NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- A Christmas-themed advertisement in the United Kingdom from the National Health Service Charities Together charity which depicts Santa Claus unconscious in the ICU -- presumably with COVID-19 -- has been pulled by the charity, after it came under fire for being insensitive and frightening to children.
COVID-19 is not explicitly mentioned in the spot, called "The Gift," but it shows a man with a long white beard (later confirmed to be Santa) rushed into a hospital as doctors and nurses try to revive him. It shows Santa in an oxygen mask, then intubated, then wearing a face covering as he rebuilds his strength.
At the end of the spot, Santa leaves the hospital in his red suit, leaving behind gifts. It then ends with "Give back to those who’ve given everything" on the screen.
The group Save Our Rights UK took aim at the NHS -- the country's provider of socialized medicine -- tweeting, "NHS - cancelling cancer screenings up and down the country and traumatising children for Christmas."
The NHS shot back at the criticism, though, saying in a statement, "We worked closely with the team behind the ad to make sure it was produced responsibly and it was cleared for use by the relevant regulatory authority. However, we are sorry to the parents of any young children who have been upset by watching the ad and to the young children themselves, they were not the intended audience for it."