Gymnast Gabby Douglas poses for a portrait during the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Media Summit in Dallas. (Photo : Reuters)
NBC has issued an apology after a commercial, following Team USA gymnast Gabby Douglas' victory, was deemed racist.
Before the promo aired, the gymnast won her first Olympic gold medal for the all-around gymnastics, also becoming the first African-American to do so.
NBC commentator Bob Costas said, "Much of America has fallen in love with Gabby Douglas. Also safe to say that there are some young African-American girls out there who tonight are saying to themselves, 'Hey, I'd like to try that, too.'"
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And then, a promo for NBC's upcoming show Animal Practice aired.
The ad featured a small monkey with a smile on its face performing on a rings gymnastics event.
Although a coincidence, viewers expressed frustration with the network accusing racism. For the Black community, referring them to monkeys has been used as a racial slur.
"Gabby Douglas' gold medal performance last night was an historic and inspiring achievement," said NBC Universal spokeswoman Liz Fischer. "The spot promoting Animal Practice, which has run three times previously, is one in a series with an Olympic theme, which have been scheduled for maximum exposure. Certainly no offense was intended."
The same monkey, named Crystal, has been featured in The Hangover Part II, We Bought a Zoo, and in fellow NBC sitcom Community.
This is not the first time a NBC promo stirred negative reaction from viewers, as earlier this week a preview to swimmer Missy Franklin's race featured the result. She won gold.
"It's not as if these results are a secret," said NBC Universal Group's Chief Marketing Office John Miller. "The race was seven or eight hours old, so the number of people who were surprised was somewhat small, and a few people said, 'Look what they've done!"
He added, "We are mindful of the timing so that those who want to watch it as a live experience are not fooled."
Other NBC criticism include the decision to cut a tribute to the victims of the July 2005 London Bombings during the Opening Ceremony. NBC decided to instead show a Ryan Seacrest interview with swimmer Michael Phelps.