UK stores apologize for 'mental patient' costumes

AP News
Posted: Sep 26, 2013 7:28 AM

LONDON (AP) — Two British supermarket chains have apologized for selling Halloween costumes that made insensitive references to mental health issues.

Mental health groups condemned retailer Asda for offering an outfit including a blood-splattered straitjacket and a meat cleaver, labeled as "mental patient fancy dress costume."

Paul Jenkins, chief executive of the charity Rethink Mental Illness, said the costume was "breathtakingly insensitive" and would add to the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Asda, which is owned by U.S. retail giant Wal-Mart, said Thursday it was "deeply sorry" and would be making a large donation to a mental health charity.

Tesco also apologized, for a costume consisting of an orange boiler suit emblazoned with the words "Psycho Ward."

Both stores said the costumes had been removed from sale.