The cinema chain Finnkino has refused to air this elaborate advert from the immigration-critical party Finns Party (Perussuomalaiset) just before the parliamentary election in Finland.
The ad, which is six minutes long and could use a better colour grading, tells the story of current Finland in comic book style. In the story, three villains who represent journalists, politicians and unscrupulous businessmen take bribes from foreign powers as they sell out the country making it unsafe for women and children. It's quite the Gotham City dramatic story, as girls are kidnapped and cars are torched. The regular Finnish man's irritation grows so much, it spawns a mythical creature of revenge born from the earth in the forests. A bit Marvel, a bit Kalevala, and very very long.
The video has been posted in full on Youtube, both in English and in Finnish, it was shared on the parties various social media platforms five days ago. Tuesday it was announced that they can no longer air it on the AMC owned cinema chain Finnkino, and the ad was pulled immediately. In a statement on Twitter, the cinema chain explains why:
"Finnkino stands up for tolerance, freedom of expression and democracy and does not accept racism or discrimination"
Critics in media said the ad has "crossed the line", and now that it is pulled, some critics on the other side say the ban is undemocratic. They point out that the ad calls specifically for people to get out and vote, not for violence, as the mythical creature doesn't exist but voting does. The Finn's party is currently up in polls ahead of the April election, they are at 15.1%, making it the third most popular party.
The ad is still as of this writing, airing on some TV channels.
Related, back in 2010 the Sweden Democrats had this political ad banned from TV and cinema. In 2015 this Subway poster campaign was retroactively banned after a minor riot broke out and a crowd tore the posters down. The transport media company decided against putting posters back up so that people wouldn't hurt themselves trying to tear them down.
At the time of our press, all articles that we can read, including Yle.fi's English version here stated that the ad was pulled:
Helsingin Sanomat reports that cinema chain Finnkino stopped showing a Finns’ Party ad campaign at its cinemas on Tuesday. The six-minute long video depicts politicians and journalists taking bribes and foreigners preying on women and children.
However, since then we've been sent this article, also from Yle.fi - but it is in Finnish. I can gather that they speak to Riikka Slunga-Poutsalo from the Finns Party. She explains their media buy contract includes a certain amount of 'views', but the short edit was only planned to air a few days in March. The invoice states 18–24. March. She also expresses that she is astonished by Finnkino's announcement to end the party's election video as an advertisement in cinemas from 26 March, since there was nothing to end.
In conclusion, either Yle.fi English and/or Finnkino cinemas got their facts about the airdates wrong when making the statement regarding ending the campaign, or, someone may trying to cover up after getting too many complaints about airing the ad. At this point, it's anyone's guess.
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