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
- Czech court sentences perpetrator to five years for racist assault on Romani man, both defense and prosecution considering appeal
- COMMENTARY: Romani actors should refuse to perpetuate stereotypes in Czech television programs
- Commentary: Work on antisemitism by US professor reminds us of antigypsyism in the Czech Republic today
- European Commission acknowledges racism is structural and beefs up the fight against racial discrimination
- German police officers who joined neo-Nazi groups online are being disciplined and dismissed in one state
- Czech town to see exhibition by pro-Romani and Romani artists referencing the Black Lives Matter movement
- COMMENTARY: Even if the Czech Public Defender of Rights repeats the same lie about Roma a thousand times, that won't make it true
- Czech primary school materials feature a total of 71 sentences about Roma - and they promote stereotypes
- Czech school claims it's "random" that white children are segregated from Romani children in separate first-grade class
- Newest Czech party tries to exploit altercations between Vlax Romani families as part of its election campaign
- Czech commentator expected stronger condemnation by politicians of the racist reactions to the worst arson attack since 1990
- VIDEO: European Roma Holocaust Memorial ceremony at Auschwitz was virtual this year, Slovak and Austrian Presidents spoke