NBC Airs Racist or Unfortunately Timed Monkey Gymnast Promo After Gabby Douglas Wins Gold

By: Josh Wolford - August 3, 2012

Deliberate racism? Unfortunate timing? Public overreaction? Simple FAIL?

People are debating those questions this morning after a promo for the new NBC show Animal Practice ran immediately following Bob Costas’ lead out to Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas’ historic gold medal win.

The promo shows a monkey performing gymnastics on the ring apparatus.

Nevermind the fact that the promo has been running nonstop on NBC during the Games, or the fact that the rings aren’t even a women’s apparatus – people have called racism on the network.

Check out the transition for yourself:

As you would expect, this is being fueled mostly by Twitter users:

It’s no surprise that this has prompted such a backlash – it is some rather striking imagery to juxtapose. It’s hard for me to believe that anyone at NBC did this deliberately, unless it was an underling who thought they would try to be funny (and fail, miserably). Since that promo has been running for days on NBC prior to Douglas’ gold medal win, it’s likely just a simple coincidence – and people seeing racism where there isn’t any.

Then again, as a major network, NBC has to be able to predict that things like this, however innocent, can look really really bad. They have to be able to catch things like this before they happen. I mean, they’re already under so much fire for their broadcasting choices regarding the Games in general. This new flap just amplifies peoples’ anger.

What do you think?

About the Author

Josh WolfordJosh Wolford is a writer for WebProNews. He likes beer, Japanese food, and movies that make him feel weird afterward. Mostly beer. Follow him on Twitter: @joshgwolf Instagram: @joshgwolf Google+: Joshua Wolford StumbleUpon: joshgwolf

View all posts by Josh Wolford
  • chris

    Did anyone else think that Bobby boy’s comments were altogether racist? How could you take a gold medal winning performance and turn it into a commentary on race issues that are not even part of the games. Another great performance by NBC!

  • http://webpronews.com woof48

    Some people are just too eager to slip the race card into the deck whether or not it is justified. Get over it already, move on. Too many other things to fret about — like whether or not the monkey kissed another same-sex monkey at Chik-fil-A.

  • Ben

    all those that think the commercial aired by NBC after bob’s statement was racist are racist themselves for comparing a human to a monkey.

    • Marconius

      You’re right Ben. Things are getting so ridiculos. How can they compare that precious girl to a monkey? That’s very disgusting.

  • http://webpronews John

    You people see what you want. You can’t sneeze in America any more without offending someone. Sure it was poor timing and an EPIC Fail for those of you who spend time looking for racism. This whole conversation is f’n stupid. If you think a multi-billion dollar (extremely liberal) company is going to purposely air something racist then you are stupid. Take the chip off your shoulder and move on!!

    • Dave

      Who are you calling “You people?”

      • Marconius

        He’s calling “you people” to the people that think it’s discrimination. Stop feeling offended for nothing. The monkey ad was nothing unless yo think the girl looks like a monkey and to me she doesn’t. She’s a human being. Have more respect for Gabby.

    • Byron

      yea who the f*** are you referring to? specify what you mean by “You People”

    • Tyron

      Yes racist will never end if you are black and living in the past, u have a black president shut the hell up already ,

  • Gornnlg


    This is why RACISM WILL NEVER DIE. Idiots like these guys wont acknowledge it when they see it.

    I bet they dont think it exists anymore.

    Willful Ignorance..is still willful IGNORANCE!

  • Amanda

    I agree with the bad timing of the commercial, but I’m more disturbed by Bob Costas comment about now all black girls around the whole should feel inspired. All girls around the world should feel inspired, not just black girls. Yes she’s a young African American who won but first she’s a great athlete and the 2012 Olympic champion for gymnastics. Congrats Gabby! That’s all that should be said.

  • Sylvia

    I saw the commercial with my two kids 13 and 9 .my 13 yr old and myself jaws dropped and said OMG! We could not beleive how nbc would have the nerve to put such a bad taste commercial after all the praise for her! Shame on you NBC!

    • Tyron

      Oh shut up go cry somewhere else get a life, black people are one of the most racist people in this era, black even have they own tv show BET should white create they own tv show call WET ? Oh hell no because blacks will flip !! What a crap !

