German Volkswagen published a social media ad for a new car and apologized after an outcry over its racist overtones.
The ten-second spot on Instagram and Twitter shows a massive white hand pushing a black man next to a new yellow Volkswagen Golf parked on the street, then moving him to an open door and tossing him in a French cafe.
Social media commentators have also noted that the German slogan “Der Neue Golf” – “The New Golf” – is disappearing, the jumble of letters can be read as a racial insult for a brief moment.
And the name of the cafe is Petit Colon, which literally means “little colon” in French.
Volkswagen told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the video was shot and “we can understand the outrage and the anger.”
“Without a doubt: the video is inappropriate and tasteless,” wrote Volkswagen. “We will clarify how such a thing could happen, and there will be consequences. “
The Wolfsburg-based automaker, founded under the Nazis to produce “the people’s car”, said that, given its history, it has always sought to “stand against all forms of racism, xenophobia and discrimination “
“There are many initiatives within the company and our global workforce that promote diversity, integration and open-minded cooperation,” said Volkswagen. “It makes it all the more annoying that we made this mistake. “