Saying this is bad timing is an understatement, to say the least.
In the wake of news that Oscar Pistorius —the Olympic and Paralympian sprinter known as "Blade Runner"—has been arrested in the murder of his model-girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, DSTV, the parent company of South African TV channel M-Net, didn't waste any time pulling Web ads featuring Pistorius plugging its broadcast of next week's Oscars ceremony.
According to South African website TV With Thinus, the spots featuring the double-amputee track star had been airing on both M-Net Movies channels as well as online, but the broadcaster quickly decided they weren't appropriate in light of the Valentine's Day tragedy that unfolded early Thursday when Steenkamp was found shot to death in Pistorius' Pretoria home.
"Out of respect and sympathy to the bereaved, M-Net is pulling its entire Oscar campaign featuring Oscar Pistorius with immediate effect," the pay-TV channel told the site. "The promos have already been taken off all schedules, and we have given instructions for other elements, like billboards, to be removed."
One such promo centers around an event-company executive and his employee discussing ways to plug an Oscar-themed evening that the former described as a "massive, game-changing event." The two then brainstorm ideas to promote it—everything from a red carpet, famous people and a large Oscar to a "life-sized Oscar."
At that point, the employee hauls in a duffel bag containing Pistorius—not exactly a nice image considering his gal pal ended up in a body bag this morning.
Pistorius remains in a Pretoria jail and a court hearing on the murder charge has been scheduled for Friday morning. Local police have also denied reports that Oscar might have mistaken Reeva for an intruder on his property before allegedly shooting her, saying that witnesses have told investigators there may have been "previous allegations of a domestic nature."
While his Oscar ad has since been removed, one netizen managed to preserve it on YouTube for posterity. You can watch it here.