Parents of autistic children in California are suing the company for selling a mask that includes a breathing device that can help with anxiety and other medical conditions.
The suit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, is seeking a declaration that the mask is an “intentionally harmful device designed to prevent the patient from receiving and understanding information about autism,” a claim that could be a violation of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, or the American Psychological Association’s ADA.
The mask, called the Autism Awareness Mask, has a breathing tube that fits into a “sealed-in” opening on the back of the mask, and the air in the tube is forced out through a nozzle that comes out the top.
It also includes a microphone that can be activated to talk to patients.
Nike has defended the mask and said it is designed to help people with autism and other sensory impairments.
The lawsuit alleges that the company has violated the ADA and has misled the public by falsely claiming the mask works as advertised, which it has done.
The masks are being sold on Amazon.com by a website called AmazonSmile, which has been taken down from the site.
It’s unclear whether the company will appeal.