A television ad for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of WA that was likened to the Saw horror movies and sparked a call to boycott the charity has been pulled from the airwaves.
The 45-second ad, which launched last week, features an MS sufferer trapped inside a glass box — a metaphor for the way some with the condition say they feel trapped inside their own bodies.
The ad was designed to be "confronting" and only screened after 8.30pm, but it sparked outrage from MS sufferers around the world, who this week labelled the ad distressing, disgraceful and disgusting on social media.
By yesterday, the ad had received dozens of angry comments on YouTube, including warnings the ad could affect the mental health of those with MS.
One MS sufferer, using the name kermitthebudgie, said the ad had caused "distress and anger to the people you are supposedly trying to help".
"Have you lot completely lost touch?" they said.
A scene from the advert which has since been pulled.
An MS sufferer from Canada said he found the ad "distasteful".
"I would discourage people from giving to any organisation or charity that stooped this low to try to raise funds," he said.
The MS Society issued an apology on YouTube "for any distress this campaign has caused" yesterday.
"It was never our intention to upset anyone," the statement said.
"We wanted to start discussions about multiple sclerosis and raise awareness about how debilitating it can be."
Chief executive Marcus Stafford said the society had sought the views and input of a number of people with MS, at various stages of the condition, before creating the ad.
"The recurring theme was one of them feeling trapped in their own bodies and that people don't understand what they are going through," he said.
"MS is the most common neurological condition in young people aged between 20 and 40 but levels of awareness in the general population are low.
"We need more people to understand what a silent and debilitating condition it is."
Mr Stafford said the aim of the campaign had been to "grow healthcare services and fund research so that we can all live in a world free from MS".