MONTPELIER, Vt. – The head of Vermont Teddy Bear Co. (search) resigned from the board of Vermont's largest hospital Wednesday after coming under fire from mental health activists for selling a "Crazy for You" bear in a straitjacket.
"The recent controversy surrounding one of my company's teddy bears will detract from my ability to serve effectively, and I cannot allow this to occur," Elisabeth Robert said in a statement issued by the hospital, Fletcher Allen Health Care (search) in Burlington.
The $69.95 "Crazy for You" bear, which comes with its own commitment papers, was designed as a humorous Valentine's Day gift, but was branded insensitive by Gov. James Douglas and advocates for the mentally ill.
Last month, Robert apologized to anyone offended by the bear, but said it would not be taken off the market. The company sold out of the bears last week and said it does not plan to manufacture any more.
Dr. Melinda Estes, the hospital's chief executive, had no comment on Robert's resignation. But last month she said the hospital did not condone "any action that is demeaning to our patients, makes light of their suffering, or perpetuates the stigma of mental illness."