Elf on a Shelf is an extremely popular children’s holiday book-and-toy brand, in which parents (or the elf itself? unclear) hide an elf in various places around the home before Christmas. But one U.K. retailer apparently decided Elf on a Shelf is also an extremely horny toy — and people are not happy about it.
As the Daily Dot points out, British budget retail store Poundland has been posting ads featuring an elf toy that looks eerily similar to the Elf on the Shelf doing various dirty things. For instance, there’s an ad with a pervy elf offering “Free moustache rides,” and an elf taped to a wall with four Barbie-esque dolls, with the comment “4 play.”
And, of course, there’s also the one with an elf with a tea bag around its genital area — holding the tea bag over a Barbie-esque doll’s face. The Barbie-esque doll happens to be wearing a feminist shirt that says “Power.”
And so people, understandably, are pissed about these ads. Writer Caroline Criado Perez tweeted about the tea bag ad, “The t shirt she’s wearing positions this as a middle finger up at the #metoo movement. Baffled that @Poundland or in fact anyone with human empathy would do this.” Anti-domestic violence charity Women’s Aid also tweeted, “How do you take your social media posts? One lump of outdated misogyny completely ignoring the current international agenda, or two?” And Twinings Tea, whose tea bag was used in the ad, formally distanced itself from the brand:
Hey, at least these dirty ads don’t tell kids Santa isn’t real.