• Switzerland edition
 
Bern upset by 'Romney Girl' video
YouTube Screenshot

Bern upset by 'Romney Girl' video

Published: 22 Aug 2012 08:26 GMT+02:00
Updated: 22 Aug 2012 08:26 GMT+02:00

An online music video that uses a “Swiss Miss” to mock US Republican Party presidential candidate Mitt Romney for his “taxless” wealth has drawn the ire of Switzerland’s diplomats.

The satirical YouTube video features a plaited blonde dressed like a scantily-clad Heidi who sings about how great Romney’s life is, replete with tax shelters and all the trappings of being super-rich — fur coats, hot tubs and luxury sports cars.

“I’m a Romney girl, in a Romney world,” the woman sings to the tune of “Barbie Girl," while cavorting with an actor playing the Republican candidate.

“Life is taxless. It’s fantastic.”

The song’s allusions to Switzerland as a place where rich people escape paying taxes has riled Presence Switzerland, a part of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, which aims to foster a positive image of the country.

The three-minute 'Romney Girl’ video, launched earlier this month, is the latest American political ad to sully the Swiss as aiders and abettors of tax evasion.

“Our ambassador has signalled to the campaign staff of (President) Obama that the Swiss government has little appreciation for the use of these clichés far removed from a country that fights with energy against the presence of non-taxed money in the heart of its financial sector,” said Nicolas Bideau, head of Presence Switzerland.

He was quoted in a report carried by various newspapers in the Edipresse chain, including Le Matin and the Tribune de Genève.

While concerned about the image such videos present, Bideau said the government did not plan to make a formal intervention over the issue.

“It would be inappropriate to take a position in the context of a presidential campaign,” he said.

In fact, the video did not officially come from the Obama campaign, which is making an issue over Romney’s failure to disclose income tax returns.

It was financed by the Agenda Project/Action Fund, which calls itself a “progressive policy organization dedicated to ensuring that public officials — and the policies they implement — serve regular Americans”.

Eric Payne, president of the fund, said the goal of the light-hearted video is to “spark people’s interest  in understanding more about (Romney’s) taxes", according to a report from ABC News.

The song takes a jab at the Republican candidate for his estimated net worth of $255 million and suggests that his life is just one long party, in contrast to the life of many suffering Americans.

“Silver-tip your hair, tax shelters everywhere, outsource nation, Bain is his creation,” sings the Swiss Miss who jumps into a red convertible driven by the Romney character and asks him if he has “something to hide”.

Romney was a founder of Bain Capital, an investment company that has been criticized for creating wealth by buying up companies and laying off workers, while his personal use of offshore bank accounts has also fueled debate.

Switzerland is referenced in the video as one of several tax havens.

The video is backed up by a RomneyGirl.org website, which gives a fictitious biography of “Miss Swiss Bank Account”, saying she hails from Ostermundigen and is the “proud daughter of a Nestlé chocolate factory worker”.

Among things, she is described as a former tax consultant of offshore bank accounts at UBS in Geneva, where she first “met” Romney.  

Bideau said the video employed “hackneyed clichés” that have been regularly used by Hollywood for decades, playing on banking secrecy and other stereotypes.

But overall, he maintained, Switzerland has an “excellent image” in the US as a country with a high quality of life, a strong and varied export industry and “direct democracy (through referendums) which greatly impresses Americans”.

Still, in view of the negative publicity surrounding tax evasion in the US and Germany, the Swiss federal government decided in June to boost its public relations and lobbying efforts in those countries through Presence Switzerland.

The department has also embarked on an “issues monitoring” process which involves monitoring foreign press reports on subjects liable to harm Switzerland’s image. 

