- Volkswagen is facing backlash over a racist advertisement posted to its Instagram page.
- The ad was removed on Wednesday.
- Company executives have since publicly apologized for it and vowed
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories .
Volkswagen has apologized for and removed an advertisement on its Instagram page for its new eighth-gen Golf after it was called racist.
The company is publicly taking responsibility for the ad with a lengthy joint statement from the brand's head of sales and marketing Juergen Stackmann and Volkswagen's head of diversity, Elke Heitmueller.
"We posted a racist advertising video on Volkswagen's Instagram channel," they said in the apology. "We understand the public outrage at this. Because we're horrified, too. This video is an insult to all achievements of the civil rights movement. It is an insult to every decent person."
The controversial ad shows a light-skinned hand plucking and flicking a dark-skinned man away from a brand-new, yellow Volkswagen Golf. He then flicks him into a restaurant with the name Petit Colon above the door, which translates to Little Colonist or Little Settler.
German television also suggested that the light-skinned hand could be seen as making a "white power" gesture, Reuters said.
Originally, Volkswagen responded it was "surprised and shocked that our Instagram story could be so misunderstood" on Instagram, according to the BBC .
The ad was pulled on Wednesday.
"I sincerely apologize as an individual in my capacity as a board member at Volkswagen Sales & Marketing. Hatred, racism, and discrimination have no place at Volkswagen!" Stackmann wrote on Twitter in German. "In this case, I will personally ensure full transparency and consequences!"
A screenshot of the full Volkswagen statement, written in German, accompanied the tweet.
"We at Volkswagen are aware of the historical origins and the guilt of our company during the Nazi regime," the statement reads. "That is precisely why we resolutely oppose all forms of hatred, slander/propaganda, and discrimination."
Volkswagen's origins are tied to Nazi Germany, where it produced vehicles for the war effort .
A Volkswagen spokesperson told Reuters its ads are produced by agencies and that the company is currently investigating.
Volkswagen did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.
You can view the ad on YouTube below.
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