Prague, Jan 4 (CTK) – The Lidl discount supermarket chain yesterday rejected the criticism of a black male model in the latest Czech leaflet promoting its products, labelling the reactions that people addressed to its Facebook profile racist, Lidl writes in a statement sent to CTK.
Lidl said sporadic displays of racism appeared on its Czech Facebook profile in the past, but never in such numbers as now.
In reaction to the customers who called for white models only and protested against the multi-culti style, the company said the Czech Republic is part of Europe in which people of various ethnicities and various races live.
“The leaflet for the Czech Republic is prepared exclusively with regard to the products that are advertised and we use both our own and international materials for it. We will keep this process unchanged,” Lidl said in the statement.
Some customers said they would no longer do their shopping in Lidl due to the leaflet.
A number of people supported Lidl, while others ridiculed the racist comments on social networking websites. “I read in the leaflet that you sell brown bread, black tea and Arabic coffee! However, every decent Czech knows that only white bread, white tea and white coffee is correct,” one of them wrote. Hinting at the freshly fallen snow, another one recommended that those who want the world to be white go outside.
Agriculture Minister Marian Jurecka (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) said on Twitter it was stupid to criticise a black youth in the leaflet. Human Rights Minister Jan Chvojka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said he decided to buy his new sports clothes in Lidl.
Miroslav Mares, an expert in extremism from Masaryk University in Brno, said people who make racist comments do not face as much disapproval in Czech society now as they did 20 years ago.
Mares said the incident is also related to the development of social networking sites. He said people with extremist views often like to provoke and present themselves on the Internet and they consider themselves more important than they are.
It seems more and more evident that the legal instruments against a wave of online extremist statements are helpless, Mares said.