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Metro Pulls TV Show Ads That Call Octavia Spencer A 'Scary Bitch'
Metro will be pulling 190 bus ads for a new TV show, Red Band Society, after complaints that the ad is racist and sexist. The ad in question portrayed African American actress Octavia Spencer (The Help, Fruitvale Station) next to the words "Scary Bitch."
Red Band Society is a Fox dramedy about a group of teenagers who live in the pediatric ward of L.A.'s Ocean Park Hospital. The show stars Spencer as Nurse Jackson, who is described by Fox as a "a caregiver with a take-no-prisoners approach" whose "stern manner hides her incredible heart that secretly makes their lives more ordinary."
The ad for the show depicts each main character next to a brief description. We've got 'the girl next door' and 'the rebel,' and 'the mean girl.' (It's interesting to note that the only other black character is a boy known as 'the player.') The show is narrated by 'coma boy,' a 12-year-old boy named Charlie who is, as one might guess, in a coma, but can hear what's going on around him. The white, adult male on the ad is 'the hot doc.'
The ads have already been up for five weeks, L.A. Times reports, but protesters showed up to Metro's committee meeting yesterday to address their concerns, as Tweeted out by the Metro's account.
Metro Board Exec Comte getting earful from community over allowing 'Red Band Society" ad on buses. Metro officials say ad is being pulled.— LA Metro (@metrolosangeles) September 18, 2014
One speaker was Jasmyne Cannick, a 36-year-old activist and writer, who said she wasn't sure if the ad was more offensive to her "because I'm black, or more offensive because I'm a woman. I sometimes think our city forgets that there are black people that still live here and call Los Angeles home."
The face you make after explaining to @metrolosangeles that 'scary bitch' is unacceptable on @RedBandSociety ads. pic.twitter.com/Rv9ood89y2— Jasmyne Cannick (@Jasmyne) September 18, 2014
MTA spokesman Matt Littman said the decision to take the ads down was made on Wednesday, but the announcement was made yesterday.
Littman also said that CBS Outdoor, the company that handles Metro's advertising, usually flags an ad that might questionable, but that they did not flag this one. Mayor Eric Garcetti said at the meeting that Metro needs to come up with a way to prevent something like this from happening again.
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