Asda is the latest victim to fall foul of the public’s wrath on Twitter after retired footballer Stan Collymore tweeted a picture of the supermarket’s ‘mental patient fancy dress costume’ and blasted it as “a stereotype".
Collymore’s lone tweet had an estimated exposure to 58,000 people and within minutes Twitter users were slamming Asda for its stereotypical approach to mental health. The charity Rethink Mental Illness tweeted to ask the food chain store to explain its description that “everyone will be running away from you in fear in this mental patient fancy dress costume”.
One hour after Collymore’s tweet Asda declared to its 167,000 followers - between 11pm and 1am - that it would like to “offer our sincere apologies for the offence it’s caused and will be making a "sizeable donation" to @MindCharity”. It has since annouced it is donating £25,000 to Mind.
It later tweeted that the product had been removed from sale. As events continued to unfold this morning, Tesco also withdrew its similar product and there were calls on the Twittersphere for other leading retailers, including Amazon, to follow suit. Pressure came from famous faces including former Number 10 spin doctor Alastair Campbell and Loose Women star Denise Welch.
Mind ramped up the campaign further by encouraging people with mental health issues to tweet their own “mental patient outfit”, prompting hundreds of users to tweet images of themselves in their everyday outfits.