Volkswagen issues apology for racist ad

Daniel Fowler
May 23, 2020

It was supposed to mimic videos put up on social media where one person appears to be controlling another like a puppet.

Volkswagen has formally apologized for a since-pulled advertisement following accusations of racism and insensitivity.

The 10-second commercial, posted on Instagram Tuesday, features a large white hand shoving a black man away from a yellow Volkswagen Golf parked on the street, then flicking him inside of a French cafe.

In an attached statement, the automaker's head of diversity, Elke Heitmüller, said the public outrage is understandable because "we are horrified ourselves". They further added that "we at Volkswagen are aware of the historical origins and the guilt of our company during the Nazi Regime". And we particularly apologize to those who feel that the racist content has personally injured them through their own history.

It said that given its history it has always sought to 'position itself against all forms of racism, xenophobia and discrimination'.

How major US stock indexes fared Friday
West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices slumped as much as 9% amid broader risk-off sentiment before settling roughly 1.5% lower. Earlier in Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng slid more than 5% to a seven-week low, its biggest daily percentage fall since 2015.

© Volkswagen A screen grab of the advert. Volkswagen has withdrawn the video, but it was re-posted elsewhere on social media. The official relationship between the Nazi concentration camps and Volkswagen was cemented when the Fallersleben facility officially became a subcamp of the Neuengamme concentration camp.

Last year, Volkswagen- which also operates Audi, Skoda, Seat, and Porsche brands - came under fire and was forced to apologize after CEO Herbert Diess used the expression "Ebit macht frei", or, "Ebit sets you free". In light of that, Stackmann and Heitmüllerare say.

"We're ashamed of it and can not explain how it came about".

A Volkswagen spokesman said agencies usually produced its advertising campaigns and it was investigating where the mistake happened.

In 2013 there was controversy in the United States after the firm aired a Superbowl advert with the character of a white man from Minnesota, speaking with a Jamaican accent, exhorting colleagues to be more relaxed in their approach to life. Ebit is short for earnings before interest and tax and is a measure of company profits.

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