Russian restaurant withdraws ad featuring black man after death threats from far-right group
Moscow – A Russian sushi delivery chain has apologized on its social media accounts after posting an ad featuring a black man. The restaurant owner said he was bombarded with death threats by a nationalist hate group and forced to remove the ad.
Yobidoyobi, which has stores in 65 Russian cities, released its first ad featuring a black model – a man surrounded by three women with Slavic features – on August 14. He followed up on the campaign two weeks later by posting another photo of the same man going to bed. sushi, and the chain’s social media accounts were quickly inundated with hateful comments.
Yobidoyobi founder Konstantin Zimen attributed the attacks to a hate group called “Male State,” and said the barrage of threats came after movement leader Vladislav Pozdnyakov shared the channel’s announcement. on his accounts.
Male State and Pozdnyakov, which describes itself as a movement promoting “traditional values” in Russia, have previously threatened Russian women with biracial children, LGBTQ and feminist activists, and others.
The group boasts on its social media pages of having over 100,000 members. Pozdnyakov was previously convicted of inciting hatred against women and was given a suspended sentence in 2018, which was overturned a year later.
“On the Pozdnyakov telegram channel, his subscribers call for ‘real’ actions, they post links to the social media accounts of the girls who were also in the ad and write negative reviews on all sites, cards in online, AppStore and Google Play, ”Zimen wrote in a letter posted to his blog.
He added that he had received numerous death threats and had his personal phone number leaked online, resulting in dozens of hate calls.
Pozdnyakov also called on his supporters to post bogus orders and then refuse to pay for food in an attempt to harm Yobidoyobi’s business, Zimen said.
“Yobidoyobi is known for its provocative marketing, but this time we didn’t pursue those goals – we just did a very ordinary promotion for social media. Many brands use images of different models, which may differ in terms. skin color, gender, etc., “Zimen told Inc. Russia. “There was no provocation in that – it’s just the voice of the time. I’m sorry anyone thinks a picture of a black man (especially next to so-called girls” slavs “) on the Internet is unacceptable.”
Yobidoyobi removed the ads and posted an apology on his Instagram page: “On behalf of the entire company, we want to apologize for offending the public with our photos. We have removed all content that caused this hype. . “
On their page Vkontakte, the Russian Facebook-like social media network where the male state has risen to prominence, Yobidoyobi said he apologized “to the Russian nation” for “hurting the Russian people. With the photographs.
Many Yobidoyobi Instagram followers were outraged that the ads were removed.
“Are you not ashamed yourself of this shameful apology, written as if the Taliban armed with machine guns were standing above you?” one person asked.
The incident with Yobidoyobi comes weeks after a Russian grocery chain, VkusVill, removed an ad campaign featuring an LGBTQ family, prompting a massive backlash. The gay family that appeared in the promo has since fled Russia, citing death threats.