A Russian sushi delivery chain has publicly apologized for an advertisement that featured a black man after its owner received death threats from an ultra-nationalist hate group.
The Krasnoyarsk-based YobiDoyobi chain’s Aug. 14 social media ad showed a photograph of a black man surrounded by three young women of Slavic appearance.
Yobidoyobi co-founder Konstantin Zimen said he and his business received a barrage of threats and abuse after Vladislav Pozdnyakov, the leader of the “Male State” nationalist anti-woman movement, shared the ad on social media.
“Pozdnyakov’s followers advocated for ‘real actions’ against our brand. They are publishing the social media profiles of the women that took part in the advertisement and are writing negative reviews on all review sites, online maps, App Store, Google Play,” Zimen told news website VC.ru.
While the business initially said it would not give in to pressure, it removed the advert on Saturday and published an apology on its social media accounts.
“On behalf of the entire company, we want to apologize for offending the public with our photos. We have removed all the content that caused this commotion," it said on Instagram.
On the VKontakte social media site, the chain changed the wording of its statement to apologize “the Russian nation” for “offending Russians.”
YobiDoyobi’s apology comes weeks after popular Russian organic grocer VkusVill pulled its promotional material featuring an LGBT family and replaced it with an apology after facing backlash. The same-sex family who appeared in the ad have since fled Russia, citing death threats.
Pozdnyakov, who founded the “Male State” hate group that boasted 150,000 members on social media at its peak, was convicted of inciting hatred toward women and handed a suspended sentence in 2018. His sentence was overturned the following year.
In July, Pozdnikov led a hate campaign against the Russian wife of a Nigerian student who had drowned while rescuing a swimmer in western Russia’s Kaliningrad region.