Volkswagen has pulled an ad featuring Golf cars from its Instagram page and apologised for being "racist" and "distasteful". According to multiple media reports including BBC and Reuters, the ad reportedly featured a large pair of white hands "push and then flick" a black man away from the yellow Golf into a cafe known as "Petit Colon", which also translates from French to German as "Little Colonist". The audio in the background contained "a woman's laughter, upbeat music, and comedic sound effects", BBC added.
According to the BBC, German television said that the hand could be thought of as making a "white power" gesture, and that the letters which appear subsequently briefly spell out a racist slur in German. Volkswagen's board member for sales and marketing Juergen Stackmann and head of diversity management Elke Heitmueller, apologised on LinkedIn and Twitter.
According to the screenshot of the apology, both Stackmann and Heitmueller said they understand the public horror surrounding the ad and that they themselves are horrified. "It is an insult to all achievements of the civil rights movement. It insults every decent person," the statement added.
The statement added that Volkswagen is aware of its historical origins and guilt of the company during the Nazi regime. "That is precisely why we resolutely oppose all forms of hatred and discrimination," it added. Volkswagen was founded in 1937 when Adolf Hitler was still in power to as part of an effort to build the "people's car", according to the BBC, which added that the automotive company "forced labourers" for the Nazi war effort.
"Volkswagen is at home all over the world today. And the whole world is at home with us. Every skin color, every religion, every gender identity. That is our gross wealth. That is who we are and this video is the opposite of what we are," the statement added. Both Stackmann and Heitmueller also apologised to individuals who feel that the racist content has personally hurt them through their own history.
We apologise to the entire public for this film. And we particularly apologize to those who feel that the racist content has personally injured them through their own history.
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