UPDATED, 5:07 PM: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, the home video branch handling the Sleepy Hollow digital, DVD and Blu-ray release, issued their own statement following marketing firm ThinkJam’s apology and retraction: “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.”
PREVIOUSLY, 3:30 PM: A marketing firm drumming up buzz for Fox’s Sleepy Hollow series apologized Tuesday for launching a “Sleepy Hollow Headless Day” home video campaign on the same day that a second captured American journalist was killed by decapitation. The Sleepy Hollow “Headless Day” promo was emailed to press shortly after news broke that Steven Sotloff had been beheaded at the hands of ISIS militants, and 14 days after video surfaced of the same group beheading captured American photojournalist James Foley.
“We apologize for the unfortunate timing of our Sleepy Hollow Headless Day announcement. 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 have known this information prior, we would have never released the alert and realize it’s in poor taste,” read the mea culpa email from ThinkJam, which has offices in London, New York, and Los Angeles and issued the Sleepy Hollow campaign at the behest of Fox Home Entertainment.
Friday Ratings: No Surprise, As 'Shark Tank' Again The Victor, But 'MacGyver' Draws A Crowd
If ThinkJam and Fox were unaware of the breaking Sotloff news Tuesday, they must have also missed international headlines of Foley’s gruesome death two weeks prior. In the August 19 video depicting Foley’s death, a man identified as Sotloff is said to be next in line as a militant dressed in black threatens him: “The life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision.”
ThinkJam’s PR campaign features a quartet of cheerily morbid e-cards celebrating decapitation (see below) and was issued from their LA office to promote the show’s September 16 digital, Blu-ray, and DVD release. The initial Sleepy Hollow Headless Day email trumpeted September 2 as National Beheading Day along with the social media hashtag #HeadlessDay:
Sleepyheads Celebrate Headless Day – eCards Available
Heads will roll as sleepyheads celebrate Headless Day today, September 2. On this National Beheading Day, viewers everywhere can share 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.
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!
A ThinkJam rep says the Headless Day campaign was pre-approved by Fox. It was scheduled in advance to go out today “as a lighthearted way to celebrate the title” and was sent “to [journalists] we thought would enjoy it.”
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.