I just read in my local newspaper that the american stand-up comedian/ventriloquist Jeff Dunham's famous character Achmed "the dead terrorist" is
the cause of an possible upcoming lawsuit in Sweden.
Apparently a social secretary in the small city of Borås found him funny and was sharing a youtube-link featuring Jeff Dunham and Achmed via email
with her friends. This was done during working hours.
Somehow the email of a client of hers was included and the client also recieved the link.
The client was a muslim man and he got very offended that the link was sent to him by a woman that he was relying on to get his social wellfare
Apparently he didn't find Jeff Dunham funny at all, but rather an insult on his religion of Islam.
So he demanded that the city paid him for the suffering this youtube link had caused him.
The social secretary apologized publicly and was reprimanded, but the city refused to pay the man any money, and is now facing a possible lawsuit.
This is the story in short.
My first thoughts when reading this was that he was overly sensitive.
I have watched Jeff Dunham - he is one of my favourite comedians, and I just love his Achmed character (silence! - I kill you!). I also think that you
can make jokes about almost everything.
As inappropriate as it might have been to send this to a muslim client - was it A CRIME to send a youtube link, that have passed the youtube
censorship and was considered non-offensive, to this man?
If this is the case where do we in the future draw the line between a joke and a criminal joke then?
Are you to possibly be sue'd for sharing various humorous youtube links with the wrong persons in the future?
Link to article (in swedish): www.bt.se...
Google translation of the text:
Muslim jokes got cut from the Social Secretary - denied damages
Boras today 07:35 | Updated today 07:42
The e-mail from the social worker was a link to a movie making fun of Islam.
The man who received the e-mail is a Muslim and was very upset. But Boras city would not give him damages.
The e-mail from the social worker provided a link to a YouTube clip of an American stand-up comedian and ventriloquist, inter alia, make jokes about
Islam. The message was sent to eight different people and did nothing but link.
One of the recipients was a man who is a client of the social worker and dependent on her for financial assistance. He was very upset.
When he contacted the social worker asked her to apologize and explained that the email was meant for her friends and acquaintances - the man's email
address had been with the mistake.
- It is unacceptable that a person in the municipality is located and send this kind of work, "says the man.
He believes that it is particularly serious because he knows that the social worker in his work found many Muslims.
It damages the trust in the municipality, he thinks:
- It's easy to believe that there is something under the surface, in her heart that she was prejudiced against Muslims.
A few days later he received a written apology, in which a manager within the social type that has "taken the incident very seriously" and that the
conduct "contrary to Boras town values."
The social worker also received a written warning by his employer.
The man also asked for a substantial damages from the city of Borås, citing that he felt humiliated at having received such an email from his social
- It's not about money, "says the man and explains that he wants the damages will have a deterrent effect.
- If you drive through a red light is not enough to apologize, you may also fine as a deterrent so that you can not do it again.
But Boras city has now rejected his request for damages.
- The official who sent the e-mail has acted in a very inappropriate way, there's no doubt about it. But I can not see that the violation is so
serious that there is no basis for damages, "said Rosangela Hansen, town lawyer in the city of Borås.
Your thoughts on this?