A 10-Second Volkswagen Ad Spurs Outrage

Viewers found it racist in more ways than one
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 20, 2020 11:35 AM CDT
A 10-Second Volkswagen Ad Spurs Outrage
In this Aug. 1, 2018, file photo, a Volkswagen logo is pictured on top of a company building in Wolfsburg, Germany.   (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, file)

Germany's Volkswagen has pulled a social media ad for a new car and apologized after an outcry over its racist overtones. The 10-second spot posted on Instagram and Twitter shows a massive white hand pushing a black man away from beside a new yellow Volkswagen Golf parked on the street, then moving him to an open doorway and flicking him inside a French cafe. Commentators on social media also noted that as the German-language slogan "Der Neue Golf" ("The New Golf") fades into view, the jumble of letters can be read as a racial slur (the n-word in German, per the Telegraph) for a brief moment. And the cafe's name is Petit Colon, which in French literally means the "Little Colonist." (The ad is viewable here.)

Volkswagen addressed the outrage on Instagram, reports the Telegraph, writing that the "origin of the people depicted is irrelevant" and that the company was against "all forms of racism, xenophobia, and discrimination. ... As you can imagine, we are surprised and shocked that our Instagram story could be so misunderstood." Volkswagen told the AP on Wednesday that the video had been pulled and that "we can understand the outrage and anger." It continued, "Without question: The video is inappropriate and tasteless. We will clarify how something like this could happen, and there will be consequences." (VW had a similar ad issue in 2013.)

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