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

Dylan Howard / February 24, 2013

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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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