troll gustafson
© REUTERS / Bertil Enevag Ericson / TT News Agency; REUTERS / Lefteris Karagiannopoulos
SAS CEO Rickard Gustafson at the company HQ in Stockholm. A troll figure in Oslo.
Nothing shows that your values are granite-strong quite like pulling a much-criticized commercial and then reinstating it to a chorus of media voices proclaiming that the negative feedback is just a Russian psy-op.

The Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) video, which declares that essentially all Scandinavian culture is "copied" and encourages people to fly to lands both near and far to find more things to borrow, is back in action. The company says it stands by its message, and that the critical comments and downvotes that befell the video after its initial publication on Monday were just an "attack" that "hijacked" the ad campaign.

So, SAS told its customers that the things they take pride in are a product of cultural appropriation, but that it's a good thing. When some people freaked out, the airline simply shut down comments on its YouTube channel - because it doesn't want hateful speech on its platform. Then it took down the video... just because. Then it published it again, but the comments were closed from the start.

All these actions are definitely part of a consistent values-based position. SAS did not get cold feet over the wave of negativity. And it didn't change its mind after realizing that bowing to the pressure - and upsetting people who share the ad's woke message - would be even worse. The benefit of the doubt is absolutely on its side.

The airline kept mum about who could be behind the 'attack', but luckily some Scandinavian media were there to explain to their readers what happened. The key culprit was (surprise!) Russia, the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet said after the video was taken down, adding that SAS should publish it again. And people who are not happy about the video and are too public to be dismissed as Russian bots are obviously "useful idiots" doing "Putin's bidding."

And there you have it. An emboldened SAS goes on with its campaign, posting both a shorter 45-second version of the video and a full original version on social media.


But how could people tell it was a Russian campaign? Well, Russian English-language outlet Sputnik spotted the outrage and reported the story. What other proof do you need?


Comment: It's easy to forget what a screwed up world we live in, and how mind-numbingly stupid the mainstream media really is. A Russian outlet notices something "outrageous", and reports on it. Then, because said Russian outlet was the only one to actually report the news, "Russia" gets blamed for creating the outrage, or stoking it, in the first place - not the idiots who created the tripe that actually prompted the outrage in the first place. It's crazy-making.


Of course, not everyone took the 'when in doubt, blame Russia' approach. Wilhelm Tersmeden, chairman of the Swedish pilot association's SAS section, told Expressen the ad debacle simply shows that a lot of people feel passionate about Scandinavian identity and may dislike its increasingly globalized business model.


Comment: Obviously!


Rival airline Norwegian poked fun at SAS, saying at least the Scandinavian origin of the modern cheese slicer, which was invented by businessman Thor Bjorklund, was not in dispute.