Scrubs brand FIGS comes under fire for ‘insensitive’ ad featuring female physician

FIGS, a medical apparel company known for its fashionable scrubs, has come under fire for an “insensitive” video that portrayed female doctors of osteopathic medicine as “dummies.”

a person holding a sign: A medical worker walks past a sign that reads "Express Care."

© Spencer Platt/Getty Images, File
A medical worker walks past a sign that reads “Express Care.”

In the marketing materials, a woman wearing a set of pink scrubs and a name tag with the abbreviation DO, for doctor of osteopathic medicine, is holding a “Medical Terminology for Dummies” book upside down. Many in the medical community criticized the since-removed ad as misogynistic and disrespectful toward female physicians and DOs.

“We are outraged that in 2020, women physicians and doctors of osteopathic medicine are still attacked in thoughtless and ignorant marketing campaigns,” the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine said in a statement. “A company like FIGS that asks us to spend money on its product should be ashamed for promoting these stereotypes. We demand the respect we’ve earned AND a public apology.”

The organization Physicians for Patient Protection said it was “dismayed” by the Los Angeles-based company’s marketing.

“Our DO colleagues are highly trained physicians, many of whom hold leadership positions in academia and have authored medical texts themselves,” the organization said in a statement to ABC News. “Many of our DO colleagues are also women. And they may wear pink scrubs, but they’ve never needed to read any textbook made ‘for dummies.'”

MORE: Trump attacks Fauci with falsehoods after backlash for quoting him out of context in campaign ad

FIGS apologized for the video on Tuesday, saying it had “dropped the ball.”

“A lot of you guys have pointed out an insensitive video we had on our site — we are incredibly sorry for any hurt this has caused you, especially our female DOs (who are amazing!),” the company tweeted Tuesday. “FIGS is a female-founded company whose only mission is to make you guys feel awesome.”

Dr. Stephanie Markle, DO, MPH, an ICU doctor and surgeon in Kalamazoo, Michigan, told ABC News that the “blatantly misogynistic” ad has angered many in the medical community. Markle said the ad is particularly harmful as someone who experiences sexism and has to “constantly validate” herself as a female physician.

“I have to explain to people multiple times: I’m not the nurse, I’m not the dietitian, I’m not the janitor,” she said.

Female doctors also tend to make less than men, she noted. Male primary care physicians make about 25% more than their female counterparts, according to Medscape. Among specialists, they make 31% more, it found.

“The sexism is still so prevalent that this was such a slap to the face,” Markle said.

MORE: NY doctors were at the center of COVID battle. Here’s what they say about the fall.

DOs are fully licensed physicians who take a more holistic approach to medicine, compared to medical doctors. Dr. Miranda Rosenberg, MD, a resident in the ABC News Medical Unit, said the ad was particularly insensitive “especially after so many doctors have sacrificed so much

For those reeling from Covid, Trump comes across as boastful, insensitive

Experience is supposed to be the best teacher, but the lessons of Covid-19 are lost on President Donald Trump, according to many people who have lost loved ones to the disease.

That, in a nutshell, was the reaction of several still-grieving Americans a day after Trump was released from the hospital and declared, “Don’t be afraid of Covid.”

“Don’t let it dominate your life,” Trump tweeted. “We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”

Brian Gonzalez, a New Yorker whose father, Jose Hector Gonzalez, languished in a hospital for two months before the coronavirus killed him on May 11, said he was taken aback by Trump’s boasting about “feeling really good” and the great medical care he received.

“It is almost poetic that he has it,” Gonzalez, who hails from the Washington Heights neighborhood in Manhattan, said of Trump’s infection. “But I think he exists in this bubble and doesn’t understand, or doesn’t want to understand, how bad this is. As president, he has the best medical care you can find, and I think he’s under the impression that everybody gets the same kind of medical treatment.”

Image: Hector Gonzalez (Courtesy Gonzalez family)
Image: Hector Gonzalez (Courtesy Gonzalez family)

“It is very frustrating that he cannot seem to empathize with anybody,” Gonzalez added.

The elder Gonzalez was a 58-year-old former freedom fighter in El Salvador who became a playwright and sang in numerous choirs in New York and worked for the Oxford University Press, according to his obituary. He was barely breathing in March when he was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, his son said.

“He was in the hospital for a very long time,” Gonzalez said of his father. “He had no pre-existing conditions and was healthy, especially when compared to President Trump, who is 74 and very overweight.”

“So it just feels so unfair that he (Trump) is released and my father wasn’t,” Gonzalez said. “How unlucky my father was. He was just an unlucky person who got it.”

But Gonzalez made clear that he did not wish his father’s fate on the president.

“I don’t want him to die,” Gonzalez said of Trump. “You just hope and pray he will someday realize that this pandemic was bigger and more dangerous than he’s been telling everybody.”

That appears unlikely. Trump on Tuesday once again downplayed the Covid-19 danger and undermined public health officials by tweeting out the false claim that the coronavirus was as deadly as the flu.

More than 211,000 people in the United States have died from Covid-19, for which a vaccine is still being tested, the latest NBC News figures show. From 24,000 to 62,000 people died from the flu, despite there being a vaccine, from October 2019 to April, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

Helen Goldlewski Brownfield lost her father, Richard “Rysiek” Godlewski, to the coronavirus in May. Born outside of Vilnius when the Lithuanian capital was part