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William Shatner blasts IRS for 'Star Trek' parody video

March 26, 2013|By Stuart Pfeifer
  • "Star Trek" icon William Shatner wasn't amused by an IRS parody.
"Star Trek" icon William Shatner wasn't amused by an IRS… (Los Angeles Times )

"Star Trek" star William Shatner was not amused by a video parody of the television show that Internal Revenue Service workers produced at public expense.

The actor, who appeared in the 1960s series as Captain James T. Kirk, used Twitter to give a thumbs down to the video, which reportedly cost $60,000.

"So I watched that IRS video. I am appalled at the utter waste of US tax dollars," Shatner wrote to his more than 1 million Twitter followers.

The Internal Revenue Service has apologized for spending taxpayer revenue on the six-minute video, which is attracting wide attention on the Internet.

IRS workers portrayed characters from the television series and vowed “to boldly go where no governmental employee has gone before.”

The IRS has acknowledged it was a mistake for employees to make the video. It was shown at the opening of a 2010 training and leadership conference but does not appear to have any training value.

The video features an elaborate set depicting the control room, or bridge, of the spaceship featured in the hit TV show. IRS workers portrayed the characters, including one as pointy-eared Mr. Spock.

In the video, the spaceship is approaching the planet Notax, where alien identity theft appears to be a problem.

"The IRS recognizes and takes seriously our obligation to be good stewards of government resources and taxpayer dollars," the agency said in a statement. "There is no mistaking that this video did not reflect the best stewardship of resources."

The agency said it has tightened controls over the use of its production equipment to "ensure that all IRS videos are handled in a judicious manner that makes wise use of taxpayer funds while ensuring a tone and theme appropriate for the nation's tax system."

The agency also said, "A video of this type would not be made today."

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