TORONTO – A Toronto man who survived “multiple suicide attempts” as a teenager is calling on Amazon to stop selling T-shirts he says mock suicide.
Mark Henick, 28, has launched an online petition on Change.org that has garnered support from hundreds of people.
The $15.99 shirts have a graphic of one stick figure standing on a chair with a noose around its neck and another stick figure sitting on a chair eating popcorn above the words “Suicide Watch.”
Henick says he’s calling on the online retailer “to do the right thing and remove these products.”
Amazon did not respond to a request for comment on Henick’s petition.
Henick says the shirts may seem like a joke, but they can trigger bad memories for people who’ve lost a family member or friend to suicide, or those who may have attempted suicide in the past.
“There’s no place for this kind of product in any marketplace,” Henick said.
He said the shirt appeared to be encouraging someone to commit suicide.
“Their little joke is doing just that, essentially, sitting back and watching somebody hang themselves,” Henick said. “I don’t find that funny, and from what I can gather nobody else does either.”
Henick said he speaks regularly about his “multiple suicide attempts” as a teenager and added that “when you don’t talk about them it increases the risk for it happening again.”
Several commenters on the petition site called the shirts “disgusting.”
“Selling ‘suicide’ and mocking mental illness is both cruel & a horrible business decision. You lost my business,” Paul Gallant of Vancouver said in a comment.
“I’m signing because there is not a single possible aspect of these shirts that is funny, entertaining or even acceptable,” Chad Pendleton of Kansas posted.
Henick said he was inspired to start the petition after reading about a 14-year-old Calgary girl who was urging people to write letters to Amazon asking them to stop selling the shirts.