Los Angeles public relations firm Think Jam has issued an apology for a Sleepy Hollow promotion which declared Tuesday "National Beheading Day" just hours after a video surfaced showing captured American journalist Steven Sotloff being decapitated by ISIS militants.
The promotion was meant to bring attention to the Season 1 DVD release of Fox's Sleepy Hollow, which prominently features The Headless Horseman as a villain.
E-mails were sent to journalists' inboxes shortly before 1 p.m. PST asking Sleepyheads, the name for Sleepy Hollow fans, to celebrate "Headless Day" and to share a quartet of comically morbid e-cards over social media using the hashtag #HeadlessDay. News of Sotloff's death hit the wires shortly after 9 a.m. PST.
The e-mail said, "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."
The firm sent out an e-mail apologizing for the promotion one hour later. "We apologize for the unfortunate timing of our Sleepy Hollow Headless Day announcement," the message said. "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."
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment released their own statement 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 be beheaded by ISIS militants recently. Two weeks ago, video of ISIS terrorists cutting off the head of photojournalist James Foley emerged.