The weekly circular from German discount grocery chain Lidl is typically greeted with enthusiasm by Czech bargain shoppers on the hunt for French cheese, American peanut butter, and Italian mascarpone desserts.
Company officials say the verbal attacks are unprecedented but they don’t plan to back down, reports iDnes.cz.
Lidl spokeswoman Zuzana Holá told iDnes.cz that Lidl has in the past experienced rare manifestations of racism on social media, “But never as much as now.”
The first of the Facebook attacks directed at Lidl came from Vítězslav Novák, Prague chairman of Tomio Okamura’s SPD (Svoboda a přímá demokraci) party, one of the most vocal opponents of immigrants in the Czech Republic.
“From the leaflet in the Czech Republic we can expect typical Czech not multi-cultural imports,” he wrote, despite the fact that the SPD claims not to preach “hatred of any nation, race, culture or religion.”
The hateful messages were countered by an outpouring of support, many of the commenters pointing out the hypocrisy of hailing the glory of Czechdom while continuing to shop at a German-owned chained known for its products from abroad.
In a thread that appears to have since been deleted, Lidl responded to one of the hateful remarks with the following:
“We are in Europe in the 21st century, where there are different races. And because Lidl can also be found throughout Europe, we see differences. The more you know how the world is, the more tolerance towards others you have. This is why our models are from all corners of the world.”
Ms. Holá added: “In our leaflets we devote every effort to promoting our products and any manipulation or racial preference we utterly reject. Due to the fact that the Czech Republic is part of Europe where people of different nationalities and different skin colors live, we consider models in our advertising flyers absolutely fine.”