These pics come from a Facebook contest run by the people behind the Thai version of the Japanese videogame War Emblem 2. From what I can gather, fans of the Facebook page had to like and share photos of dead Hitler around Thailand. Hitler (or a guy who looks like Hitler) is a character in the game, I think the antagonist or something. The prize for the contest was a SSamsung Galaxy Note. As you can see from the somewhat bizarre pics below, Hitler's shopping trip to Thailand was a disaster.
Hitler pops up quite a lot in Thailand, as you may have read here before. At least this time he's not on a T-shirt or anything. But still… WTF?!
This debacle comes a month after Naomi Campbell said this about a fashion industry she accused of being "guilty of racist acts":
What we are asking for is that you are based on your talent, on your beauty, not on the colour of your skin.
Ironic. Read more here.
Nika Mavrody from Fashion Post has this:
Today, Vogue Thailand shared a screenshot (below) showing Tyszka's email response to a critic of the cover. The photographer didn't respond to charges of racism directly or discuss airbrushing, claiming the effect was "a question of [lighting] + make up" and that the "pastel tones" are his standard style.
Tyszka also shared the final version of Vogue Thailand's November cover. Compare the final version (below left) with the pre-released version (below right):
They're quite clearly not the same. Bet someone's regretting releasing that first version now.
Much like a headless chicken, the story about a Hitler-themed restaurant in Bangkok just keeps on running, despite the fact that Daily Mail's story is, most likely, all made up, as I blogged about the other day. Heaps of journos have now picked up the story, complete with Alan Robertson's now infamous fake quote, and continued the spread of misinformation. Among the more high-profile reporters who took the bait are:
- Melissa Locker of Time (@woolyknickets). Her story appears to have been deleted but it still shows up in a search on Time's website at the time of writing. (Update: This story has since been reposted with a correction citing the Bangkok Post's own correction. Nobody appears to want to mention that the Post only printed that story after it got called out on social media.)
- Nadine DeNinno (@nadinedeninno) of International Business Times. Her story is here.
- Jasmin Sun (@JasminSun) of Eater. Check out her piece.
- Neetzan Zimmerman (@Neetzan) of Gawker. Here's Neetzan's article, although it has been updated with the Bangkok Post's correction, which itself came after a now-deleted story about the whole shebang.
- Kelsey Osterman (@kelseyosterman) of Red Alert also got in on the action.
- Jason Notte (@Notteham) of MSN Money had a go, too.
- Ron Dicker (@RonDicker) of the Huff Post wrote the story that got the most attention after the Daily Mail's article.
There are more, including about a gazillion in languages other than English, but these are the ones at the top of the Interwebs. And of course, we shouldn't forget Daily Mail Reporter, who got the ball rolling. Also, Coconuts Bangkok is just about the only news outlet that bothered to do a Google search.
Never before has a story about fried chicken resulted in so much fail. It all started on May 28 when Andrew Spooner Tweeted this pic:
Just to recap: it's a pic of a restaurant called Hitler that probably sells fried chicken. When Andrew posted the snap, the Twitterverse reacted with a somewhat modest outpouring of witty remarks and sniggers. It wasn't the first time Hitler had popped up in an unexpected place in Thailand. There was little more to say about the matter. So it had really been forgotten until the Daily Mail came along on July 5 with its story headlined Fried chicken takeaway called 'Hitler' opens in Thailand and comes complete with logo of Nazi leader in a bow tie. Yikes!
Leading into the story, we got these two bullet points:
- Bizarre restaurant opened last month in Bangkok
- Images of Hitler have also been seen on t-shirts in Thailand
Then the fun really began:
Thailand's obsession with so-called 'Nazis chic' just won't go away – and now a fried chicken takeaway called Hitler – complete with a logo showing the Nazi leader in a bow tie – has opened its doors.
The bizarre restaurant opened last month in Thailand and images of it are doing the rounds on Twitter as shocked customers take photos of the offensive eatery.
At this stage, I may as well point out a handful of things:
The restaurant isn't in Bangkok
Amusing Thailand posted the picture, submitted by someone using the handle Volker, along with a caption saying it's in Ubon Ratchatani, about 300 miles from Bangkok.
It didn't open last month
The pic on Amusing Thailand is dated March 12, 2012. Andrew's pic is from May just past.
There are no images of it doing the rounds, it's just this one pic
The pic posted by Andrew is the only one "doing the rounds".
Nobody has been taking photos of it because it isn't open any more (update: at least in this guise)
A user on the Thai Visa forum writes:
The photo of that supposedly "recently opened" fried chicken fast food joint in Bangkok is actually from a fried chicken restaurant in Ubon Ratchathani and at least 2 years old! Needless to say that this shop has CLOSED DOWN long, long ago (due to copyright infringement, by the way, because it had used 'Col. Sanders').
Things aren't off to a good start for the Daily Mail's article, apparently written by "Daily Mail Reporter". It gets worse, though:
Londoner Andrew Spooner, who spotted the takeaway, tweeted: “Very bizarre Hitler Fried Chicken shop in Thailand. I kid you not. Complete with pic of Hitler in bow tie.”
Andrew didn't spot the takeaway. He tweeted the pic. Then we get a quote from "Alan Robertson, 43, who lives in Bangkok":
“The place opened last month and nobody quite knows what to make of it.
“I went in for a bite last week and got some fried chicken, which was pretty good, and asked the guy behind the counter why it was called Hitler.”
