The blue and white mug, which costs £5.50, is printed with a quote from Roald Dahl's 1988 book Matilda.
The full quote from the children's story is: “When at last the germ of a brilliant idea hit her, she began to expand on it and lay her plans with the same kind of care the Duke of Wellington had done before the Battle of Waterloo.”
However, the quote that is printed on the mug is shortened and split up on different lines and in different fonts, so without context it can be read as: “A brilliant idea. Hit her.”
After photos of the mug began circulating online, social media users were quick to criticise the supermarket with many accusing Sainsbury’s of trivialising and promoting physical abuse.
“This mug…is hugely problematic — we are trying to get them to stop selling it, apologise and make a huge donation to violence against women or girls charities,” one person wrote on Twitter.
Another added: “Who on earth a) designed this and b) authorised this for sale? This is a disgrace.”
A third person commented: “Get rid of these awful mugs and donate to domestic abuse charities.”
“We were dismayed to see the Sainsbury's design with the slogan,” she told the Daily Mail.
“This slogan can be read two ways – and that is the problem. It can be read as the author Roald Dahl wrote in Matilda: 'When at last the germ of a brilliant idea hit her'.
“However, it can also be read – as many have noticed and commented on social media – as a trivialisation of the violence that women experience in their own homes.”
She continued: “Perhaps it would be a 'brilliant idea' to change the design and donate to domestic abuse charities instead.”
A spokesman for Sainsbury's apologised and confirmed that it is removing the mug from sale.
“We are apologising to customers for any upset this may have caused and working with the Roald Dahl team to remove the mug from sale while the design is reviewed,” a spokesperson said.
The mug, which also features an illustration from Quentin Blake, is currently still available to purchase online.
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