NBC has become the center of a race storm after airing an ad featuring a monkey performing gymnastics, right after showing the performance of Gabby Douglas, the first African-American to win Olympic gold.
The controversy ignited as sportscaster Bob Costas wrapped his analysis of her incredible routine during the all-around competition last night.
Costas said: ‘There are some 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.’
The broadcast then went to a commercial break, showing an advertisement featuring a monkey wearing a gymnastics uniform and performing a rings gymnastics event.Â
The unintentional, but poorly-timed ad was for Animal Practice, an upcoming NBC sitcom.
Angry viewers lashed out at the network on social media platforms like Twitter, accusing them of racism.
‘Disgusted at NBC for showing Animal Practice with monkey right after Gabby wins her gold,’ one user posted.
Another called it ‘risky.’
Gabby but her golden achievement has also brought unwanted attention.
The race uproar came after another nasty row involving Twitter over the gymnastics sensation’s hair, expressing their disapproval over how it was styled.
One user wrote: ‘Gabby Douglas gotta [sic] do something with this hair! These clips and this brown gel residue aint it!’.
Another posted: ‘In Olympic news, why hasn’t anyone tried to fix Gabby Douglas’ hair?’.
To which a further user replied: ‘That’s an Olympic sport too!’
Despite the unwanted criticism, Douglas has also had a strong show of support from public figures like singers P!nk and Nicki Minaj, as well as Condoleezza Rice, the first African-American secretary of state.
The Capuchin monkey in the ad, named Crystal, is the same primate that appears in We Bought a Zoo, The Hangover Part II and the Night at the Museum films.
She also appears in Community, another NBC sitcom.
NBC’s broadcast of the London games has come under intense scrutiny, which has been exacerbated due to Twitter, which viewers have used as a soap box to gripe about the coverage.
It was accused of manufacturing unnecessary suspense for the women’s team gymnastics final on Wednesday night- which was arguably not even close.
Protests erupted earlier this week following a promo that showed U.S. swimmer Missy Franklin with her gold medal – moments before the network aired the dramatic race in which she won it.
In a statement to MailOnline, NBC apologized for the tape delay mistake.
On Monday night, a Los Angeles-based reporter and vocal critic of the network had his Twitter page suspended.
Guy Adams, who writes for The Independent, lost his account after NBC complained he tweeted the email address of NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel so viewers could ‘tell him what you think.’
Adams’ account was later reinstated.
There was also outrage over NBC’s decision to cut a tribute for the victims of the London 2005 terrorist bombings from its Olympics Opening Ceremony coverage on Friday.
The network said it did not air the tribute because it wasn’t tailored for the U.S. audience – and aired a Ryan Seacrest interview with iconic swimmer Michael Phelps instead.