Tesco, a British multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer ranked second-largest retailer in the world by profits, just pulled its “Inflatable Gay Best Friend” doll off its website after criticism.
The item was described as an “amusing gift” and “suitable for three- to four-year-olds.” The website also stated, “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.”
The doll was advertised as “ready to give you fashion advice, tell you if your bum looks big and b**ch about everyone who doesn’t wear Jimmy Choos.”
Twitter users reacted angrily to the inflatable doll as well as Tesco’s use of an asterisk in the word “gay.”
Activist Peter Tatchell tweeted: “Can @Tesco explain its G*y Best Friend doll? Why is the word gay censored? Why does the doll pander to stereotypes?”
Tesco apologized for the ad. A spokesperson said the product was uploaded to the website by a third-party seller, but was “removed from sale immediately because we found it offensive.” The spokesperson claims the product had not been sold.
Do you think Tesco handled this situation well? Would you have done anything differently? Does this change your opinion of the company? Does knowing this incident happened only one day after Tesco pulled an offensive Halloween costume off its site change your opinion of the company?