The retailer responded to a tweet before pulling the product.

By Renee Cherry
December 11, 2019
Credit: Cotton On

Given that online fashion retailer, ASOS has received praise for using unretouched photos and promoting all-around inclusivity, it might be the last brand you'd expect to sell a fat suit. But the company recently sold—then pulled—a party game with an inflatable suit. (Related: ASOS Quietly Featured an Amputee Model In Their New Activewear Campaign)

The product is a charades game from the company Typo, part of the Cotton On group. It comes with a suit that resembles a ballerina (other versions of the product include inflatable suits resembling a blueberry, sloth, and sumo) and charades cards. After seeing the game, Danielle Vanier, a content creator from the UK, called ASOS out on Twitter.

"Erm ASOS - What is this please?" she wrote. "Why would you stock something that is clearly marketed towards laughing at a body that looks like mine?" (Related: Why Netflix's New Fat-Phobic Show "Insatiable" Is So Dangerous)

Several other Twitter users hopped on the thread to express their disappointment as well. "Who on earth thought this was a good idea?!?!" tweeted one person.

"Excuse me?! WTF! I can only assume the point of this game is to laugh at 'bigger' people attempting to do ballet moves?! Who approves this sh*t!!" said another person.

The following day, Vanier provided an update, sharing that ASOS responded to her and pulled the product.

"Thank you for making us aware of this," read a tweet from the ASOS customer service account. "It was never our intention to cause offence, we've decided to remove the product from our site. As a responsible fashion retailer we're aware of the importance of promoting positive body image, so we appreciate your feedback."

Typo also addressed the issue on Twitter, though it seems the company's response was incomplete: "We're sorry to hear that you have felt offended by our inflatable charades games and hope to assure you this was never our intention," the tweet reads. "This game includes 4 inflatable character suits including a blueberry, sloth, sumo and unicorn ballerina. These fictional char..."

As of now, the game is still for sale on the Cotton On website. Based on the company's description of the product, it seems clear that the suit is meant to provoke laughs because of its size. "You have heard of charades BUT have you heard of inflatable charades??" a product description reads. "A classic game with a inflatable twist- laughing is a given when you are attempting these tasks dressed as an oversized blueberry, sloth, sumo or ballerina." (Related: 12 Athleisure Pieces You Can Only Buy On ASOS)

Inflatable suits represent just one example of how fat jokes pervade our culture, from popular sitcoms to direct insults. How about we all just stick to old-fashioned charades and stop poking fun at people's body types?


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