British MP quits social media advisory role over Hitler video parody

Summary:British MP Tom Harris has 'resigned' from his social media position with the UK's opposition, after his own satirical version of popular 2004 film 'Downfall' was met with controversy.

Let's face it. Downfall is one of the most powerful, emotion stirring films the world has ever seen. It also happens to be one of, if not the most parodied films in existence.

A subtitled contemporary film about the end of World War II, it was made even more popular by users splicing in their own commentary to make 'Hitler' effectively say whatever they like.

That's exactly what one British politician did. Tom Harris MP resigned from his position as no other than social media advisor to Labour, the UK's opposition party.

Because that's exactly what a film portraying Hitler needs: humour.

But the hapless politician was forced to stand down from his role after he uploaded a film that portrayed the First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond as the doomed dictator.

The short clip, named "Joan's Downfall", follows a row after one Scottish politician claimed that the opposition parties, Labour and the Liberal Democrats, were "anti-Scottish".

Salmond, who effectively controls Scotland's devolved parliament, is planning to hold a referendum in late 2014 to ask the Scottish people whether or not the country should become its own independent state away from the United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

But for the very fact that he was the UK opposition's social media and web advisory tsar makes the whole thing scream of irony.

Twitter went crazy for it, and only spurred on the video's popularity, which helped the politician raise over 13,000 views in less than a day. He even took to his own Twitter account to defend himself to others. Arguably, that could be a good social media strategy if you weren't already in the bad-books with your effective employer.

Although the film snippet is often use to rip into others, including news items by members of the public, he said that, "context is everything" and that his "actions have been an unhelpful distraction" and apologised.

It just goes to show that even politicians can sometimes act without thinking of the consequences first.

Image source: YouTube.

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Topics: Social Enterprise

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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