UK supermarket chain Tesco recently came under fire for selling a few offensive products on its website, including a Psycho Ward Halloween costume and an Inflatable Gay Best Friend doll. They promptly removed the psycho costume, but the blowup gay man remained on their site, advertised as an “amusing gift” with the following description:
“If SEX in the City and Will & Grace taught us anything, it’s that g*y best friends are in this season. We’ve had the manbag, we’ve had leg warmers and iPhone fever, now it’s time for the new craze. Although not much can be said for his own attire, your Inflatable g*y Best Friend is ready to give you fashion advice, tell you if your bum looks big and b**ch about everyone who doesn’t wear Jimmy Choo’s.”
I don’t even know where to start with this. Perhaps by pointing out that the show was actually called “Sex and the City,” then moving on to the offensive, dehumanizing stereotypes of g*y men and finishing off with an explanation of why they censored the word GAY?
The people at Tesco are as embarrassed by this product snafu as they should be. A spokesperson for the chain released the following statement about the doll:
“This product was uploaded to the website by a third party seller but was removed from sale immediately because we found it offensive. The webpage should have been removed at that time and we are looking into why it is still visible two months later. We have very clear guidelines for third party sellers who list items on our website, and are very sorry that on this occasion they weren’t followed.”
I think gay rights activist Ben Summerskill put it best when he said, “We can’t imagine why any woman would choose to buy an inflatable gay best friend when there are two million of the real thing already available in modern Britain and most of them are much better looking than Tesco’s pale imitation.”