• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Babybel offends disabled children with 'mental' slogan

Nicola Hebden · 8 Aug 2012, 10:10

Published: 08 Aug 2012 10:10 GMT+02:00

A marketing campaign sparked outrage at the beginning of the summer when some of their products aimed at children, like Mini Babybel, came with a free toy.

One of the free toys was a stamp, with the slogan written underneath: “Holidays for the mental!”

The French National Union of Associations of Parents of Mentally Handicapped Children, Unapei, called for a boycott of Bel products on Monday, which include Boursin, Leerdammer and Laughing Cow cheeses.

Speaking to local paper le Parisien, Bel director general, Etienne Lecomte, said: “Bel absolutely recognises this message is extremely tactless and apologises to disabled people.

“We’re conducting an internal inquiry to find out who is at the origin of this mistake, even if it is clear they did not intend any harm.

“We’re very sensitive to the problem. We have a high number of disabled people working for us in our factories,” adding that he had also apologised personally to the Unapei.

Christel Prado, president of Unapei, said: “We have to stop using words that don’t correspond to reality.

“Children could feel they have the right to reuse this terminology when talking to a mentally handicapped child.

“We cannot imagine the damage this could cause. On Facebook, a few are already adopting the Babybel “holidays for...” slogan to discriminate against the homosexual community.”

Bel have stopped all production and distribution of the promotional toys in question.
 

Nicola Hebden (news.france@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Hollande vows to 'completely dismantle' Calais Jungle
French President Francois Hollande visiting a refugee centre in Tours. Photo: Guillaume Souvant/AFP

President Francois Hollande has bowed to right-wing pressure and stepped up pledge to combat illegal migration.

First driverless minibus goes on trial in Paris
Gilbert Gagnaire, Director General of Easy Mile, poses in front of his driverless EZ10 minibus. Photo: Eric Feferberg/AFP

The French capital's transport authority will carry out its first test of a driverless minibus on Saturday.

Feature
Room for improvement: Paris's matchbox apartments
Receptionist Ivan Lopez in his tiny "chambre de bonne". Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP

Thousands of Parisians round off a hard day's work with a trudge up six flights of stairs to a tiny, stuffy room they resignedly call home.

Former president Chirac still in hospital but wife home
Bernadette Chirac executes a deal at the French Stock Exchange on September 12. Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP

Former French president Jacques Chirac remains in hospital in Paris but his wife Bernadette has now been discharged.

Pope holds multi-faith meeting with Nice victims
Pope Francis kisses a baby on arrival at his weekly audience in St Peter's Square. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/ AFP

Pope Francis will on Saturday hold a multi-faith meeting of grieving relatives and survivors of an attack in France in July when a jihadist ploughed his truck into a crowd in Nice.

Cameron school pal appointed UK ambassador to France
Ed Llewellyn has spent time in the European Commission. Photo: Gov.uk

Ed Llewellyn attended the Eton College at the same time as former PM David Cameron, and then served as his chief of staff throughout his eleven years as Conservative leader.

UK announces new ambassador to France
Photo: gov.uk

Meet Edward Llewellyn, the UK's new ambassador to France.

How far have you assimilated into French culture?
Photo: Marie/Flickr

Which stage of the assimilation process are you at?

Opinion - Integration
'Stop telling immigrants to be French and help it happen'
Photo: AFP

Demands and laws to force immigrants to live, look, and think like the French are futile and damaging.

France's famous 'rogue trader' must pay €1 million to bank
Photo: AFP

French "rogue trader" Jerome Kerviel was ordered on Friday to pay €1 million to his former employer.

Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
France's Marion Cotillard rebuffs rumours of fling with Brad Pitt
National
Eight arrested over links to Nice truck attacker
Features
Why everyone should party in a French chateau at least once
Travel
The Frenchman who hated 'Nazi-Zealand' after four-day hitch-hike fail
Culture
What's on: Ten exciting events across France in September
The 45-million year old underground shells that flavour Champagne
Features
French job speak: All the terms you need to know
'Resilient' Paris now a more appealing city than New York
National
France says it's OK to warn drivers about speed cameras
Meet Honorine, 113, the oldest person in France
Education
Grenoble named France's best city to be a student
Society
New Metro map reveals cheapest pints of beer in Paris
Business & Money
How reliant is the French economy on Paris?
Society
Here's why Parisians want to move to Bordeaux
And the 'best place to spend a weekend in Europe' is… Lyon
Analysis & Opinion
'Muslims in France must be considered ordinary citizens'
Armed guards to ride French trains from October
National
France among Europe's priciest for train travel
National
Paris set to make river bank car-free for six-month trial
Society
Bordeaux hospital ranked as best in France
National
France rolls out 'world's first' driverless buses
Society
15 things a Frenchwoman can do to feel more British
Culture
Every fact you need to know about France's 'départements'
2,730
jobs available