BERLIN (Reuters) – Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) withdrew an advertisement on its official Instagram page for its golf cars on Wednesday, which it admitted was racist and insulting, saying it would investigate how it happened and what it would do.
The German automaker, which has had its reputation tarnished in the past five years after admitting to having cheated on diesel emissions tests, said it did not tolerate any form of racism.
The ad on Instagram features large, pale-skinned hands that seem to push and then pull a black man away from a new shiny yellow Golf parked on a street.
German television noted that the hand could be interpreted as a gesture of “white power”, while the letters that then appear on the screen briefly explain a racist insult in German.
Juergen Stackmann, board member of the VW brand for sales and marketing, and Elke Heitmueller, head of diversity management, turned to Twitter and LinkedIn to apologize.
“We understand the public’s outrage over this. Because we are horrified too. This video is an insult to all the achievements of the civil rights movement. It’s an insult to any decent person, ”they wrote.
“At Volkswagen, we are aware of the historical origins and the guilt of our company under the Nazi regime. This is precisely why we resolutely oppose all forms of hatred, slander / propaganda and discrimination. “
Founded on orders from Adolf Hitler to build the “People’s Car”, VW employed forced laborers for the Nazi war effort.
A spokesman for Volkswagen said that the agencies usually produce its advertising campaigns and that it is investigating where the error occurred and will make it public when it is discovered.
Report by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Michael Nienaber and Emelia Sithole-Matarise
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