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William Shatner Says He's 'Appalled' At IRS 'Star Trek' Parody Video

This video image from an Internal Revenue Service video shows an IRS employee portraying Mr. Spock.
This video image from an Internal Revenue Service video shows an IRS employee portraying Mr. Spock.

William Shatner has made up his mind about the Star Trekparody video produced by the Internal Revenue Service. He tweeted:

"So I watched that IRS video. I am appalled at the utter waste of US tax dollars."

If you haven't been paying attention, the IRS released the video last week after CBS News filed a Freedom of Information Act Request. The video, which shows IRS employees boldly going "where no government employee has gone before," was supposed to be used for training purposes.

It's pretty elaborate, showing the inside of the spaceship made famous by the TV series. The crew is approaching planet Notax, which the characters, including Mr. Spock, say has many problems including "alien identity theft."

But since CBS revealed that video and another parodying Gilligan's Islandcost tax payers $60,000, the agency has said its making was a mistake.

CBS reported:

"IRS Acting Commissioner Steven Miller said in a statement that one of the two videos was played in 400 locations and saved taxpayers $1.5 million over what it would have cost to train employees in person.

"Nonetheless, the IRS issued a statement that reads: 'The space parody video from 2010 is not reflective of overall IRS video efforts, which provide critical information to taxpayers and cost-effective employee training critical to running the nation's tax system. In addition, the IRS has instituted tough new standards for videos to prevent situations similar to the 2010 video.'

"In response to the release of the Gilligan's Island parody, the IRS said in a statement, 'This approach reflects a newer IRS model of using video to dramatically save on training and travel costs. Using video provides a more cost-efficient way of doing business than face-to-face meetings.'"

We'll leave you with the video itself, so you can make up your mind:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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