NBC has apologized for featuring an ad with a widely grinning monkey doing gymnastics after airing African American Gabby Douglas's gold winning performance. The debate continues over whether the timing of the ad was deliberate or entirely a mistake.
But many have defended NBC, saying that the ad had been running constantly on NBC during the Games.
According to the Daily Mail, the commercial was for Animal Practice, an upcoming NBC sitcom.
NBC has said that no offense was intended, but admitted it was poorly timed.
The monkey gymnastics was aired after sportscaster Bob Costas finished an analysis of Douglas's routine in the all-around gymnastics competition in which she won gold. Long Island Press reports 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.' More from London in a moment." Then the broadcast went into commercial and a grinning monkey in gymnastics uniform appeared on screen performing gymnastic exercise.
The Daily Mail reports the monkey in the ad is a film star named Crystal, who appeared in We Bought a Zoo, The Hangover Part II, Night at the Museum and the sitcom. Community.
The Animal Practice ad after Gabby's gold
Many viewers were shocked when the monkey appeared on screen, and many have expressed their disgust. Amy Cohen Efron tweeted: "Disgusted at NBC for showing Animal Practice with monkey right after Gabby wins her gold."
Sarah Crammer tweeted: "The Animal Practice commercial that followed that followed the announcement that Gabby is the first African American to win women's all around was risky."
NBC Sports said in a statement: "Gabby Douglas' gold medal performance last night was an historic and inspiring achievement.This 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."
NBC explained that the gymnastics-themed ad was specifically timed to run late Thursday night following the women’s gold medal competition. NBC said it was scheduled to run before the network knew about Costas’ commentary.
Gabby became involved in controversy almost as soon as she came to limelight. There was a row on Twitter over her hair style. Many complained it was poorly done.
NBC's coverage of the Games has come under intense scrutiny and criticism, especially on Twitter. Viewers protested earlier in the week about a promo that showed US swimmer Missy Franklin, with her gold medal before the race in which she won was aired. NBC has since apologized for the mistake.
Guy Adams, a Los Angeles-based reporter, who writes for The Independence, and who is a vocal critic of NBC, had his Twitter page suspended. His account was suspended after NBC complained he tweeted the email address of NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel, so viewers can let him know what they think. But Adam's account was later restored.
Viewers have also complained about NBC's decision not to air a tribute for victims of the London 2005 terrorist bombing during its coverage of the Olympics Opening Ceremony.