Following pressure from mental health advocates, Amazon.ca has pulled a selection of T-shirts mocking suicide.
A selection of T-shirts making light of suicide were no longer available through Amazon.ca on Saturday following the petition of a Toronto man.
Mental health advocate Mark Henick started an online petition calling for Amazon to remove the shirts and issue an apology. The petition reached just over 46,000 supporters by Saturday afternoon.
Henick posted an update that the T-shirts in question had been removed in whole from Amazon.fr (France), Amazon.com, and in part from Amazon.ca (where one version remains). He noted that the shirts were still available on ”a few on the U.K. and German sites, with sizes available for children.”
In the update, Henick notes a shirt with ”got suicide?” on the front was still available on the U.S. site. The link has since been changed, and now leads shoppers to one that says ”got ())))((())).”
A spokesperson from Shirt Me Up, the company name the ”got suicide?” shirt was listed on Amazon under, told the Star they run an ”enter your text” website to customize T-shirts, and that a third party vendor from China was listing the shirt under their brand illegally.
Some of the other shirts involved in the controversy feature images mocking suicide, such as a stick figure seated and eating popcorn as another stands on a chair with a noose around his neck, labeled ”suicide watch.” Another features the message, ”SUICIDE makes our lives so much easier.”
According to Henick, Amazon has not made an official public statement or issued an apology.
Maggie Harder, 14, of Calgary has also been pressuring the retail giant. She started a letter-writing campaign to Amazon headquarters in Seattle in late summer, asking the website to stop selling T-shirts featuring messages that she said stigmatize individuals affected by mental health issues.
An estimated 10 to 20 per cent of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association, and suicide is the second-leading cause of death for Canadians between ages 15 and 24.
With files from Jillian Kestler-D’Amours and David Bateman