Swearing-in of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz goes viral after TV subtitle gaffe

Kurz (left) arrives for the swearing-in of the new coalition government on Jan 7, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

VIENNA (AFP) - Austrian television's web replay of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's swearing-in ceremony went viral on Wednesday (Jan 8) after it mistakenly aired with soap opera subtitles suggesting he was offering the president a job as a housemaid.

Kurz was sworn in on Tuesday (Jan 7) as the world's youngest democratically elected leader at the head of an unlikely coalition with the Greens following the collapse of his Conservatives' previous alliance with the far-right.

The subtitles appeared on the ORF public television website in a rerun of the ceremony led by President Alexander Van der Bellen, lending a surreal air to the event in the luxurious Hofburg Palace in Vienna.

Excerpts of the broadcast, which carried text from the German soap opera "Alisa, follow your heart" that had run just before, went viral with the amusing words.

Under footage of Kurz with the president, the caption had a quote inquiring if he was "interested in a job as a housemaid".

When the new minister of defence shook the head of state's hand, the subtitle said: "Thanks, Dad."

With a frame of all the members of the new government assembled, the subtitle ran: "It's wonderful to have all the children under the same roof."

In an apparent commentary over a frame in which Kurz appeared in a corner with Van der Bellen, the words appeared: "Not him again."

Kurz had led the government from December 2017 until May 2019 before the eruption of a political crisis provoked by his then main far-right ally.

ORF acted quickly to fix the gaffe saying: "The wrong subtitles were immediately removed and replaced with the right ones.

"Steps will be taken to avoid a repeat of this kind of error."

The live broadcast on Tuesday went off without a hitch.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.