Retail giant Walmart has officially responded to parental uproar over a "Naughty Leopard" costume that some claim sexualizes young children by officially pulling the product off its shelves.
As TheBlaze reported Wednesday, the Halloween outfit's use of the word "naughty" has sparked a fiery debate -- one that the well-known brand clearly wanted to temper. The costume, which consisted of cat ears and a black dress and sold for $19.97, has also been removed from the company's online store.
Image source: Consumerist
At a link where it was being sold as recently as Wednesday under the name "Leopard Child Halloween Costume," the costume is no longer available. In its place, a line of text on the Walmart website states that product cannot be found.
A screen shot from the website where the product was sold as recently as Wednesday
The controversy began after a woman named "Rachael" submitted a photo of the costume to the website Consumerist, triggering a debate over whether it was appropriate to market a "naughty" costume to toddlers.
In an interview with KATU-TV, Walmart spokeswoman Danit Marquardt confirmed that the "Naughty Leopard" is no more and expressed regrets and issued an apology.
A screen shot of the product before it was removed from Walmart.com
"It was never our intention to offend anyone and we apologize to any customers who may have been offended by the name of the costume," Marquardt said.
Before the company made its announcement, there were a variety of views on the matter: At TheStir.com, Michelle Zipp covered the dilemma in detail, offering up her surprise to find what she described as a relatively benign children’s costume.
“When I heard about this Naughty Leopard Costume for toddlers, I thought for sure I was going to see a skin-tight leopard body suit with some chicken cutlets sewn in where the boobs should be. Something very “naughty” or risque and totally inappropriate for a little girl to wear on Halloween,” she wrote. “Instead I saw this cute little girl in what looked more like a goth princess costume, and if it wasn’t for the ears, I wouldn’t have identified her as a little girl dressed up as a leopard of the naughty (or any other) variety.”
Cosmopolitan magazine's Anna Breslaw had an entirely different opinion on the matter. While she acknowledged that there are different definitions for the word “naughty,” she wasn't convinced this costume was such a good idea, especially in today’s culture.
“These days the connotation is way more ‘Spank me, Daddy,’ than ‘I stole some cookies and got into harmless childish hijinks,’ which lands this one straight on the Sexualizing Little Girls Expressway,” she wrote.
The debate over this particular costume, though, is now over, as Walmart took the quick route out and simply canned it all together. A legitimate concern or needless complaining? You decide.