Paperchase has made an ‘unreserved apology’ and removed a Christmas card for sale which ‘mocked children in care’.
The card depicts a mother on the phone near a child who has spilt some milk, saying “Is this the orphanage? Right, I want a f****ing refund.”
In a blog post, author and broadcaster Lemn Sissay MBE accused it of “punching down, abusing children in care as disposal goods for the butt of a joke.”
He said: “This card isn’t meant for children in care or adults who have been in care. It’s meant for others to pour scorn on them.
"The difference between other ‘edgy card jokes’ is that this one is laughing at a vulnerable foster child.”
The stationary chain, which has a store at Rushden Lakes, has since told all of its 160 shops to remove it from display.
Sissay’s criticism came after Sophia Alexandra Hall, a care leaver who went on to study at Oxford University, drew attention to the card on sale.
He said the company received “a tidal wave of complaints from the blog, Twitter and Facebook.”
A Paperchase spokesperson said: “We've immediately removed it from sale on our website and have instructed all stores to remove it from display.
"It is never our intention to be insensitive; we appreciate that on this occasion the image copy are, for which we apologise unreservedly.”
In a follow-up post, Sissay wrote: “Thank you Paperchase. And thank you to every person who tweeted and retweeted and who shared the Facebook updates and commented on the blog.
"There were some really powerful messages”.