Russian Restaurant Apologizes, Pulls Ad Featuring Black Man After Receiving Death Threats from Far-Right Group

A photo used by Russia sushi restaurant chain Yobidoyobi, which the chain’s founder said had been taken down due to a backlash against the use of a Black model.

A Russian sushi delivery chain issued an apology on its social media accounts after posting an ad featuring a Black man. The restaurant’s owner said he was bombarded by death threats from a nationalist hate group and forced to take down the advertisement.

Yobidoyobi, which has stores in 65 Russian cities, posted its first ad featuring a Black model — a man surrounded by three women with Slavic features — on August 14. It followed up on the campaign two weeks later posting another picture of the same man easting sushi, and the chain’s social media accounts were quickly flooded with hateful comments.

Yobidoyobi founder, Konstantin Zimen, attributed the attacks to a hate group called “Male State,” and said the barrage of threats came after the movement’s leader, Vladislav Pozdnyakov, shared the chain’s ad on his accounts.

Male State and Pozdnyakov, which describes itself as a movement promoting “traditional values” in Russia, have previously threatened Russian women with biracial children, LGBTQ and feminist activists, and others.

The group boasts on its social media pages of having over 100,000 members. Pozdnyakov has been convicted previously of inciting hatred toward women and was given a suspended sentence in 2018, which was overturned a year later.

“On Pozdnyakov’s telegram channel, his followers call for ‘real’ actions, they publish links to the social media accounts of the girls who were also featured in the ad, and write negative reviews on all sites, online maps, AppStore, and Google Play,” Zimen wrote in a letter published on his blog.

He added that he had received numerous deaths threats and that his personal phone number was leaked online, leading to dozens of hateful calls.

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SOURCE: CBS News, Mary Ilyushina

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