In attempts to bring light to the Season 1 DVD release of Fox’s hit supernatural series “Sleepy Hollow,” the Los Angeles public relations firm ThinkJam created a promotion that declared Tuesday, Sept. 2, “National Beheading Day.” The campaign, which was intended to invoke the show’s villain The Headless Horseman, went viral just hours after a video of American journalist Steven Sotloff was decapitated by ISIS militants.
“We apologize for the unfortunate timing of our ‘Sleepy Hollow’ Headless Day announcement," an email from ThinkJam said in response to the ill-timed campaign. "The tragic news of Steven Sotloff's death hit the web as the email was being sent. Our deepest sympathies are with him and his family, and we don't take the news lightly. Had we known this information prior, we would have never released the alert and realize it's in poor taste."
Fox Home Entertainment acknowledged the controversy, issuing an apology regarding the unsavory promotion to Deadline. “Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment recognizes and apologizes for today’s promotion for the Season One DVD release of Sleepy Hollow. We regret the unfortunate timing of our announcement and our deepest sympathies go out to the families of all involved.”
Sotloff is the second American to face execution by ISIS militants recently. Two weeks prior to his beheading, a video of James Foley’s decapitation at the hand of ISIS terrorists emerged. Now the life of a British citizen, who is being held hostage by ISIS, is being threatened.
The original “Sleepy Hollow,” campaign read: “Heads will roll as sleepyheads celebrate Headless Day today, September 2. On this National Beheading Day, viewers everywhere cans hare in the fun as fans prepare for the release of ‘Sleepy Hollow: Season One` on Digital HD now and arriving on Blu-ray and DVD September 16.”
The Hollywood Reporter added that the promo sent out via email included commemorative eCards that featured “Sleepy Hollow” characters like Ichabod (played by Tom Mison) holding a skull accompanied with the zinger, “I knew you’d forget your head if it wasn’t attached.”
“We hope you like them and are able to share them with your readers! If you share via your social media platforms, please tag them with #HeadlessDay!” the email concluded.