LONDON – Woolworths stores in Britain have stopped selling "Lolita" beds for young girls after a parents' organization complained because of the name's association with the famous novel about a pedophile.
Woolworths said staff members who administered the retail chain's Web site that sold the beds had been unaware of the name's connection with Vladimir Nabokov's 1955 novel "Lolita" and two film adaptations, including one in 1997 starring Jeremy Irons.
The novel centers on protagonist Humbert Humbert's obsession with his 12-year-old stepdaughter. Humbert essentially kidnaps her, traveling across the country and holding her sexually captive.
Woolworths canceled its sale of the Lolita Midsleeper Combi bedroom set Wednesday, the same day the Raisingkids parents' group had called to complain about the name, Woolworths spokeswoman Lisa Lim said by telephone Sunday. The set, made and delivered by an outside supplier, costs 395 pounds (US$775, euro525).
"There aren't many people in the company, in the whole world, who know about the `Lolita' book or films," Lim said. "There might be a few people in the country who have a problem with it, but it's just a name."
She said Woolworths would speak with the supplier, however, about how the branding of the product came about.
Raisingkids said it was pleased Woolworths had halted sale of the product.
"It's interesting to see how fast a multinational company can move if it's worried about its public image," Raisingkids said on its Web site, calling the product's use of the Lolita name "unbelievably bad taste."