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EU kills Kill Bill-style video over racism complaints

By Richard Allen Greene and Laura Perez Maestro, CNN
updated 9:33 AM EST, Thu March 8, 2012
  • A white woman in a yellow track suit is menaced by non-white men in the clip
  • She replicates herself and surrounds them, bringing peace
  • Critics say it sends a message of white supremacy
  • The EU apologizes and pulls it after days spending 248,500 euros on it

London (CNN) -- Somewhere, Quentin Tarantino is laughing hysterically.

Trying to riff on one of the bad-boy movie director's iconic characters, the European Union has landed itself in a whole mess of trouble.

The 27-nation bloc released a video last week trying to promote an anti-racist message, then pulled it days later amid accusations that the clip itself was racist.

It features a white woman wearing a yellow track suit, like that of the Uma Thurman character The Bride in Tarantino's two-part kung-fu fest "Kill Bill."

Standing alone in an abandoned train station, she is threatened first by an east Asian karate master, then a scimitar-wielding turbaned Arab, and finally a bare-chested, dreadlocked black man.

She calmly duplicates herself 11 times and surrounds her three attackers, prompting them to stop threatening her and sit cross-legged as the 12 track-suited white women do the same. The entire scene then morphs into the European Union flag, her track suits becoming the flag's 12 yellow stars.

The 127,000-euro ($167,000) ad prompted head-smacking from critics as it spread across 7,000 websites starting on Friday.

"So the message´╗┐ of this video is: no other race can challenge 'white supremacy'?" was the most popular comment on the video on YouTube.

But EU spokesman Peter Stano said the video was "absolutely not intended to be racist and we obviously regret that it has been perceived in this way by some people," and apologized "to anyone who may have felt offended."

The clip was aimed at 16-to-24-year-olds "who understand the plots and themes of martial arts films and video games" and featured "typical characters for the martial arts genre," he said.

"It started with demonstration of their skills and ended with all characters showing their mutual respect, concluding in a position of peace and harmony," Stano said.

The EU spent 121,500 euros ($160,500) distributing the ad, which was made by the Mostra agency, Stano said.

That's a total cost of nearly a quarter of a million euros for a clip which -- like Tarantino's Bill -- got killed.

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