An outraged mum has blasted Smyths Toys for flogging 'immoral' WWE toys that encourage children as young as six to smash up a model ambulance - claiming they carry a 'message of violence' towards NHS vehicles and workers.
Sabrina Fitzsimons, 41, was appalled when she spotted the toy retailer advertising the WWE 'Wrekkin Slambulance Vehicle' during an ad break on TV.
The mum-of-three was sat on the sofa with NHS healthcare assistant partner Chrissie, 56, when the advert burst onto their TV screens and Sabrina said she could see she was 'visibly upset' by it.
In the 20-second clip, WWE star Drew McIntyre declares kids can 'tear the slambulance apart for the ultimate brawl' - including smashing a stretcher out of the back doors.
Then different characters can be seen booting through the ambulance's side panel, ripping lights, windows and doors off the vehicle and attacking others with them.
On the Smyths Toys website the £39.99 Mattel toy, suitable for children aged six upwards, boasts 'wrekkable' bumper, side panels, doors and light panels.
It also claims to have 'breakaway' pieces so kids can 'crush the hood to uncover the engine' and 'smash figures' through the vehicle's roof.
After seeing the ad, furious Sabrina penned a complaint email and slammed the store on social media - but claims she was 'fobbed off' with identical apologies 'for any upset or disappointment caused'.
Sabrina, from Bournemouth, Dorset, said: "This toy is massively inappropriate.
"I wouldn't purchase that for my child and I certainly wouldn't get behind advertising it, I just think you're crossing a line of ethics and morals.
"Toys are supposed to teach our children, not only be fun. When I saw it I just thought 'what a time to be advertising a toy like this to children'.
"These people in the health care sector saved our lives.
"To advocate for a toy that perpetuates the message of violence towards the vehicles and the people that help us, I just think 'what kind of message are you sending to children here?' How is that ok?"
"WWE has a huge following from littles ones right up to adults, including my 13-year-old son, I think it's just such the wrong message.
"I wasn't trying to be a 'Karen' but I just found it really offensive given the pressure I know the services have been under and the sacrifices that they've made. I could see that the advert really upset my partner.
"I work in retail and you use some degree of common sense. If that fell on my desk and I was told 'we're going to advertise this' I would be asking questions.
"Is this good at any time, not just after a pandemic, to advocate violence against emergency workers? It's never a good thing."
After firing off a complaint letter and commenting on the store's Facebook page, Sabrina said she received identical responses from Smyths Toys and that they'd 'missed her point'.
The message reads: "Hi there! Thanks for [sic] in touch.
"Apologies for any disappointment caused by this. I can see from our system that you have been in touch with an agent regarding this issue.
"Apologies again for any upset or disappointment caused. Best wishes!"
Sabrina said: "Smyths Toys said exactly the same in their email response to me that they said on Facebook, that was it.
"I would like to have seen some kind of [acknowledgement] 'oh actually you make a valid point here, we need to go back and maybe reconsider it'.
"Instead it was 'sorry it offended you', I think they completely missed the message.
"It won't just have offended me, it offended my partner who goes to work everyday to help other people in the emergency services.
"A lot of her friends work there, she's witnessed and been party to having violence against her and her friends and her colleagues like I myself have in retail.
"We're trying to curb that and get that message across that it's not acceptable and they're perpetuating a toy that is telling kids that it is at a very young and impressionable age.
"I think it's so wrong."
Sabrina's Facebook comment reads: "Can I ask what the logic is in advertising a toy which encourages the destruction of an ambulance? (WWE Slambulance)
"At a time during a pandemic when there are active campaigns to reduce violence towards essential workers?
"And considering what the NHS has done for us over the past year I find the toy and the advert for it offensive and inappropriate.
"I would like to know why your company felt this was a good toy to get behind and advertise?"
WWE stated that the toy is made by Mattel and sold by Smyths.
Smyths and Mattel were contacted for comment.
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