Was NBC right in offering an explanation or apology for a reportedly ill-timed showing of a ‘racist’ commercial?
Reports are circulating all over the world that NBC slipped up when the network aired a poorly placed ad of a monkey on gymnastics rings, right after Gabrielle Douglas’s gold medal win.
“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 ad set off a firestorm of controversy, as the timing of the ad was incredibly poor and highly offensive to millions of Americans. The ad featured a “monkey with an Olympic dream” lifting himself up on still rings, with flashing cameras in the background. I don’t need to tell you about the flaws of mixing the imagery of black people and monkeys.
I feel NBC was wrong to apologize, or to even offer an explanation for the commercial.
To apologize for a commercial promoting an upcoming comedic series in which the monkey is featured, just after the outstanding performance of an American athlete at the Olympics is more racist than showing the commercial itself.
Blacks in the past have been disparagingly referred to as monkeys to the point where it is considered a common slur. That is wrong. All the apology serves is to fuel the that racial comparison between black people and monkeys.
Why must we, as a society of educated individuals, continuously revert to turning the slightest innuendo of any sort into a massive violation of political correctness? Why must we, as Bob Costas did on the show, refer to Gabby Douglas as the first African-American to win a gold medal in gymnastics? Why can’t she just be an outstanding American athlete?
Why did Costas have to predict that there are young African-American girls watching to would now want to take up the sport? I bet there are White Americans and Mexican Americans and Arab Americans and Red, White and Blue Americans also wanting to take up the sport!
Of course NBC intended to run the commercial. They are promoting an upcoming series. What they didn’t intend to do was to create a stir that they truly didn’t create? NBC says, “No offense was intended.” Offense to whom? Is NBC admitting that they join the minority that compare monkeys and blacks? They would have been better off to provide a statement saying, “To the people that stirred up this controversy, you are the ones who need to apologize. NBC does not partake in that theory and to think we would show an advertisement with the intent to compare Gabby Douglas and the monkey in the commercial is totally absurd. We have nothing to apologize for as we did nothing wrong.”
This young athlete in Gabrielle Douglas has been the topic of conversation around many American dinner tables and, unfortunately, it’s not because of her accomplishments in the gymnasium where they belong.
Gabby Douglas is an American Olympian who won a Gold Medal for her country. She has inspired many young Americans by her performances to consider taking up the sport of gymnastics.
It is true, though, that those who made the comparison between the commercial and the athlete are the ones who are true bigots. They are the ones who need to apologize.