Volkswagen execs ‘horrified’ over racist ad showing large white hands flicking a black man

By Nicole Lyn Pesce

The German automaker initially said critics ‘misunderstood’ the Instagram clip, which has been pulled


Volkswagen is shifting gears after previously defending an advertisement that it now agrees was racist.

The video posted to its German Instagram and Facebook FB, +1.52% accounts showed a pair of oversized white hands appearing to push and pull a black man away from a yellow VW Golf 8 car packed on a street. The Volkswagen VWAGY, -0.49% advert was supposed to mimic popular social media videos that show one person appearing to be controlled by another like a puppet, but something was definitely lost in translation.

What’s more, one of the white hands then flicked the black man into a cafe called “Petit Colon,” which translates into “Little Settler” from French to English, or “Little Colonist” from German to English, the BBC reported.

German television also noted that the letters that start appearing on the screen afterward first spell out “neger” — which can be used as the German equivalent of the n-word — before merging into the slogan “Der Neue Golf,” or “The New Golf.”

The online backlash was swift, with many on Twitter TWTR, +0.86% sharing saved clips and screenshots of the now-deleted ad, and calling out Volkswagen’s roots in the German Nazi party.


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