Remember that “I Pledge” video produced by Oprah Winfrey’s production company after President Obama took office in 2009?
It features a gaggle of celebrities telling viewers all the good they promise to do for humanity. But toward the end, it drifts into a pledge of support for Obama — the kind of rhetoric that befits a political convention spot as opposed to a public service message.
Red Hot Chili Peppers lead singer Anthony Kiedis says, “I pledge to be of service to Barack Obama,” kissing his biceps in the process.
After a number of other celebs staring invoking their intentions to “be the change” (sound familiar?), Demi Moore finishes things by saying, “I pledge to be a servant to our president.”
For some reason the Hudson (Wis.) School District unearthed the “I Pledge” video for its middle school’s Peace One Day event a few days back, and a number parents in attendance were outraged.
District and school officials made a quick backpedal, apologizing to those offended by the video, reports KMSP-TV.
“The reason the video was used was to show students small ways to make a difference in their communities,” the district wrote in its apology. “Unfortunately, the video also had a political slant. The district is non-partisan and does not endorse the political messages found in this video. This video will not be used in the district again.”
Middle School Principal Dan Koch this announcement to students Thursday afternoon:
“The ‘I Pledge’ video we viewed yesterday included some messages about serving President Barack Obama. We apologize for any part of the video that was offensive to students, their families and staff. The video conveyed a message that people serve the presidency when in fact our elected officials serve the people. We respect the Office of the President of the United States but like all of our other elected officials, that office serves each of us as well. I sincerely hope that as participants in Wednesday’s event what you took away from the experience was to choose to make a difference in your world.”
The district wouldn’t disclose whose idea it was to show the “I Pledge” video to students, KMSP reports, but people on the streets weren’t thrilled by offering the video’s message to middle schoolers.
“It looks a little 1940s Germany,” says one interviewee, who agrees that its essentially propaganda. Another adds, “It doesn’t seem right.”
Peace One Day was started by filmmaker Jeremy Gilley in 1999 as “an annual day of global unity, a day of intercultural cooperation on a scale that humanity has never known.”
Here’s the report from KMSP:
For a walk down memory lane, here’s a look at the original “I Pledge” video (it shifts to pro-Obama chatter at about the 3:15 mark):
(H/T: BizPac Review)