Speaking Swenglish normally results in giggles rather than public outcry. But if you screw up your picturesque speech and call the millions of people in the Gulf affected by the oil leak “small people”…well…don’t forget to duck. (here’s a link to the video of the gaffe.
After all, most Americans have no idea that the colorful language “Sweglish” exists and it should be found charming at best and silly at worst. It still makes me crack a smile when I hear some refer to the CEO as the VD. My all time favorite Swenglish anecdote is when a beautiful Swedish woman offers to pluck a canape off a waiter’s tray for an Englishman and to be polite asks if it’s ok to “Take it with my body.” (They ended up marrying, true story)
In the end the native-Swedish CEO and Chair, Carl-Henric Svanberg did apologize (link) but this one he is just never, ever, ever going to live down.
Maybe the little guy will eventually forgive him.