Danish radio station P3-DR has now turned the tables by publishing a satirical video in which Africans prepare to offer assistance to the elderly people of Denmark.
"Sure, we might have contaminated water, epidemics and lack electricity. But it seems from the Facebook comments, that old Danes are worse off. Please let us take care of them!" said Jackson Nouwah, the founder of the fictional "Adopt A Dane Foundation."
"Many elderly Danes write on Facebook that too much money is being sent to Africa instead of being spent on the elderly," said Nouwah, the fictional foundation head, in the fake advertisement video, before concluding: "Thousands of old Danes need new homes."
"Old people are not a burden. They are a wonderful gift.... So please Africa, open your hearts for 'Adopt a Dane'!"
In a statement, the radio station said that the video was not intended to be a reaction to the controversial immigration bill which was passed last week. "This video creates awareness among DR-P3s listeners and followers on Facebook and hopefully makes them think about the difference between the living conditions we have in Denmark and living conditions such as Liberia, where the film was shot," a statement read. Especially foreign viewers, however, perceived the video to be linked to recent developments.
The Danish government is unlikely to be amused. Its immigration bill has snagged worldwide media attention over the last two months. Some have become concerned about its impact on Denmark's reputation. Television channel TV2, for instance, interviewed a business expert in December to ask him how damaging such attention could be for the country's economy.
Danish politicians in favor of the new immigration bill have defended their policies. "The attention Denmark receives these days is not caused by the level of aid we provide. It is caused by the fact that we adjust this level. We are still among the most generous countries in the world," Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, a spokesman for the center-right Liberal Party, told The Washington Post last week.
The Danish Embassy in Washington sent out a fact sheet to journalists detailing why Denmark's immigration policies were supposedly far more generous than their reputation. "Denmark received 21,300 asylum seekers in 2015, making Denmark one of the 10 Member States in the EU receiving most asylum seekers per capita. This would be the equivalent of the United States receiving 1.2 million asylum seekers in one year," the embassy's press spokeswoman wrote.
She also emphasized that Denmark was among the few countries to meet U.N. targets for humanitarian assistance and that only one European Union member state spent more money on asylum seekers, relative to the country's GDP, than Denmark.
Last week, the center-right newspaper Jyllands-Posten also defended the Danish government's most recent immigration policies by saying that other countries "do the same, or are even worse.”
However, critics remain vocal about what they perceive as unjust treatment of refugees in Denmark. The U.N. refugee agency recently said that the latest Danish immigration bill "could fuel fear, xenophobia and similar restrictions that would reduce — rather than expand — the asylum space globally and put refugees in need at life-threatening risks."
After the law was passed, a spokesman for U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon echoed that criticism by saying that "people who have suffered tremendously ... should be treated with compassion and respect, and within their full rights as refugees."
This post has been updated