The word 'gay' was also censored on Tesco's website
The word 'gay' was also censored on Tesco's website

Tesco has apologised after an advert for an inflatable "gay best friend" appeared in its online store, describing the product as "the new craze".

The supermarket has also apologised for any offence caused as the word "gay" was censored on the website with asterisks.

Tesco said the product has been withdrawn from sale, adding it "should never have been on the site".

The inflatable toy - described as being suitable for ages 3-4 years - was criticised for playing up to stereotypes of gay men.

The description on the Tesco website - asterisks included - said: "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.

"He may be rather quiet, but one look at that smiling, Gary Lineker-esque face and you know what he's thinking...'You go girlfriend!'

"Ready with an inflatable bunch of roses to cheer you up after any break up or bad day, your new g*y Best Friend will be at your side whenever you need a hug."

A Tesco spokesperson said: "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."

Ben Summerskill, chief executive of gay rights charity Stonewall, said: "This is like trying to sell ice to Eskimos. We can't imagine why any woman would choose to buy an inflatable gay best friend when there are two million of the real things already available in modern Britain."

He added that most of the gay men in Britain "are much better looking than Tesco's pale imitation."


The move comes one day after Tesco and Asda apologised for selling "staggeringly offensive" Halloween costumes of a "psycho ward" and "mental patient".

The description of Tesco's psycho costume said: "Dress up as the most thrilling psycho killer character of all time in this Psycho Ward costume, consisting of a bright orange, long-sleeved boiler suit with zip fastener to front, 'Psycho Ward' printed on the chest

Asda apologised for its "mental patient" costume which included a blood-stained straightjacket and a meat cleaver.