Most Read

News

Volkswagen Apologizes For Racially Tone-Deaf Ad Of Giant White Hand Pushing Black Man Around Following Backlash

Car company Volkswagen has removed a racially-insensitive ad from their Instagram page.

The German manufacturer apologized and said they aren't sure how the offensive undertones of the clip were overlooked.


The ad, which is ten seconds long and promotes the Volkswagen Golf, features a black man being dragged, prodded and flicked around by a giant white hand.

Though it has now been removed from Instagram by Volkswagen, you can watch the spot which a German reporter screen-captured here:

The caption for the above tweet says (roughly):

"In the new #VW -Advertising, a Black man is pushed back and forth by a White hand and then flicked into a cafe with the name "petit colon". The first letters entered result in the N word. I could be sick."

At the end of the ad, some people took issue with the man being flicked into a cafe called "Petit Colón."

The phrase translates to "little settler" or "little colonist" according to Huffpost.

Then, when the German phrase for "The New Golf" appears onscreen ("Der Neue Golf") the first visible letters spell the German equivalent of the N-word.

Several German reporters pointed this out on Twitter.


Initially, Volkswagen responded to criticism by saying the races of the people in their ad didn't matter.

They were "surprised and shocked that our Instagram story could be so misunderstood."

Shortly after, however, board member Juergen Stackmann and head of diversity management Elke Heitmueller issued a joint statement.

Their revised response said they were "horrified" by the ad's contents.

The two Volkswagen leaders' statement referenced the fact that the company was founded by the Nazis, saying:

"That is precisely why we resolutely oppose all forms of hatred, slander/propaganda and discrimination."

They promised to investigate how the ad was allowed to be made and to share "results and consequences" with the public.



Volkswagen seems to issue an insensitive ad or comment every few years.

They were criticized for a racially tone-deaf Super Bowl ad in 2013, a misogynistic Audi ad in 2017 and referencing a Nazi slogan just last year.

It's more important than ever that companies are aware of what their advertisements are saying about race and gender, a lesson Volkswagen has learned the hard way.