'Sleepy Hollow' PR Firm Apologizes for Poorly Timed Headless Day Campaign

Sleepy Hollow Cast Season 2 - H 2014
James Dimmock/FOX

One of the main gimmicks of Fox's Sleepy Hollow wasn't a laughing matter Tuesday.

In a case of incredibly poor timing, a playful PR blitz touting the show's Headless Horseman villain was sent out at the same time news broke of the death of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff, whom ISIS terrorists say they beheaded.

"We apologize for the unfortunate timing of our Sleepy Hollow Headless Day announcement," read an email from ThinkJam, which was behind the campaign. "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."

Fox Home Entertainment also issued an apology.

"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."

The original campaign, sent out by email at roughly 12:49 p.m., included e-cards featuring Sleepy Hollow characters. One, featuring the Headless Horseman holding an axe, included the text "Does this axe make my head look small?" Another showed a drawing of Ichabod (Tom Mison) holding a skull, accompanied with the text "I knew you'd forget your head if it wasn't attached."

Read the original email, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, below.

"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!"

Sept 2, 6:15 p.m. Updated with Fox comment.

, ‘Let’s make him somebody who is unrecognizable, let’s really make him a character.’ We were in the editing room together on Silver Linings Playbook, so we had a lot of time where we could spitball who this guy is — until finally there was Richie DiMaso. Step by step, there were a lot of exterior decisions that we made. I said to David, ‘Why doesn’t he have a perm?’ and David said, ‘Why doesn’t he curl his own hair? He wants to be like all those black baseball players like Dock Ellis.’ We created this guy who is really desperate to be something he isn’t. Really, what he is is a 15-year-old boy.”