Michigan State suspends employee for Hitler image on video board

A Michigan State University employee has been suspended with pay after an image of Adolf Hitler appeared on the video board at Spartan Stadium before MSU faced Michigan on Saturday. 

The image of Hitler and his birthplace of Austria were shown on the scoreboard as part of a pregame trivia quiz roughly 80 minutes before kickoff between the rival schools.

Images quickly went viral across social media. 

In a statement released Sunday, Michigan State University athletic director Alan Haller said that the school was “responsible for all content shown on its video boards.”

“Before it was displayed, the video was not viewed in its entirety by anyone in athletics, exposing a failure in our process,” Haller said, per the Detroit Free Press. “The video was not part of a sponsorship and had no affiliation with any of our corporate partners or our community. 

“An initial assessment was conducted, and an involved employee has been identified and suspended with pay pending the results of an investigation. The investigation will determine any future appropriate actions.” 

Michigan State claims the school used a third-party source that displayed the Hitler image on the video board, saying the photo was part of a pregame quiz.
Alexander Haenke/X

The athletic director apologized for the school displaying the image prior to Saturday night’s game and “for the pain it has caused our community.” 

In particular, Haller said, he understood the harm it caused to the Jewish community, “which is currently experiencing a rise in antisemitism, including acts of violence.”

The quiz shown prior to the game was streamed from a YouTube channel called “The Quiz Channel” and the specific image of Hitler came from a video titled “General Knowledge Trivia Quiz (Part 18).” 

Michigan State suspended an employee with pay after a photo of Adolf Hitler was shown on its scoreboard before a game Saturday.
Getty Images
Michigan State University athletic director Alan Haller said that the employee responsible for putting an image of Adolf Hitler on the video board has been suspended.

Floris van Pallandt, the creator and producer of the YouTube channel, wrote on his page Sunday that Michigan State did not ask him for permission to use his content nor did the school compensate him for it, according to the Free Press. 

“It’s an absolutely normal trivia question, shown in an inappropriate setting,” Floris van Pallandt wrote. “Ignoring the dark facets of history is by no means the answer, on the contrary.”

Saturday’s incident came at a difficult time for the Jewish community, as the war between Israel and Hamas, which has sparked a rise in antisemitism in the U.S., rages on in the Middle East.

Israeli soldiers move a tank at a staging area near the border with Gaza Strip, in southern Israel on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023.

Haller said that he would be reaching out to the Jewish community and other student groups in order to reiterate his commitment to doing better and hearing from them. 

“Antisemitism must be denounced. The image displayed prior to Saturday night’s game is not representative of who we are and the culture we embody,” Haller said. “Nevertheless, we must own our failures and accept responsibility. I understand our response might be met with skepticism. That skepticism is warranted, and we will do all that is necessary to earn back your trust.”

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