This week, dads across North America lost a valuable asset in their arsenal of corny holiday humour, as Home Depot (the store that literally every father insists on dragging their kids to at least once a year) pulled a series of peeping tom Halloween prank toys from their shelves after a woman complained that they satirized sexual harassment and sexual violence.
The "Scary Peeper Creeper"—a plastic mask-thing that looks more like a mole rat being birthed rather than a peeping tom—is meant to emulate a voyeur peering through a window. The toy, which is mounted to a window by suction cups, comes in both a regular peering version, and a motorized, window-tapping version.
According to the CBC, Breanne Hunt-Wells—the Markham, Ontario, woman who reported the decoration after coming across it in the store—said the toy is "inappropriate" and that it "makes light of a real-life, sinister issue that women face in our society."
"I fail to see the humour in it," Hunt-Wells said. "It makes light of a very serious crime. Voyeurism is a crime in Canada."
Pretty sure buddy here is a dad.
After being contacted by the CBC, Home Depot said that they had taken the toys off the shelves and that the product was not in line with the store's values.
"We've reached out to advise the customer of our actions and apologize. We're sorry for any offence that was caused," a spokesperson said.
Home Depot was not available for immediate reply to a VICE inquiry about whether the toy had been pulled from both Canadian and American shelves.
On the manufacturer's website, a number of other similar toys can be found, including a peering clown toy, a home intruder toy, and a "Reaper Peeper" toy. (Basically just the peeping tom but with a grim reaper face.) Flip over to YouTube, and numerous prank videos featuring the toy can be seen as far back as 2013. Hunts-Wells told the CBC, however, that these toys are not a joke.
"I would say to people that say 'it's just a joke' there are a lot of things in our society that have been just a joke over time," she said. "Racial jokes, cultural jokes. It takes some talking and thinking to realize that maybe we need to be more sensitive. The people that commit this crime are not harmless people."
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