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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

Trump’s fight with COVID-19 adds fresh fuel to the misinformation fire he started

With the president hospitalized, his doctors evading basic questions and an election 29 days away, chaos reigned after Trump tested positive for the virus that’s killed more than 200,000 Americans. Now, after a four-day stay at Walter Reed medical center, the president said he will return to the White House. But more questions than answers remain.

Unlike a normal residence, the White House has its own medical unit, offering “full-time” care and facilities for emergency surgery, including the ability to administer supplemental oxygen — which he previously received at the White House — and even a crash cart for resuscitation.

If the president leaves the hospital Monday evening, the situation could become even more opaque. Trump is eager to return to an image of normalcy, but he’s still a high-risk patient in the throes of a wildly unpredictable and deadly virus that seldom charts a linear course to recovery. And because it’s clear that Trump is eager to feign normalcy at any cost with less than a month to go before the election, his return to the White House is not a reliable sign that he’s anywhere near being in the clear.

One result of obfuscating the president’s health? The internet is left to eagerly fill in the gaps.

Top-down misinformation

Doctors provided the first update about the status of Trump’s health on Saturday, but that event backfired, with White House Physician Dr. Sean Conley later admitting that he omitted information in order to keep the president’s spirits high. Conley also threw the timeline of Trump’s diagnosis into question — confusion that’s only been partially resolved since.

The White House’s coronavirus outbreak is a big opening for opportunists, according to Yonder, an AI company that monitors online conversations and tracks disinformation. In an online info ecosystem the company says is “broken,” a fresh crisis is rocket fuel for false claims and conspiracies.

“From groups suggesting the diagnosis was a hoax for political gain to QAnon supporters suggesting it was all part of a plan to isolate and protect the President from his adversaries in the ‘deep state,’ social media continues to act as a weaponized rumor mill,” Yonder CEO Jonathon Morgan said.

“In every case, agenda-driven groups on social media are using another national crisis to their advantage, and obscuring the truth in the process.”

On Friday, left-leaning conspiracy theories like #TrumpCovidHoax posited that the

Attleboro Fire Department Experiences Coronavirus Outbreak

ATTLEBORO, MA — A week after a firefighter within the Attleboro Fire Department tested positive for the coronavirus, eight more firefighters and two dispatchers have also been diagnosed with confirmed cases, town officials have announced.

Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux and Fire Chief Scott Lachance confirmed the positive cases in a news release this week. The 11 confirmed cases were as of Tuesday, officials said, and were all tied to one shift of the department. Most of those who tested positive were asymptomatic or have mild symptoms but one firefighter became seriously ill and is currently hospitalized in serious condition at Rhode Island Hospital, officials said.

Heroux told Patch on Thursday that there have been no further confirmed cases since Monday and that as of Thursday, 57 people within the department have tested negative, including nine negative tests on Thursday.

Since the outbreak began, aggressive testing and re-testing of firefighters and other employees of the department is ongoing. The entire Attleboro Fire Department, including all living quarters, stations, communications centers and equipment have been professionally disinfected by a contract vendor. Heroux said that new HEPA air filtration systems have been installed at four fire stations and said that similar systems will be installed at city offices where two or more people work.

Despite the outbreak, there has been no disruption of service and the department, Heroux and Lachance said, has the ability to fully staff shifts so that emergency calls can be handled with normal levels of staffing. The nine firefighters that have tested positive represent about 10 percent of the department.

The outbreak is the first positive coronavirus case within the department since March, Heroux said. Over the past months, firefighters have transported 400 coronavirus patients and have avoided becoming infected. Before last week, firefighters and other employees were tested if they came into contact with someone who had tested positive. Since then, the department has upped the amount of testing amid the outbreak out of an abundance of caution.

Heroux said he is not surprised an outbreak did not happen before now, which he said, serves as a testament to the attention the department has been paying to the coronavirus. But with students returning to school and people being indoors now perhaps more than before, Heroux believes it makes more sense this happened now rather than in previous months.

“I’m not surprised this eventually happened because firefighters are living in close proximity to each other, they eat together, they’re watch TV together, they’re sleeping in the same quarters,” the mayor said Thursday. “They’re basically breathing the same air.”

The outbreak comes at a time when Attleboro was added to Massachusetts’ red zone, designating it as a place where at least 60 confirmed cases have been discovered over the past two weeks. Still, Heroux, who said an outbreak of the virus within the department was “kind of inevitable”, he believes the department will get through its current situation.

“Because of the actions of the fire chief and the