The trailer for "Slavery: The Game," suspected to be a fake, is in fact so. Dutch broadcaster NTR made it as part of a viral campaign for a documentary series about the nation's history in the slave trade.
"It was by no means our intention to hurt people with the trailer. We chose this approach to create maximum awareness for slavery in general. Not just for the history of slavery, but also for slavery that still exists today," Carla Boos, the editor in chief of public broadcaster NTR, said in a statement regarding "De Slavernij" the title of the documentary. Bogus game studio "Javelin Reds" is an anagram of that title.
"It is a good thing to see a trailer like this leads to this amount of controversy. It really shows how people are still truly concerned about slavery," Boos said, noting the trailer had been viewed 400,000 and provoked wide-ranging discussion, some of it outraged.
It's unclear what kind of awareness the fake trailer raised, beyond just provoking that outrage. I suppose one could interpret a game that seems to trivialize a crime against humanity represents the mindset of someone who views slaves simply as a commodity to be bought and sold, which of course was the attitude of slave traders, Dutch and otherwise. The idea that the trailer raises awareness of slavery still in existence sounds retrofitted. The trailer presents it almost entirely in an 18th century context.
"De Slavernij" will begin airing in the Netherlands on Sept. 18.