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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.

Last updated on August 4, 2015, at 10:04 a.m. ET

Posted on July 31, 2015, at 5:52 p.m. ET

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.

Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters
Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters

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."

Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters

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:

Guys in blackface & Obama mask chase banana at Moscow @RedBull event—no racism here @robustmsk

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.

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.

View this video on YouTube

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.”

Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters

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]."

Corporate Systems

"The members of another team asked the person from 'Dollar, goodbye!' dressed as Obama to take a part in a funny mock race and nothing more. There were no racism [sic] intentions here," the company said, noting that it provided the money to build the group's flying machine but didn't have a role in planning the routine or costumes worn.

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