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Michigan State apologizes for image of Hitler on football stadium video board

The field of Spartan Stadium is shown before the Oct. 21, 2023, game in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo Provided/Kody Fisher)

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WISH) — A picture of Adolf Hitler was displayed on the video board at Spartan Stadium on Saturday before Michigan State took on the Michigan Wolverines.

The image was part of a trivia question asking where Hitler was born.

Michigan State Athletic Director Matt Larson said in a statement, “MSU is aware that inappropriate content by a third-party source was displayed on the videoboard prior to the start of tonight’s football game. We are deeply sorry for the content that was displayed, as this is not representative of our institutional values. MSU will not be using the third-party source going forward and will implement stronger screening and approval procedures for all videoboard content in the future.”

On Sunday, Alan Haller, vice president and athletics director at Michigan State, said that the “involved employee” has been suspended while the university conducts an investigation. He did not elaborate on the employees position at the university.

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

The image of Hitler was part of a quiz from a YouTube page called The Quiz Channel, the university said. The university had been using videos from the channel before every home game. “Prior to last night, the content has not been objectionable,” the school said.

The creator of The Quiz Channel, Floris van Pallandt, told CNN in an email the university he did not authorize the university to use content from his channel.

“I was completely unaware of this and only learned content created by me was being used due to this occurrence,” he wrote in the email. “While I provide customised content packages for businesses, the utilisation of my publicly accessible YouTube content for stadium entertainment is highly questionable to say the least.”

In the wake of his quiz being shown on the video board, Van Pallant said his channel is receiving negative feedback. “MSU’s subsequent statement appears to allude to a third-party source, which seems to suggest The Quiz Channel as that very source. If this is accurate, that is unacceptable to me, as it is unacceptable for The Quiz Channel to bear reputational, performance, or financial repercussions due to MSU’s unsolicited use of our content,” he wrote.

He defended the question about Hitler’s birthplace as legitimate, but did acknowledge the setting was not the best place for it. “The trivia question displayed at the stadium is a legitimate one, and it’s imperative we don’t shy away from history’s more dark facets. Nonetheless, I would certainly not have chosen this particular question for a live stadium audience,” he wrote.