Officials from the UKs National Health Service have apologized for a controversial ad featuring Santa Claus desperately sick with COVID-19 that angered some parents.
The public service announcement, which was yanked from YouTube, featured a gravely ill man with a white beard being rushed into the emergency room of an NHS hospital. Hes clearly in distress and cared for by a crew of caring professionals. 
The mystery man eventually bounces back to (apparent) sleigh-riding recovery, and his nurse discovers hes St. Nick.
The video, entitled The Gift, was produced for the NHS Charities Together organization which raises funds for nonprofits that support the health system. The PSA was intended to attract donations and as a homage to health-care workers and volunteers who toil amid the pandemic to save in this case Santa and Christmas. Give back to those who give everything is the tagline of the video.
The ad initially drew some praise, with The Daily Mail calling it touching and heartwarming, but the newspaper also described it as the nightmare before Christmas.
People commenting on social media were disturbed by the images of a seriously ill Santa and concerned about the videos impact on children:
This utterly shameful Ad MUST be taken down immediately, how dare you mess with the mental health of of our children SHAME ON YOU.
— Tonia Buxton (@ToniaBuxton) December 10, 2020
This holiday season, give your children the gift of shrieking, bedwetting paranoia by showing them the NHS film about how SANTA CLAUS IS GOING TO DIE IF PEOPLE REFUSE TO MINDLESSLY FOLLOW ORDERS!
— Consent Factory (@consent_factory) December 12, 2020
After a building storm of criticism, the spot was scrubbed last week. Officials apologized for the video and said it wasnt aimed at children and hasnt been shown on TV.
We are sorry to the parents of any young children who have been upset by watching the ad and to the young children themselves, the officials stated. They were not the intended audience for it.
Check out the video above.

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