Racism Backlash: E! Uses Monkey And Olympian Gabby Douglas To Predict Oscar Winners

More woes for NBC after an ill-conceived game is broadcast, featuring the "Hangover" monkey and Douglas, 17.

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The E! television network catapulted itself to the centre of a race storm before Sunday's 85th Academy Awards after broadcasting a game featuring Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas and a monkey predicting who will win an Oscar statuette.

The backlash was swift, with one angry viewer joking online that "someone on E! dropped acid" during their pre-show planning whilst another television watcher suggested the producer responsible for the segment should be fired.

It's the second time NBC has been involved in a race controversy surrounding Douglas, who became the first African-American to win the gold in the women’s all-around gymnastics competition at the London 2012 Olympics. E! is also owned by NBC Universal.

During the Olympics, NBC aired a commercial featuring a monkey on gymnastics rings that aired right after Douglas, 17, clinched the gold. African-Americans in the past have been disparagingly referred to as monkeys to the point where it is considered a common slur.

The network later apologized for the advertisement's poor timing, explaining: "No offense was intended."

The time around, however, Douglas appeared complicit with the skit. She appeared alongside "Crystal the Monkey" from The Hangover Part II for a game in which the stunt animal predicted who will claim an Oscar. Ross Matthews and movie critic

Her participation in the segment, co-hosted by Ross Matthews and Dave Karger, didn't deter viewers from lashing out at the network on social media platforms, like Twitter.

Right now on E! They have Gabby Douglas helping a monkey in an evening gown play Plinko. Producer fired in 3... 2...

— Boris (@radioboris) February 24, 2013

Gabby Douglas and the monkey from Hangover 2 in a bit on #eredcarpet is in no way racist. — Brian Fuller (@fullerbk) February 24, 2013
Gabby Douglas, you're better than this. Why are you passing a plastic chip to a monkey to predict Oscar winners? No @eonline NO — Lauren Murray(@laurmurray) February 24, 2013
Someone on E! Dropped acid for the preshow planning. Watching Gabby Douglas give a monkey chips to play plinko.

— Alex Merkle (@goddamnitmerkle) February 24, 2013

Gabby Douglas' job is to hand a monkey a puck...?

— Jess Horton (@jemoh14) February 24, 2013

Were you offended by E!'s segment? Let us know your views in the comments below.

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  • coralee

    Kayla is right. It's not that people are more sensitive now than in the past it's that we are just starting to open our eyes to some of the very hurtful and harmful parts of our culture. Just starting to listen to more than one privileged point of view. We have to be aware that our experience is not universal. It may not be offensive to you to stand by a monkey that is dressed up like you but your history is different. You haven't had extremely racist and dehumanizing media portraying your family as monkeys. The people putting together E! are professionals and they should have known better. They make a lot of money and this idea should have been scrapped before seeing the light of day.

  • Kayla

    Are you white... then of course everyone who finds this offensive is too sensitive. You don't face racism, too bad getting a easy pass on life and only facing hardships b/c your chick and even then it ain't as bad as minority woman.

  • Heather

    No. People are too sensitive nowadays. Everything offends everyone even when nothing offensive is present.

  • Toni

    Yeah of course, good point. But personally I can see how they didnt intend to offend, and I personally wouldnt have thought about it in a racist way if I hadnt read this article before watching it. I dont know if it would've even crossed my mind, so it all seems unfortunate.

  • Dylan Howard
    Dylan Howard

    I think it was a poor decision on the network's behalf. why open yourself to potential criticism?

  • Toni

    I dont know.. I didnt see anything racist there, but I guess it depends on how people see it.. But it.. It was just a monkey..! I feel confused.