Hitler Humor Falls Short

As it turns out, Hitler jokes can offend people. French bank BNP used a parody of Hitler from the movie, "Downfall" as a motivational video for employees. Some employees didn't find it funny.

A bank employee created the video, which was originally shown last year at a seminar for 100 international managers in Amsterdam. Apparently, it was uploaded to the company's intranet site for more employees to view.

Similar parodies have been used many times and are popular on the web, such as this example of Hitler's reaction to the iPad. The bank's version shows Hitler as a Deutsche Bank executive angry that competitor BNP is succeeding in the foreign exchange market.


It's possible that employees didn't know the history of the clip. Still, some had strong negative reactions: 

"We could not believe the bank had actually dared to do that-make an analogy between our competitors and the Nazi regime. It took us a few minutes to take it in."

"We were shocked. Nobody knew how to react. Some  Jewish employees from the United States did not find it funny at all."

Discussion Starters:

  • How would you describe the bank's original intent of using the parody?
  • Why do you think the controversy became public now, rather than after the seminar in Amsterdam last year?
  • What's your view of how some employees reacted?