“He just shrugged his shoulders and said the owners had thought it was good image.”
ORLY, Alan? If it opened last month, there must have been a break in the space-time continuum because Andrew's Tweet is from May and the Amusing Thailand post is more than a year old. Did the Daily Mail make the quote up? Probably.
The media wasn't done yet, however. The Sun also picked up the story along with Huffington Post's Ron Dicker, who wrote that KFC is planning to take action against Hitler Fried Chicken, even though it likely doesn't exist.
"We find it extremely distasteful and are considering legal action since it is an infringement of our brand trademark and has nothing to do with us," a spokesman for KFC parent Yum! told The Huffington Post in an email.
Again, our friend Alan Robertson makes an appaerance. There's also a reference to the supposedly new trend “Hitler chic”, which of course is neither new nor much of a trend.
Never ones to miss out on a scoop, the Bangkok Post then hashed together a story based on the Daily Mail's effort.
Images of the restaurant taken by shocked customers are making the rounds on Twitter, according to a report on Friday in the Daily Telegraph in London.
There is no story, at least that I can find, on the Daily Telegraph's website, so I'll assume that's just one of a number of successive blunders. Again, we have “images” taken by “shocked customers” “doing the rounds”, none of which is true.
Andrew Spooner, a Bangkok-based journalist who spotted the restaurant, tweeted: "Very bizarre Hitler Fried Chicken shop in Thailand. I kid you not. Complete with pic of Hitler in bow tie."
Andrew Spooner is not Bangkok-based and he didn't spot the restaurant. Alan Robertson again shows up. For someone who more than likely isn't real, he's been getting a huge amount of publicity. (Alan, if you are real, I'll publish a full apology.)
The Bangkok Post apparently felt so ashamed of the story that it decided to delete it from its website in the hopes that maybe nobody would notice. It's still available on the mobile site at the time of writing, though.
Numerous other media outlets have also picked up the story, but it doesn't look like anyone is going to write a correction. Meanwhile, the comments sections of various newspapers have come alive with vitriol directed at Thailand, Thais and all the rest.
So how did so many people get so many things wrong with this story? It pretty much comes down to laziness. Thailand gets a lot of bad press for all kinds of reasons, but this is one of those times when it's the journos who have well and truly bodged it up.
Unless of course there really is a chicken shop in Bangkok called Hitler and Alan Robertson ate there last week. If that's the case, I'll stand corrected.
Not only did the Post delete their story, they also posted this one blaming everyone else for starting the fail ball rolling:
A widely circulated story about a fried-chicken restaurant in Thailand bearing the name and image of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler is stale news.
The story was first published on Friday in the London-based Daily Mail, one of the world's most visited news sites, and was picked up by the Bangkok Post among countless others.
The story has a basis in fact but the 'Hitler' restaurant has long since undergone an image makeover as the owner wanted to avoid criticism of any Nazi association. The Daily Mail observed that Hitler's image has appeared and continues to appear in many unusual places in Thailand.
The restaurant is in Ubon Ratchathani, not Bangkok as reported by the Daily Mail. Today it is known as 'H-ler' and bears a different sign, a local correspondent in the northeastern province said.
The picture used in the Daily Mail story was taken sometime in 2011 and copies have appeared in various online forums including Amusingthailand.com.
Andrew Spooner, a Bangkok-based journalist, expressed bemusement at the exposure the old news had received. "My tweet from a couple of months back about Hitler Fried Chicken in Thailand is in Daily Mail," he wrote on Twitter yesterday.
Andrew Spooner, however, remains a "Bangkok-based journalist", despite living in London. And his Tweet is from today, not yesterday. But I'm just nitpicking!
This pic from May 2011 may or may not be the most recent incarnation of Hitler Fried Chicken. I have no idea if this is the same place or not. I have no clue about anything in this story any more. (Update: This place does, however, have its own Facebook page, complete with pics and map.)
Here's a pic from 2009 posted on a forum when the restaurant was known as UEU (h/t: a reader):
Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra gave the keynote speech at the Forbes Forum: Asia's Power Business Women: the Way Forward held in Bangkok on April 23. The speech was tweeted from the PM's personal Twitter account and also posted in its entirety here.
Yingluck made some rather telling remarks. In particular, she places a great deal of emphasis on "family". Though she makes attempts to challenge gender stereotypes, there is still the underlying presumption that for a woman to succeed, she needs to conform to the role of wife and mother in tandem with pursuing a career. See here:
Women are usually told that they face a dilemma, between pursuing a family life and having a successful career. Well, I think all of us being here today show that this is no longer a problem because we can manage these multiple responsibilities. Most importantly, we are able to maintain a good balance between family life and career. I am both a mother and a Prime Minister. I believe being one makes me better in the other.
I understand that the PM is drawing from her personal experience, but I don't think she goes enough out of her way to break stereotypes. In closing her speech, Yingluck also excluded a large portion of the country in her vision for prosperity.
One last point. I am a strong believer in partnerships. And the most powerful partnership is between male and female.
I may be reading a little too much into what Yingluck is saying, but I feel that for someone who has a real opportunity to address gender issues in Thailand, the prime minister should choose her words a little more carefully. Gender stereotypes persist and the conversation has to move beyond simply male and female.
Here are some of the highlights from the speech, as posted on the prime minister's personal Twitter account: