German automaker Volkswagen apologized on Wednesday for an advertisement that appeared to show a black man laughing and literally being wiped out by a pair of white hands.
The ad, which had been posted on VW’s German Instagram, showed a black man walking down a street in Buenos Aires when a pair of massive white hands appeared from above to push him – with a laughing woman and comic sound effects in the background.
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Then one of the hands, with a thumb and forefinger, slides the helpless black figure into a street cafe or bar called “Little Colon”, which can be translated as “Little Columbus”, as in the sailor and colonizer Christopher Columbus.
“We published a racist advertising video on Volkswagen’s Instagram channel,” the automaker said in a German statement on Wednesday. “We understand the public’s outrage over this. Because we are horrified too. “
The car company went so far as to cite its own disturbing story, founded in 1937 under Adolf Hitler, while apologizing.
“At Volkswagen, we are aware of the historical origins and the guilt of our company during the Nazi regime. This is precisely why we resolutely oppose all forms of hatred, slander / propaganda and discrimination, “the statement added.
“Today’s Volkswagen Group is at home all over the world. And the whole world is with us. Each race, each religion, each gender identity. This is our most precious asset. It’s who we are. And this video is the opposite of what we are. On behalf of Volkswagen AG, we apologize to the general public for this film. ”
The place was intended to announce the latest edition of the popular VW Golf range.
The place was “unacceptable on several levels,” according to a statement posted on social media by Volkswagen USA on Thursday.
“Despite our language difference, our corporate commitment to diversity and inclusion here at Volkswagen of America is universal,” the company statement said.
“This advertisement from our colleagues was in bad taste and did not accurately reflect our opinions or our values. We sincerely apologize to everyone who has been offended and everyone who has watched. “