*A Russian sushi delivery chain was forced to remove ads featuring a Black man after receiving death threats.
Yobidoyobi, which has stores in 65 Russian cities, issued an apology on its social media accounts. Per CBS News, the restaurant’s owner Konstantin Zimen said he was bombarded by death threats from a nationalist hate group over the advertisement.
The ad features a Black male model surrounded by three white women eating sushi.
Zimen said the attacks came from the hate group “Male State.” The movement’s leader, Vladislav Pozdnyakov, previously threatened Russian women with biracial children, LGBTQ and feminist activists, per the report.
The group boasts on social media of having over 100,000 members.
“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 his personal phone number was leaked online, leading to dozens of death threats.
“Yobidoyobi is known for its provocative marketing, but this time we did not pursue these goals — we just made a very ordinary promo for social networks. Many brands use images of different models, which may differ in skin color, gender, and so on,” Zimen told the Inc. Russia outlet. “There was no provocation in this — it is just the voice of the times. I am sorry that someone thinks that a photo of a Black man (especially next to supposedly “Slavic” girls) on the Internet is unacceptable.”
Yobidoyobi also took down a second ad that featured the same Black man eating sushi.
Yobidoyobi apologized “to the Russian nation” for having “hurt the Russian people” with images of Black people.