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Halloween Old Age Pensioners Mask Crosses The Line Says MEP.

October 20, 2008 3:02 PM

Liz Lynne, the Liberal Democrat MEP for the West Midlands has said that high street retailer Woolworth's have crossed a line in choosing to sell 'scary old pensioner' masks in the run up to Halloween.

Liz spoke out against the decision to sell the masks after one of her constituents complained to the chain that the masks were discriminatory against older members of society.

Liz Lynne, who is the Vice President of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee in the European Parliament and Co- Chair of the Parliament's All Party Intergroup on Ageing, has campaigned against age discrimination for a number of years. Liz is currently rapporteur for the Committee on an EU directive on Anti- Discrimination on the grounds of, among other things, age in access to goods and services.

Liz Lynne said:

"I believe that Woolworth's decision to sell this mask is a deeply inappropriate one.

"At a time when there are serious issues affecting older people, such as fuel poverty and social exclusion, it is wrong to make some of the most vulnerable people in our society the butt of a joke.

"We must fight against the depiction of older people as separate from the rest of the population and we should not be allowing younger people to get the idea that older people are different or less important than others.

"It is my hope that the new Anti- Discrimination directive will go some way to tackling this growing social divide, but we also need to ensure that companies such as Woolworth's understand their role in combating prejudice against older people.

"Halloween is supposed to be a fun time, but I think that the singling out of older people as something to either ridicule or be scared of is a step beyond traditional costumes and simply goes too far."

ENDS

Notes:

The masks depict two 'scary pensioners' named 'Maude' and 'Ernie' as gruesome caricatures and are available for £5 at Woolworth's stores.