By Soumya Karlamang, Sepember 18, 2014
Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer stars in the new Fox series "Red Band Society."
An advertisement for the new Fox television show “Red Band Society”
was abruptly pulled from Los Angeles Metro buses Thursday after
activists complained it was racist and offensive.
The ads for the
series that premiered this week show actress Octavia Spencer next to the
words “Scary Bitch.” Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman
Mark Littman said the agency decided to remove the ad because that label
“That speaks for itself,” Littman said. “That was not acceptable.”
The ads, which have been up for five weeks, will be removed from 190
Metro buses as soon as possible, said Metro spokesman Dave Sotero.
announcement was made Thursday at a Metro committee meeting where a few
dozen protesters showed up to speak against the ads. Among them was
Jasmyne Cannick, who said the nickname perpetuates negative stereotypes
about black women.
“I don’t know if I find it more offensive because I’m black, or more
offensive because I’m a woman,” said Cannick, 36. “I sometimes think our
city forgets that there are black people that still live here and call
Los Angeles home.”
A Fox spokeswoman said in a statement that
network executives were notified Thursday morning of the concerns around
the ads and “immediately offered to remove the language.”
Los Angeles ultimately decided to take down the ads, and we respect that
decision,” the spokeswoman said. “We sincerely apologize if the copy
was offensive to viewers.”
said though the decision was made public Thursday, Metro chief
executive Art Leahy had chosen Wednesday to take down the ads after
hearing about the complaints. Littman said CBS Outdoor, which handles
the agency’s advertising contract, usually flags possibly questionable
ads for review, but these were not flagged.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric
Garcetti, who also serves on the Metro board, said at the Thursday
meeting that he wanted the ads taken down, and that the agency needs to
tighten its advertising policy. Garcetti requested that Metro staff
report back to the board on ways to avoid a similar situation in the
future, said Jeff Millman, Garcetti's spokesman.