General Motors was under fire this weekend after a casting call sought members of the controversial alt-right movement for a Cadillac commercial.
According to an image posted by the news agency Reuters and many, many others, the casting notice said an agency filming the ad was looking for “any and all real alt-right thinkers/believers.”
“This is a beautifully artistic spot that is capturing all walks of life of America,” the casting call says, adding that it would be filmed later this month. “Standing together as a union. This is not meant to be offensive in anyway. Just a representation of all sides. Thank you.”
The alt-right, or alternative right, is an extremist movement that seeks a whites-only state.
The casting call, circulated on Twitter and Facebook, said an agency was looking for men and women of all ethnicities between ages 20 and 40 for a project known as “Cadillac – REAL PEOPLE.”
— gina young (@ohginayoung) December 10, 2016
Cadillac tried to quell the criticism with postings on Twitter and Facebook, saying: “Cadillac did not authorize or approve a casting notice for an ‘alt-right (neo-nazi)’ role in a commercial. We unequivocally condemn the notice and are seeking immediate answers from our creative agency, production company and any casting companies involved.”
But even that statement garnered dozens of negative comments on Cadillac’s Facebook page.
— Chase Strangio (@chasestrangio) December 10, 2016
The Cast Station, a TV and film commercial casting company that seeks actors in several major cities, said on Facebook that the casting call was a mistake.
“The notice was drafted by an employee, who was immediately terminated for her actions,” the statement said. “Additionally an outside third party further altered the breakdown without our knowledge and posted it on social media. Cadillac unequivocally did not authorize this notice or anything like it, and we apologize to Cadillac for the ex-employee’s actions.”
A key figure in the alt-right movement is Stephen K. Bannon, President-elect Donald Trump’s chief strategist and senior adviser in the White House. Bannon was the executive chair of Breitbart News, a website popular with alt-right supporters.
Members of the alt-right said the movement was buoyed by Trump’s candidacy and election.
In August, Rocky Suhayda, a top American Nazi Party leader, said a Trump victory is “going to be a real opportunity for people like white nationalists,” according to The Washington Post.
And David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader, who ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in Louisiana, tweeted “God Bless WikiLeaks” shortly after Trump won the presidential election.
This post has been updated.