Female-Founded Figs Faces Heat Over a Sexist Video


DTC scrubs brand Figs is facing backlash over a video some viewers say is sexist, as well as demeaning to doctors of osteopathic medicine, or DOs.

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The video, which has since been pulled, but was saved by some Twitter users, depicts a bespectacled woman in pink scrubs reading the book Medical Terminology for Dummies upside down. It then features a close-up of her pants, which are adorned with a beeper and an ID card that says D.O.

It’s unclear when the video was first posted, but on Oct. 13, Dr. Mikhail Varshavski, a family medicine doctor who is perhaps best known as the health influencer Dr. Mike—or People Magazine’s Sexiest Doctor of 2015—shared his reaction with his 6.3 million YouTube subscribers.

In his own video, which has more than 280,000 views and was trending on the platform 24 hours later, Varshavski called out the DTC brand for putting down both women and DOs, which are licensed doctors focused on whole body healing with and without traditional medicine.

The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine also weighed in, demanding a public apology.

“We are outraged that in 2020, women physicians and doctors of osteopathic medicine are still attacked in thoughtless and ignorant marketing campaigns,” the organization said on Facebook.

Figs did not respond to a request for comment.

Varshavski said the product video reflects a bigger problem, including a lack of ethics at a company that takes advantage of students in medical school to bolster its marketing efforts.

“To have a company that makes over $100 million dollars a year in revenue build their business on the backs of med students, nurses and residents, posting [images of] them for free, or perhaps to get a free pair of scrubs that cost them next to nothing in manufacturing costs, is ridiculous,” Varshavski said in the video.

As a result, he is pledging $20,000 in free scrubs from any brand but Figs to medical professionals who fill out a Google Doc.

Varshavski is now actively encouraging medical professionals to buy their scrubs elsewhere.

Figs has issued several apologies on networks like Facebook and Instagram, noting the video was “offensive” and “a mistake.” But Figs said it would not make any official statements until it has consulted with “our community, our ambassadors and people in leadership positions in gender equality and the practice of osteopathic medicine.”

Figs was founded in 2013 as a more comfortable alternative to traditional scrubs. According to Entrepreneur, Figs raised the fourth-largest funding round for a female-founded company in 2017. And, the following year, it was generating $100 million in revenue.

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