afaqs! news bureau

Volkswagen pulls racist ad off air, issues an apology

The ad shows a dark-skinned man being pushed around by a fairer hand and has since drawn a lot of backlash from the international community.

After facing international backlash over an ad that showed a dark-skinned man being pushed around by a fair-skinned hand, Volkswagen has issued a public apology. Below is the ad in question, for the car Volkswagen Golf.

Users on social media were quick to point out that the cafe in the ad is named 'Petit Colon' which translates to 'Little Settler' in French and that the ad contained other racist overtones. The ad seemed to portray the fair-skinned man pushing the dark-skinned man around to prevent him from touching the new Volkswagen Golf car. Users also posted screenshots that indicated that the German slogan "Der Neue Golf" (which means "The New Golf") fades in and at a glance, spells out the German word "Neger" - a racial slur in the language.

Twitter users also pointed out that when the German slogan "Der Neue Golf" (which means "The New Golf") fades in, the letters which fade in first spell out a word in German, "neger", which is a racial slur in the language.

DW News reports that VW initially responded by saying that the "origin of the people depicted is irrelevant" and that the firm opposed "all forms of racism, xenophobia and discrimination. As you can imagine, we are surprised and shocked that our Instagram story could be so misunderstood," the company added.

This statement, coupled with the withdrawal of the ad prompted a second round of backlash with Twitter users claiming that Volkswagen was neither taking responsibility nor truly apologising for the clip. DW news reported that VW issued a more comprehensive apology, saying "without doubt: The video was wrong and tasteless," and that it understood why people were upset by it. We distance ourselves from this and apologize," they said, promising consequences and an investigation.