(Host) The Vermont Teddy Bear Company will continue to sell its controversial “Crazy for You” bear. That decision comes amid criticism from advocates who say the bear insults people with mental illness. The stuffed animal comes dressed in a straight jacket and carries ‘commitment papers.’
In an earlier statement, Vermont Teddy Bear said the Crazy for You bear was “created in the spirit of Valentine’s Day” and was “designed to be a lighthearted depiction of the sentiment of love.”
Vermont’s Human Rights Commission weighed in on the bear last week and suggested the company might find a way ‘to make amends.’ In response, Vermont Teddy Bear CEO Elizabeth Robert says she is sorry for any hurt that’s been caused by the bear, but her decision to continue selling the bear is based on listening to many people:
(Robert) “I listened to our customers, who were enthusiastically buying the bear. I listened to our employees, who frankly are a group of Vermonters who don’t like to be told what to do. I discussed this with our board of directors and advisors. And we felt very strongly in the end that we are not in a position to be told what to do.”
(Host) Robert says Vermont Teddy Bear wants to support mental health initiatives, especially education programs, so that other companies don’t find themselves in a similar situation in the future.