German Volkswagen pulled a social media ad for a new car and apologized after a protest over its racist implications.
The ten-second ad posted on Instagram and Twitter shows a huge white hand pushing a black man away from a new yellow Volkswagen Golf parked on the street, then moving him to an open door and throwing him into a French cafe.
Social media commentators also noted that, as the German slogan "Der Neue Golf" – "The New Golf" – comes into view, the jumble of letters can be interpreted as a racial slur for a brief moment.
And the name of the cafe is Petit Colon, which in French literally means "Little Colonist".
Volkswagen told the Associated Press on Wednesday that the video had been released and that "we can understand outrage and anger".
"Without a doubt: the video is inappropriate and tasteless," wrote Volkswagen. "We are going to clarify how something like this could happen and there will be consequences."
The Wolfsburg carmaker, founded under the Nazis to produce "the people's car", said that, given its history, it has always sought "to stand against all forms of racism, xenophobia and discrimination".
"Many initiatives in the company and in our global workforce promote diversity, integration and cooperation without prejudice," said Volkswagen. "It makes it even more annoying that we made that mistake."