      • sick of whiners

        white people do have their own network, it’s called CBS.

  • http://Facebook Tim

    I don’t it was racist,but I do think it was ill-timed. What bothers me is when white people say get over it. That is the worst thing to say to someone you can’t relate to. If you are not a minority , gay or lesbian you really can’t relate they go through on a daily basis in regards to discrimination. Saying get over it is just a way of saying that you want people to forget. I am a black man and I have experienced racism . Although I don’t think this was an example of that ,some of these comments are ignorant of people’s feelings.

  • blonde

    If a blonde won the gold and they went to a picture of Barbie would we be screaming OMG they are calling her a blonde bimbo?

  • Francisco

    The Monkey or ape image usage to blatant disrespect and make fun of African Americans is a big racist tool used by many white supremacist/racist for many years so to say that “you people” should get over it and stop seeing racism where there isn’t any is humorous to say the least…I would suggest that if it’s not racist as you say go to a black neighborhood wearing a monkey outfit or mask talking and looking hip hop and see how far you make it.

    • greg

      Well go to a black neighberhood wearing anything and being white and see how far u make it. So what’s ur point. Get over it.

  • Marconius

    The ad was going to be placed it didn’t matter who won, black or white. The monkey ad was run throughout the Olympics, even before she won. If people are offended it’s because they think black people look like monkeys, which is completely ridiculous. I don’t think the girl that won looks like one, she looks like a human to me.
    Let animals be animals and humans be humasn. Stop it with the race card.

  • apalled31

    I didn’t think of the monkey as racist what I saw was a beautiful girl, Gabby win the gold medal with a smile that is priceless. Everyone saying how they love her smile baring all of her teeth and immediately after I see a monkey smiling baring all of his teeth. I immediately felt like they were comparing her to that damn monkey. At that point I felt the commercial was racist and ill timed if it was an unlikely accident

  • Erica

    I dont think it was racist or bad timing. The commercial was going to be showed regardless of who won and as a black person sometimes I wish black people would stop trying to play the race card.

  • Tyron

    Stop with this racist card, stop making a big deal out of something that is not, get a life !!!!!! go to work find a job do something with your life lazy stupid people yes people like humans do you know what I mean ? Black white purple grey orange pink who ever the f u are,

  • David

    NBC’s coverage has been terrible – from being American-centric to not covering anyone else (hey the Romanians won a bronze but you only saw one gymnast do one routine) to editing the pieces to artificially create suspense.

    This ad goof tops the pile – the Olympic coverage is prepackaged this year due to the time frame. That was not a local commercial that somehow ended up shown, it was a network promo scheduled at that time. I wouldn’t put NBC past doing it on purpose to create some buzz… but somebody knew somewhere or at the very least dropped the ball.

    Historically, racism has used the monkey image as a way of separating Blacks from the rest of the culture… so for everyone who is indignant in proclaiming, “How dare you bring race into it, we saw a beautiful black girl and then a monkey” ignores the hundreds of years where those two images were indeed combined as a powerful racist statement.

  • sick of whiners

    I think it’s funny, planned or not. Monkeys!

  • APK

    I just have to sit back and laugh when political correctness comes full circle and bites these liberal mainstream media networks in the butt.

    You reap what you sow, liberalisim is truly a mental disorder!

  • Joe35

    LOL!!! I love watching morons getting their panties in a bunch over something innocent.

  • AC

    Why are people so bent about the girl’s commercial?

  • Chad

    I’m sorry, I watched the broadcast of last nights coverage and have to say I didn’t make the connection until I came across this article.

    I am constantly amazed at what people are creating a fuss about and claiming others are racist. I have always considered myself someone who isn’t racist and I guess that’s probably why I didn’t make the connection that so many others have. Maybe it’s you people who are claiming “racist” that are the true racists, since it seem that’s how you think of others.

    Sorry I seen an AMERICAN win gold with a commercial that aired afterwords. Honestly before this article, I couldn’t have told you what commercial even aired.

    Maybe I should keep an eye out for a “Saltines” cracker commercial to air so I can cry “racist” and throw a fit.

    Time to move on people.

