London Assembly Member Tom Copley: Tesco Gay Best Friend inflatable doll ‘reinforces stereotypes’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Speaking to PinkNews, London Assembly Member Tom Copley has said that the “Gay Best Friend” doll previously listed on the Tesco website reinforces stereotypes about gay men.

Mr Copley, who is openly gay, said of the doll: “Because we’re all stereotypes aren’t we?”

He added: “I think that’s just incredibly tacky, and I mean we all like to have a laugh don’t we, but I think reinforcing these types of stereotypes about what it is to be a gay man is not very helpful.

“If they’ve taken it down then I’m glad they’ve taken it down, but of course this comes just days after their mentally ill patient Halloween outfit, and that I thought was incredibly offensive. So not a good few days for Tesco.”

Asked about the censoring of the word ‘gay’ in the description of the product, Mr Copley said: “What was going through their minds?!

“It seems incredibly inappropriate. And who’s going to buy it anyway?!”

The product, which Tesco has said was uploaded to the website by a third party retailer, carried the description: “If SEX in the City and Will & Grace taught us anything, it’s that g*y best friends are in this season.

“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!”

Tesco has apologised for the “offensive” product’s appearance on the website. In a statement to PinkNews earlier, a 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.”

The product was described as being suitable for ages 3-4, and is still available to purchase on Amazon and Ebay. PinkNews has approached both companies for comment.