The German automaker Volkswagen apologized publicly for a spot that they uploaded to their official Instagram account in which they tried to advertise their new Golf. In the video, which was already removed, the parked car could be seen as a huge white hand shoves an Afro-descendant man up to get it out of the box and putting it in a restaurant ‘Petit Colon’, which means small settler or colonizer. In short, all wrong.
And things get worse. At the end of the video appears the message “der neue Golf” (‘the new Golf’, in German), the letters of which gradually became visible until at one point the word ‘neger’ could be read, a derogatory and discriminatory term to call someone ‘black’ in German.
The announcement did not go unnoticed on social networks and under the pressure of the comments Volkswagen lowered it saying that it felt “Surprised and puzzled” by the strong reaction of the public arguing that the origin of the protagonists was “irrelevant” and that he opposed “all forms of racism, xenophobia and discrimination”. This reply made the Internet public more inflamed.
“We posted a racist advertising video on Volkswagen’s Instagram channel. We understand people’s outrage because we are also outraged. We are ashamed and cannot explain how it came about. It is one more reason for us to make sure we clarify it. We will make the results and consequences of the research public, ”Jürgen Stackmann, head of sales and marketing for the brand, together with the group’s director of diversity, Elke Heitmüller, wrote in a statement.
On his Twitter account, Stackmann added. “I sincerely apologize as an individual in my capacity as a member of the board of directors of Volkswagen Sales & Marketing. Hate, racism and discrimination have no place at Volkswagen! In this case, I will personally guarantee full transparency and consequences! ”
Ich entschuldige mich aufrichtig als Einzelperson in meiner Funktion als Vorstandsmitglied bei Volkswagen Sales & Marketing. Hass, Rassismus und Diskriminierung habi bei Volkswagen keinen Platz! Ich werde in diesem Fall persönlich für volle Transparenz und Konsequenzen sorgen! pic.twitter.com/mlAIgrFQWs
– Jürgen Stackmann (@jstackmann) May 20, 2020