More Diversity Follies
Audi Ad features hijabbed woman holding gay flag.
Audi wants to sell you a car, and since we live in woke clown world, Audi execs apparently decided that the best way to induce you to choose their product over all the other automobiles on the market was to put out a video celebrating diversity. Now, speaking strictly for myself, this is a real champion move. When I’m shopping for a car, absolutely tops on my list is not whether it offers a smooth ride, gets good gas mileage, is well-built, and is comfortable, but whether its automotive sponsors have put out enough videos featuring happy brown people in all manner of colorful costumes. In that department, Audi is way out front. But like so many woke Leftist corporations, in their haste to celebrate all this diversity, they’ve stepped on a rake; the ad features a symbol of radical intolerance and misogyny amid all the exotica. Nice way to spoil the party, Audi!
Audi tweeted the video with the heading: “For #EUDiversityMonth, #Audi is setting an example when it comes to #diversity. This video shows what that means and why diversity is only effective through #inclusion. #CelebrateDiversity.” It starts out in ominous black and white, as a male (sorry if I misgendered any voice actors!) voice intones dramatically, “A world devoid of different shapes. A world devoid of different designs.” Then Audi’s four-ring logo appears in brilliant rainbow colors, as the voice, a bit happier now, proclaims, “The four rings stand for being colorful.” The ominous music gives way to a pulsing, upbeat theme, as the announcer continues, “The four rings stand for being diverse. The four rings stand for individuality.” All the while, we are treated to images of wonderfully diverse, colorful people, who no doubt all think exactly the same way. “We live diversity,” says Audi’s voice. “Audi together.” The ad ends with the four rings, again in the rainbow colors, with “#WeLiveDiversity” written underneath.
How wonderful! Audi lives diversity, while all the other auto manufacturers are doubtless wearing Klan robes and trying to sign up Bull Connor as a pitchman. In reality, of course, this is just more of the dreary Leftist agitprop that we’re inundated with everywhere every day, and it should make any Americans who are tired of being relentlessly propagandized less likely, not more likely, to buy an Audi.
But there is a fly in Audi’s diversity ointment. As the announcer declares that “the four rings stand for being colorful,” a woman in a black hijab, staring straight at the camera with absolute solemnity, slowly lifts up a gay rainbow flag that she is holding in both hands. In this, we see once again that the Left’s grand coalition of allegedly marginalized communities cannot possibly hold, because it is riven with internal contradictions that are becoming increasingly obvious.
Audi is so busy celebrating diversity that it no doubt doesn’t realize precisely what kind of rake it has stepped on, so it bears explaining. The hijab is a visible sign that a woman adheres to Islamic law: the Qur’an tells women to “draw their veils close around them” so that they are “not molested” (33:59). Islamic law also mandates the death penalty for homosexual activity. Thus the possibility of a Muslim woman who wears the hijab raising the gay flag is quite small.
To be sure, many women wear the hijab not because they freely choose to do so, but because they’re forced. Untold numbers of women worldwide have been threatened, brutalized, or even killed for not wearing it, and understandably, some women who don’t like it or believe in the premises involved nonetheless wear it so as to avoid the trouble that would come to them for not wearing it. Some of these women support gay rights. Such women, however, are unlikely in the extreme to make a public show of that support, as that would constitute an offense similar to the one they would be committing if they didn’t wear the hijab.
Audi is thus giving us the fantasy Islam that so many non-Muslims in the West assume exists. The fantasy, however, is inevitably going to give way to the reality that we glimpsed recently at Western University in London, Ontario, where Muslim students were enraged that two hijab-wearing women were depicted as about to kiss on a gay pride poster. Audi’s video, if Muslim hardliners happen to see it, may end up inspiring the same rage, and instead of congratulating themselves for their marvelous celebration of diversity, stunned Audi execs will be fielding charges of “Islamophobia” and insulting Islam. That eventuality, in fact, is much more likely than the fantasy Islam they depict in their video.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 23 books including many bestsellers, such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The Truth About Muhammad and The History of Jihad. His latest book is The Critical Qur’an. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.