    • Jay

      It was racist period!!!

  • Dave

    Would everybody just sit back and say what a wonderfull athlete. NOT Black NOT white just a wonderful olympic champion.

  • Bonnie

    I was too happy and beaming to pay attention to the commercial. I believe that Gabby will inspire in many future athletes. We see what we believe. If you still associate African Americans with monkeys then that is what you see. What I saw was history, grace strength and perseverance. The monkey didn’t even catch my eye.

  • http://www.coolsite.net Hater

    Racism is that RACISM….I thought apartheid died in South Africa,NBC is getting nostalgic…..

  • david

    its only offenceive when its true.

  • intheknow

    The only racists are the ones that would assume it was racist. The fact that they have been playing the ads for that program all along has nothing to do with it. If those that think it is racist are the ones that are. They want to associate monkeys with race. Grow up and shut up. Someone is always trying to place the race card. Get over it.

  • http://yahoo warren

    nbc simply confirmed how little they think of afro-americans in particular and human beings in general, the add may have been run
    to generate just this kind of hype which is sad and if done w/o thought it shows just how stupid and callus the so called leaders of this media are, in short in is our responsibilty to hold them accountable this is a 16 year old child who was hard wheather by innuendo or innocence this commercial should not have played at this particular time , shame on you so calle adults , shame on you america,
    shame all of us for letting the media control our times our lives our money maybe we all should turn off the tv learn to interact and form our own unbias opinions and care a whole lot more for oneanother.

  • Janet

    I didn’t understand the connection to racism until after I read the comments. I can understand now how it is. I just wonder how many people out there didn’t get it? I don’t know how to feel about this. Am I naive, insensitive or ignorant? This obviously hurt a lot of people. I’m sorry I didn’t know better.

  • Mygaffer

    This was obviously a coincidence. They had been running that spot the whole time.

  • Duude

    You’d have to be a moron to not know it was intentional.

  • djuan

    I said the same thing when they aired the penguin commercial after showing Michael Phelps. How dare they

  • Stephen Day

    Intentional or not, meant to be racist or not, NBC made a huge ‘tasteless’ error, and I believe they owe both Miss Douglas, and America a sincere apology; both ‘on air’, and in writing, for their blatant insensitivity. Additionally, whomever at NBC is responsible for approving that commercial should, at the very least have an official written reprimand, and warning placed in their employee file, and attend mandatory sensitivity training.

    I think Americans should barrage NBC with their strong disapproval until these things are done. Unless public opinion pressure is put on them, they probably won’t be.

  • Julia

    I think no one paid attention to what commercials were running and the potential impact. I also think no one thought Gabby would win therefore no one thought about the placement of the commercial at all. The commercial in and of itself is not racist – I think the issue is sensitivity and the privilege of not having to consider the impact of the commercial…it’s about not paying attention –

  • FFS

    Really? This site and the over sensitive little babbies on it are infuriating to the point when i actually hope that I am being trolled rather than think that humans are actually this idiotic

  • Ray

    What a cute ape

  • http://www.webpronews.com Dadvocate

    I do not agree that the monkey ad was racists and/or the placement was intentional. It is absolutely ridiculous to think that this could be construed as “racist” and spark so much b.s.… If you have any education whatsoever and knew anything about TV ads, you would know that they are planned well in advance and the order in which they appear is at random. It is merely a coincidence to what was airing at the moment about Gabby’s win. After all, they couldn’t predict the win – now could they? Wherever did the monkey to racism parity come from??? There are numerous companies using monkeys in their TV ads (can’t wait for Super Bowl!), and never have they been so scrutinized or overanalyzed. I think those who are calling the “racist card” here (have we all forgotten NBC’s weather man is Al Roker…?) need to stop reading into this so much and frankly, get a life! The world has become over analytical. Seriously people, find something better and more productive (there are people starving out there, right???) to do with your time! The internet has become a means for some to vent their personal opinions (everyone has one ;-), but it shouldn’t be used to fuel the flame and blow things so very out of context. Perhaps the real issue here lies within one’s own psyche…

  • http://www.verticalearth.com/veforum/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=53147 Andria Rochell

    Hi this is somewhat of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding skills so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!