He interrupts couples having sex and throws people into voting booths. He has a terrible mustache and even worse teeth. He is Voteman, and, for whatever reason, Danish parliamentary officials thought he was the perfect mascot for the country’s get-out-the-vote campaign ahead of European parliamentary elections. He’s probably the world’s first get-out-the-vote mascot to be introduced to his audience while receiving fellatio from a handful of voluptuous women.
In a NSFW video released earlier this week, the people of Denmark received their first introduction to Voteman and his turbulent life story. As a young man, he forgot to vote in European Union parliamentary elections — robbing him of a chance to weigh in on hot-button issues like agricultural subsidies — and ever since he has dedicated his life to ensuring that people go to the polls. He typically does so via random acts of violence, including, but not limited to, randomly beheading Danes, throwing couples who are having sex through their bedroom windows, and punching passersby in the mouth.
It’s difficult to do justice to the video, which also features Voteman cruising into action while strapped to the blowholes of a pair of dolphins. (Depending on how permissive your workplace is on the subject of animated nudity, it’s probably not safe for the office).
Alas, we barely got to know Voteman before his time with us came to an end. On Tuesday, the Danish parliament pulled the video after coming under a halestorm of criticism for a video many viewed as disrespectful of women. "Many whose opinions I deeply respect took the E.U. information cartoon as more serious and offensive than it was meant," Morgen Lykketoft, the speaker of Folketinget, the Danish parliament, said. "I recognize that parliament as an institution shall be more circumspect about what we put our name to."
Just a day earlier Lykketoft had defended the video as a harmless, well-intentioned effort to get out the youth vote: "We are trying to inspire the very young to go out and vote. It is important we get a higher turnout, especially among the young. You have to use all sorts of methods."
Voteman, the world just wasn’t ready for you. But we’ll never forget you.
Joshua Keating is associate editor at Foreign Policy and the editor of the Passport blog. He has worked as a researcher, editorial assistant, and deputy Web editor since joining the FP staff in 2007. In addition to being featured in Foreign Policy, his writing has been published by the Washington Post, Newsweek International, Radio Prague, the Center for Defense Information, and Romania's Adevarul newspaper. He has appeared as a commentator on CNN International, C-Span, ABC News, Al Jazeera, NPR, BBC radio, and others. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he studied comparative politics at Oberlin College.| Passport |