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Cadillac Cancels Neo-Nazi Ad After Online Outrage

The Cadillac corporate logo  (Photo by Mark Renders/Getty Images)
The Cadillac corporate logo (Photo by Mark Renders/Getty Images)

Do you love racism and think there’s a global Jewish conspiracy to control the world’s money supply? Then Cadillac might be the car brand for you. Or, at least, that was the basic pitch when Cadillac’s ad agency put out a casting call for people who identify as alt-right and neo-Nazi.

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The casting notice was condemned on social media on Friday and was altered to remove the word “neo-Nazi.” The new ad still sought people who identified as “alt-right.” It should probably be noted, however, that the two political identities overlap in virtually every way.

Cadillac disavowed the casting call today in a Facebook post, explaining that they didn’t authorize their ad agency to seek out neo-Nazis to be featured in a commercial:

Cadillac did not authorize or approve a casting notice for an “alt-right (neo-nazi)“ role in a commercial. We unequivocally condemn the notice and are seeking immediate answers from our creative agency, production company and any casting companies involved.

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The casting agency was seeking “real people” for a Cadillac ad where those people would testify how much they love their cars. The agency said that the listing was a mistake and that the person responsible has been fired.

The ad was supposed to feature a mix of people, including a taxi driver, an Olympian, and US military service members. Somewhat ironically, the casting notice that was looking for neo-Nazis was sure to mention that they were seeking neo-Nazis of any ethnicity. But they were only interested in “Real Alt-Right thinkers!” between the ages of 20 and 40 years old.

Casting notice for a Cadillac TV ad that was seeking “ALT-RIGHT (NEO-NAZI)” people (Twitter)
Casting notice for a Cadillac TV ad that was seeking “ALT-RIGHT (NEO-NAZI)” people (Twitter)

“The notice was drafted by an employee, who was immediately terminated for her actions,” the casting agency said in a statement to Reuters. “Additionally an outside third party further altered the breakdown without our knowledge and posted it on social media. Cadillac unequivocally did not authorize this notice or anything like it, and we apologize to Cadillac for the ex-employee’s actions.”

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What’s perhaps most terrifying about the ad (and weakens the credibility that this was some mistake) was that the agency understood it would be controversial. The listing explained that the commercial would feature people from “all walks of life in America” and that they’d be “standing together as a union.” The listing went on to say that, “This is not meant to be offensive in any way. Just a representation of all sides.”

Again, wording like that certainly makes it sound like the agency at the very least understood that they were about to produce something which would be incredibly offensive.

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It’s not clear if Cadillac still plans on doing a version of the ad that won’t feature a neo-Nazi. But at least for now we know that the neo-Nazi character has been cut. Given the rise of neo-fascism in the United States, I guess it’s the small victories, huh?

[Reuters]

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Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog

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DISCUSSION

So in theory, Cadillac / GM’s marketing were looking at penetrating the alt-right and Neo Nazi demographic. Cadillac must have spent months doing research and there were probably more than a few meetings with executive management on the potential of Neo Nazi buyers. Then after it was approved by management, Cadillac marketing sent their advertising agencies the spec on producing ads and placement in the Neo Nazi market. The advertising agencies then produced presentations on their particular ads and one was approved by Cadillac marketing and management. Then some low-level person at the agency placed the ad for talent based exclusively on what she was told by the agency management. But she was the one who gets fired .. because you know .. it’s all her fault.