VW admits failings over racist ad after internal review
“We have found a lack of sensitivity and procedural errors,” said Volkswagen’s legal director Hiltrud Werner.
“Even after the first warning from the social media community, some colleagues were not attentive and reactive enough,” she added.
Volkswagen was forced to apologize in mid-May for an advert promoting the carmaker’s flagship Golf 8 model posted to its social media.
The clip showed a black man being pushed around on the street by an oversized white hand. When the words “Der neue Golf” (the new Golf) gradually appeared on the screen at the end, a combination of letters resembling the word “Neger” (nigger) emerged.
Werner said the car manufacturer had not yet decided whether there would be lay-offs as a result of the ad, but expressed confidence in the judgement of the disciplinary and personnel committees.
“Personnel consequences will only follow if we [find staff] deliberately and knowingly violated our code of conduct and our values,” Werner said.
Though the video had been problematic, Volkswagen’s current stance was that “no racist intentions played a role in the acceptance of the video,” she added.
“Integrity also means that we, as managers and as a company, stand before our employees even when mistakes have occurred. There will therefore be no sacrificing of pawns,” Werner said.