platforms. Right from the moment of its seeding on September 1st, the trailer spread like wild fire across the Internet; social media, blogs, websites…it was even mentioned on international radio and television. The video has been watched for over 400.000 times on YouTube and hundreds of websites and blogs wrote about the disputable topic. “It is a good thing to see a trailer like this leads to this amount of controversy. It really shows how people are still truly concerned about slavery”, states Carla Boos.
Street interviews show that the Dutch are not fully aware of their national history considering slavery. Also, they lack of knowledge about the current worldwide status quo on the topic. Therefore the aim of the viral was to call attention to the European share in the worldwide history of slavery. Secondly, to emphasize that slavery still exists today. Around the world, about 27 million people are exploited as slaves. Even in countries like The Netherlands modern slavery still subsists.
The television series: ‘De Slavernij’
NTR’s ‘De Slavernij’ is a historical TV series that shows perhaps the most obscure and concealed part of history: the European and Dutch involvement in trans-Atlantic slavery. In five episodes, Dutch presenters Daphne Bunskoek and Roué Verveer guide the viewer through dark past (and present) times. Bunskoek draws the greater international picture on slavery, while Verveer (of Surinam origin himself) tells a very personal tale. He even goes after his own roots in connection to slavery. The TV series depict slavery from the standpoint of ordinary people. It builds on personal records, diaries, past documents and conversations with survivors. ‘De Slavernij’ is aired every Sunday from September 18th onwards, on Nederland 2 (Dutch national TV) at 20.10h, local time.
Alongside these series, a ‘children’s version’ of the historical series will be aired: ‘De Slavernij Junior’ is presented by Lisa Wade. The children’s series show the past and present of slavery, child labour in present-day slavery as it still exists in for example Benin or Bangladesh. ‘De Slavernij Junior’ airs every Sunday from September 18th, on Dutch childrenchannel Z@PP, 18.15h local time. On www.deslavernij.nl children can partake in an educational game in which they can learn about contemporary slavery.
NTR is a public broadcaster that focuses on information, culture and education.
See press release:
Typical Dutch, the more offense the better.