Monday 23 October 2023

'Disgusting display': Adolf Hitler image shown at Michigan State football stadium for trivia question; employee suspended

 An image of Adolf Hitler was shown on a Michigan State football stadium video board as part of a trivia question prior to the Spartans' game Saturday against the University of Michigan — and an involved Michigan State employee has been suspended with pay pending an investigation, the Associated Press reported.

What are the details?

Michigan State streamed the Quiz Channel, which the AP said includes 40 questions in its latest video — including asking where Hitler was born and showing his image before displaying Austria as the answer. The prior question asks, “In Star Trek, what color was Spock’s blood?” before showing green as the answer, the AP added. 

The Quiz Channel's creator and producer said Michigan State didn’t ask for permission to use his content or pay him for it — and he defended his decision to include the question on his platform, the AP said.

“It’s an absolutely normal trivia question, shown in an inappropriate setting,” Floris van Pallandt wrote on his YouTube page, according to the outlet. “Ignoring the dark facets of history is by no means the answer, on the contrary.” 

The AP said the Quiz Channel is publicly available and free for users.

During the game — which Michigan won 49-0 — Michigan State spokesman Matt Larson apologized for the Hitler display, the outlet reported: “MSU will not be using the third-party source going forward and will implement stronger screening and approval procedures for all videoboard content in the future." 

Michigan State athletic director Alan Haller said in a statement that an "involved" employee has been suspended with pay pending the results of an investigation and added that no one in the athletics department viewed the entire video, which constitutes a systemic failure.

"I am deeply sorry for the offensive image we displayed on the Spartan Stadium video boards Saturday night," Haller added. "I apologize for the pain it has caused our community. Ultimately, it is my responsibility to make sure all those who interact with Spartan Athletics feel safe, valued and respected."

Haller added, "The image was harmful to our communities, especially our Jewish community which is currently experiencing a rise in antisemitism, including acts of violence."

In addition, he noted that MSU Athletics "is responsible for all content shown on its video boards. Before it was displayed, the video was not viewed in its entirety by anyone in athletics, exposing a failure in our process. The video was not part of a sponsorship and had no affiliation with any of our corporate partners or our community."

MSU's Board of Trustees stated Sunday that the board is "outraged at last night’s incident at Spartan Stadium. The projected image was unacceptable, and as the oversight body for MSU we want to publicly apologize to everyone who was in Spartan Stadium or learned of this through other means," the Detroit Free Press reported.

The board added that it "has spoken with Interim President Teresa Woodruff and Athletic Director Alan Haller and conveyed to them our extreme disappointment and our demand to know how this happened. MSU personnel must be accountable and held responsible for this disgusting display," the paper noted.

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