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Red Bull Apologizes For Posting A Video Of People In Blackface Chasing A Banana
A man in an Obama mask also was among the group, captured on video in Russia, chasing after a man in a banana costume.
This was the scene in Moscow on Sunday as participants took part in Red Bull Flugtag Russia 2015. The competition is simple: You build a homemade glider craft and fling yourself off of something high and hope the thing stays together.
Competitors are also awarded points for creativity, which helps explain the presence of these people in Putin and Obama masks from a team that calls itself "Dollar Goodbye."
On Tuesday, though, Red Bull posted a video titled "Best of Moscow Flugtag" to its Russian-language page. It was later reposted on its English-language page. And that's when this clip surfaced:
The video was removed from Red Bull's site later on Friday. And copies of it on YouTube have been taken down due to copyright claims from Red Bull.
Russians' racism towards people of African descent — particularly from its soccer fans — isn't exactly a secret. And it's not the first time that Russians have expressed racism towards Obama, as in this projection onto the American embassy in 2014.
At first, Red Bull defended the video. “Of course it’s not an expression of racism,” Vadim Shevchenko, a spokesperson for Red Bull, told The Guardian. “If you had been there you would understand. The situation was absolutely friendly and happy.”
But it reversed course later on Friday in a statement given to TIME:
The organizers of the Red Bull Flugtag in Russia regret our oversight in allowing these participants to tarnish what was otherwise an enjoyable event. It is never our intention to give a platform which would promote an offensive message. For the future, we will take more effective measures to prevent this sort of thing happening again.
Corporate Systems, the Russian company that sponsored "Dollar Good-Bye," when asked about the banana chase told BuzzFeed News via email "probably it is just a joke or a flesh mob [sic]."