Last month, Red Bull celebrated its Flugtag Russia event, in which competitors are tasked with building creative homemade gliders that are then piloted off of high piers or similar platforms. Rarely do the gadgets ever become airborne, and, for the most part, they’re judged purely for their entertainment value.
Apparently, one of the best stunts Red Bull claims to have seen during the course of the Moscow contest involved men dressed in blackface and a Barack Obama impersonator chasing someone in a banana costume. Footage of the troubling scene was included in the energy drink company’s “Best of Moscow Flugtag” video.
Vadim Shevchenko, a spokesman for Red Bull, initially defended the clip and its posting. “Of course it’s not an expression of racism,” he told The Guardian. “If you had been there you would understand. The situation was absolutely friendly and happy.”
Since the video first emerged, talk of the controversy hasn’t died down. Now, feeling the heat, Red Bull’s not only pulled the highlights clip from its official websites, but finally offered up an apology. Per 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.
The video at the top of this post reveals this incident along with other times Russia has shown its racist side.