Inflatable ‘Gay Best Friend’ A Bust For Retailer

Tesco, a British multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer ranked second-Inflatable Gay Best Friendlargest 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.”

Inflatable Gay Best Friend2

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?

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7 Responses to Inflatable ‘Gay Best Friend’ A Bust For Retailer

  1. Tessa Kay says:

    Personally, I don’t think they handled the situation well. I think that they did not take blame and just simply stated that they did not know how the product got on their site. They also said that it was “some” third party who put it there. Personally, this looks so bad for Tesco. Tesco basically said they don’t know what is going on with their own site. Tacky!

  2. Lauren Basile says:

    While I think Tesco did the right thing by apologizing and explaining the situation, the fact that they had another offensive product pulled off their site merely a day before raises some red flags. I think a company as large as Tesco probably didn’t keep good enough track of what products they are selling, but two in a row seems careless or perhaps intentional. Was this just another publicity stunt for more attention? Tesco should also issue a promise to its consumers that every product will be thoroughly checked before posted from now on in order to keep their products in “good taste.” If Tesco wants to stay a popular and successful dealer, they need to address the problem and fix it before it happens again.

  3. Fernando Aguilar says:

    I think that, regardless of what is marketed, the company should invest in a serious study to determine the profitability and the acceptance of the product.

  4. Katlyn Orton says:

    Overall, I do think Tesco handled the situation pretty well. If it had made a bigger deal about the situation, it may have attracted more negative attention to the situation. The simple apology it issued, in my opinion, was a smart move without causing more bad PR. Overall, since gay rights are such a big, sensitive topic right now, this product itself was a bad idea in the first place, but pulling it was a good move on Tesco’s part.

    I think the bigger issue here is the fact that it happened right after another offensive product was pulled. Tesco is clearly not doing its due diligence on checking ads before posting. Since it stated that a third party posted it, it shows that the company really isn’t monitoring its posts which has only hurt them. I honestly have never heard of Tesco before this post, but I don’t really have much respect for it due to these two situations.

  5. Marlee Bever says:

    As I was reading this, I couldn’t believe that this toy was said to be suitable for kids 3 to 4 years old. If they were to sell this item, it should be targeted toward an older crowd. I do think that Tesco handled the situation well. After reading at the end that the product was uploaded from a third-party seller, I did have a better opinion about the company. However, I still feel that Tesco should regulate all products sold before they are posted on the website. Now knowing that they pulled an offensive Halloween costume off the site does change my opinion of the company. If this becomes a recurring issue, consumers made believe that Tesco is in fact okay with posting obscure and inappropriate items on their site, regardless if the product is from a third-party seller or not.

  6. Katherine Becerra says:

    Given the situation, Tesco handled the situation okay. They should have added a statement reassuring customers that they are fixing the problem at hand. It looks like Tesco doesn’t have a good gate-keeping function for third-party uploads. That is a problem and needs to be addressed right away.

  7. Steven Kapoloma says:

    An apology for me would show sincerity and I would understand. However, this raises the issue of testing the message with the right audience before rolling it out.

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