William Shatner, a.k.a. Captain Kirk, said today on Twitter that he was appalled by the IRS Star Trek parody video and called the production an “utter waste of taxpayer dollars.”
Shatner made his feelings known about the US tax-collecting agency on Twitter early this morning. He also separately tweeted a happy birthday to his Star Trek co-star Leonard Nimoy.
The IRS video, which cost the taxpayer an estimated $60,000, prompted the agency to issue an apology. The six-minute video was released into the public domain late Friday after requests from the US House of Representatives were initially rebuffed and CBS News subsequently filed a Freedom of Information application.
The video was made for an 2010 IRS training conference although it appears that it contains no training-related content. A video skit based on Gilligan’s Island that has yet to be released also was filmed at the same time.
The narrator of the video begins the attempt at satire as follows: “These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise Y; Its never-ending mission is to seek out new tax forms, to explore strange new regulations, to boldly go where no government employee has gone before.”
The tacky, unfunny video shot on an elaborate set features IRS employees portraying Star Trek characters — including Mr. Spock — who are responding to a distress call from the planet “Notax” where noncompliance and alien identify theft are problems and its residents are suffering from the “tax-gap flu.” It was produced at the IRS television studio in Maryland, which itself reportedly cost the taxpayer about $4 million in 2012.
The release of the Star Trek parody video is ill-timed for the Obama administration, given all the hand-wringing about the sequester-driven automatic federal budget cuts (which only amount to about two percent of government spending). Another aspect of the video that probably won’t go over well with America is a comment by one of the actors/IRS employees that he became a public servant to become “rich and famous.” Click here to watch the IRS Star Trek video.
So I watched that IRS video. I am appalled at the utter waste of US tax dollars.
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) March 26, 2013