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Police remove caravan-dwellers from Bern field
Photo: SRF

Police remove caravan-dwellers from Bern field

Bern cantonal police mobilized officers to remove dozens of caravan-dwellers on Thursday night from a field in the Swiss capital where they were illegally camped in a protest demonstration. READ () »

Renovated Geneva train station central hall opens
Geneva's main train station. Photo: CFF

Renovated Geneva train station central hall opens

Passengers are able to traverse the central hall of Geneva’s main train station for the first time in more than four years after renovations begun in 2010. READ () »

Expats lace up running shoes for Swiss races
Runners take in mountain scenery in the Aletsch half marathon. Photo: Kathy Zimmerman

Expats lace up running shoes for Swiss races


From the simply beautiful to the downright barmy, Switzerland's vast array of running races are a great way for expats to integrate into the Swiss way of life, The Local's Caroline Bishop learns. READ () »

Unit sale drives rise in Novartis Q1 net profits
Photo: Sebastien Bozon/AFP

Unit sale drives rise in Novartis Q1 net profits

Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis on Thursday posted a 24-percent jump in first-quarter net profit from the same period a year earlier, driven largely by the sale of a blood transfusion diagnostics unit. READ () »

Doctor acquitted for aiding senior’s suicide
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Doctor acquitted for aiding senior’s suicide

A Neuchâtel cantonal court has overturned the conviction of a doctor found guilty of breaking the law by helping an 89-year-old man die without getting a proper diagnosis of his condition. READ () »

Vote set for ban on food trading 'speculation'
Photo: Michael Buholzer

Vote set for ban on food trading 'speculation'

The Swiss will vote on a proposal to ban speculation on agricultural commodities and food, the government said on Wednesday, announcing that organizers had gathered enough signatures to put the issue to a referendum. READ () »

Tweet exposes Iran trip by right-wing Swiss MPs
Swiss People's Party MP Luzi Stamm. Photo: Federal Parliament

Tweet exposes Iran trip by right-wing Swiss MPs

Six members of the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) wanted to discreetly visit Iran without publicity last week but one of them inadvertently made the trip public in a tweet. 
 READ () »

Armadillo and crocodile meat seized at border
"Bush meat" seized by customs agents. Photo: Federal Customs Administration

Armadillo and crocodile meat seized at border

A Frenchman living in Switzerland was caught entering the country from France with unusual contraband in his suitcase: 16 kilograms of meat from exotic species native to the African jungle. READ () »

UN health agency hits back at vaccine foes
WHO headquarters in Geneva. Photo: Yann Forget

UN health agency hits back at vaccine foes

The Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO) hit back on Wednesday against vaccine deniers who claim that immunization is pointless, risky and that the body is better off fighting disease unaided. READ () »

More protection sought for Lavaux vineyards
Photo: Malcolm Curtis/The Local

More protection sought for Lavaux vineyards

Voters in the canton of Vaud are set to go to the polls for a third time next month to decide on the future of Lavaux, the celebrated vineyard region east of Lausanne. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
Expats lace up running shoes for races across Switzerland
National
Bern finds solution for Erasmus student exchange programme
National
Bern zoo faces animal cruelty charges over bear cub deaths
Society
Swiss alpine ski champion announces same-sex marriage on Facebook
Features
Former industrial zone transforms into Zurich’s trendiest spot
Tech
Swiss Solar Impulse team shows off new fuel-free aircraft
International
Suspect in Liechtenstein bank CEO murder case 'likely dead'
Sponsored Article
Caveman comedy comes to Zurich in English
Society
Innovative building provides refuge for hypersensitive tenants
Tech
VIDEO: Teenage boy sends Swiss army knife into stratosphere
International
Switzerland ranks second in world for social progress: report
National
Pharrell Williams set to perform in first Montreux jazzfest concert
Advertisement:
Sport
American wingsuit flyer dies after Bernese Oberland accident
Business & Money
H&M plans hefty Swiss minimum wage for employees by 2015
International
Caterpillar accused by US senator of dodging taxes through 'Swiss plan'
International
Geneva man in Facebook page fight with Italian carmaker Ferrari
International
Schumacher’s wife pays for 'medical suite' at Swiss family mansion
International
Aborted Swiss airlines take-off injures four at London airport
International
Swiss refuse asylum request from topless protest group founder
Business & Money
British expat former banker to head Swiss finance regulator FINMA
National
Swiss honey contains harmful plastic: TV consumer affairs report
Business & Money
Luxury watchmaker Patek Philippe threatens Geneva exit over taxes
Business & Money
World's largest watch fair opens in Basel amid uncertain times
International
'Fergie' credits hikes around Verbier mountains for recent weight loss
Etoiles de Montagne
Sponsored Article
How to summer holiday up a Swiss mountain
Swissbenefits
Sponsored Article
How to avoid Switzerland’s tax haven trap
Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,068
jobs available