Retail giant Tesco has apologised for appearing to sell an inflatable “Gay Best Friend” doll on its website and for allowing the word ‘gay’ to be censored.

A Tesco spokesperson said to PinkNews.co.uk: “This product was uploaded to the website by a third party seller but was removed from sale immediately because we found it offensive. The webpage should have been removed at that time and we are looking into why it is still visible two months later. We have very clear guidelines for third party sellers who list items on our website, and are very sorry that on this occasion they weren’t followed.”

PinkNews was alerted to the item on Friday morning.

In relation to a description of the product, the word ‘gay’ had been censored.

“If SEX in the City and Will & Grace taught us anything, it’s that g*y best friends are in this season,” the item stated.

“Although not much can be said for his own attire, your Inflatable g*y Best Friend is ready to give you fashion advice, tell you if your bum looks big and b**ch about everyone who doesn’t wear Jimmy Choo’s.

“He may be rather quiet, but one look at that smiling, Gary Lineker-esque face and you know what he’s thinking…”You go girlfriend!”

The product is described as being suitable for ages 3-4 and is available to purchase on Amazon and Ebay.

Ahead of Tesco’s statement, Ben Summerskill, the chief executive of gay rights charity Stonewall, said to PinkNews.co.uk: “This is like trying to sell ice to Eskimos. We can’t imagine why any woman would choose to buy an inflatable gay best friend when there are two million of the real thing already available in modern Britain and most of them are much better looking than Tesco’s pale imitation.”

Tesco confirmed to PinkNews.co.uk that nobody has purchased the doll from the retailer – and that the company’s IT staff are currently trying to work out how to permanently remove the historic URL displaying the item – which still exists outside of Tesco’s Direct website.