Volkswagen apologizes for racist advertisement, claiming it was "unintentional"
The board of directors of the Volkswagen automobile concern has apologized for a racist advertisement being published on the company's Instagram account in German, saying it had been posted online because of a "lack of cultural sensitivity", not because it was motivated by racism. "We are able say that racist motivation did not play a role in this at all," board member Hiltrud Werner said in a statement.
"We have ascertained a lack of sensitivity and procedural errors," the statement quotes Werner as saying. "I would like to officially apologize in the name of the board if anybody has felt harmed by this lack of cultural sensitivity."
The video opens with a shot of the new Volkswagen Golf parked on a street. A dark-skinned man is shown being pushed down the street past the car by the oversized finger of a white person's right hand, almost knocking him over.
When the man looks at the car, the left hand seems to grab him by the head and turn him in the direction of the building behind the car. The right hand then re-enters the frame and seems to flick the man into a bar called the "Petit Colon", which in French means "The Little Settler".
The ad has a strong undercurrent of colonialism. Jürgen Stackmann, who is responsible for Volkswagen's marketing, said he thought it was a forgery the first time he saw it.
"We are rightfully accused of a lack of intercultural sensitivity in this case, and as the member of the board in charge of marketing and sales services, I take responsibility," he said. The racist ad is not the first problem of this kind that Volkswagen has had to address.
In March 2019 the board of supervisons of the automobile manufacturer condemned remarks made by the head of the whole enterprise, Herbert Diess, when he referenced a Nazi slogan. Speaking at an event held by the firm, Diess attempted to emphasize the necessity of increasing profits by saying "EBIT macht frei" ("EBIT makes one free").
"EBIT" is an acronym for profits "earned before interest and taxes". Diess later apologized for his remarks and explained that under no circumstances had he intended the remarks as a reference the Nazi slogan "Arbeit macht frei" ("Work makes one free"), which hung in metalwork over the entrance to the Auschwitz concentration camp.
- The Central Council of German Sinti and Roma is deeply saddened by the death of Holocaust survivor and Roma civil rights activist Raymond Gurême
- Germany: AfD press spokesperson fired after claiming to be of "Aryan" origin and espousing fascism
- Germany: Halle terrorist charged with double murder and 68 counts of attempted murder
- Germany: Extremist group in the AfD party says it is dissolving
- Germany: Xenophobic party apologizes for racist coloring book after sharp criticism
- Another victim of the German terrorist attack, a young man from Romania, is also from the Roma minority
- German Interior Minister: Hanau terrorist attack motivated by racism, neo-Nazis have attacked three times in just a few months
- Young Romani woman was a victim of German shooting spree
- German shooting spree is being investigated as a terrorist attack
- Germany: Anti-migrant xenophobic gunman kills 11 in horrifying spree, he and his mother then found dead
- Germany: Head of the state of Thuringia resigns within 24 hours after extremist party plays kingmaker role
- German shop selling beer with neo-Nazi symbolism
- German academic institution to hold seminar on the influence of ethnic discrimination on Romani health
- Germany: Right-wing extremists "patrolling" in Berlin
- German Govt approves measures to combat right-wing extremism, requires social media firms to report IP addresses of users making death threats
- Czech politician who relies on hatred ties himself in knots over the ultra-right terrorism in Germany
- Governing politicians call the ultra-right Alternative for Germany "spiritual arsonists"
- Germany: Neo-Nazi kills two people near synagogue and kebab place, motivated by antisemitism and right-wing extremism
- Germany: Vandals cut down tree honoring victims of neo-Nazi terrorists
- Jaroslav Miko: Romani voters must cast their ballots for a democratic coalition, otherwise anti-Romani extremists may get into government
- Albanian comedy shows feature blackface, prejudice and stereotypes about Romani people
- Romani associations distance themselves from community member who apparently expressed desire to attack Czech politician
- Mayor and police in Czech town correct the record about assault incident to make clear Romani people were not involved as first alleged
- Germany's Supreme Court rejects appeal filed by racially-motivated murderer of 10 people
- Slovak President and Plenipotentiary for Roma object to wave of hate and racism following announcement of Pope's visit to Romani neighborhood
- Czech Pirates sharply criticize bill to toughen welfare eligibility, delaying a vote
- Czech football club Sparta has identified the fans who shouted racist insults at Monaco player, filed a crime report against them and banned them from stadiums
- Woman says intercity bus driver in northern Czech town racially abused her and called for the death of all Roma before physically throwing her onto a road
- "Kamara - just a n****r" - Czech Police looking for football fans who published racist banner
- Czech court upholds conviction for making dangerous threats after neighbor threatens to kill three Romani women and their children with an ax
- T-Mobile, general partner of Czech Republic's Sparta Prague football club, calls meeting with their leadership over their fans' racism