Racist commercial – VW sees itself misunderstood, but apologizes

The Volkswagen Group is often in the headlines right now because of the Corona crisis. But now the company has another problem: VW has uploaded an advertising spot on social networks – but many users consider this to be racist.

Powerful annoyance for VW: Because of an advertising spot posted on the image and video platform Instagram, many users in social networks criticize the group as racist.

The short sequence shows a black man being pushed through the picture by a huge white hand and then snapped into the entrance of a house. For a moment, towards the end of the advertising film for the new Golf model, a sequence of letters can be seen, the insertion of which suggests the N-word.

At first it was unclear whether the sequence, which was also circulating on the short message service Twitter, is actually real. A VW spokesman confirmed the authenticity and apologized for the commercial. “This advertisement is inappropriate and tasteless,” he said. And further: “We will explain how this could happen – and draw the consequences.”

VW deletes commercial

An apology from VW was also spread on Instagram. “As you can imagine, we are surprised and shocked that our Instagram story can be so misunderstood,” wrote VW. In the meantime, the carmaker had the original clip deleted.

The apology met with criticism again in places. A user wrote on Instagram: “Everything just imagined and a misunderstanding? Sorry, but we are not imagining racism.”

To what extent the commercial is an attempt by VW to distract from its actual problems in the corona crisis has so far been unclear. In April the VW group sold two thirds fewer cars. On Tuesday it became known that CEO Herbert Diess and Supervisory Board boss Hans Dieter Pötsch are not convicted – against a million payment. The background is the diesel scandal.

It is not the first time that a company with negative PR has hit the headlines. For example, luxury goods manufacturer Dior caused a shitstorm last year after a commercial was released for a perfume in which actor Johnny Depp was associated with Native Americans.

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