Fox premiered its new young adult-themed dramedy Red Band Society on Wednesday night, but the ratings weren’t the only thing people were talking about. An advertising campaign in Los Angeles that showed an image of Academy Award-Winning Actress Octavia Spencer, who stars in the show as a sassy nurse who keeps her patients in line, were quickly pulled down after someone at Fox, or at least their advertising firm, thought calling her a “scary b*tch” would be okay.
The ads were used primarily on the Los Angeles Metro bus system, and the Metro quickly responded to the criticism from some of its riders by pulling down the ads that were offensive to some.
Metro Board Exec Comte getting earful from community over allowing ‘Red Band Society” ad on buses. Metro officials say ad is being pulled.
— Metro Los Angeles (@metrolosangeles) September 18, 2014
The characters in the show, which was astutely described by The Inquisitr as “breakfast club” in a children’s hospital, use the term “scary b*tch” to describe Spencer’s tough as nails Nurse Jackson. While it may okay for a television program that airs in prime time, calling a black woman a “b*tch” is a cultural no-no. The Fox Network made a statement, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter, in regards to the ad campaign.
“We were notified yesterday morning of the concern around the ads, and immediately offered to remove the language. Metro Los Angeles ultimately decided to take down the ads, and we respect that decision. We sincerely apologize if the copy was offensive to viewers.”
The advertising agency also quickly apologized via the Los Angeles Metro Bus’ twitter feed, but to some, the damage had already been done.
Red Band Society follows the exploits of a handful of sick children, some terminally, in a children’s hospital. The characters are broad stereotypes, as evidenced by the following image, which includes the “hot doctor” for the teenage girl patients with raging hormones to pine over and, of course, Octavia Spencer, who may or may not be a scary b*tch.
Here’s the official trailer from the show.
Red Band Society premiered to so-so ratings with only 4 million viewers of a 1.9 share in the 18-49 year old age bracket, according to Entertainment Weekly. But buzz like this is still buzz, and maybe more people will tune in to see what a scary b*tch Octavia Spencer really is.
Red Band Society airs Wednesdays on Fox.