Target may be removing some of its Annie-inspired ads after a Change.org petition appeared online that called out the retailer for “whitewashing” their ads. Customers noticed that none of the models featured in the ad were black children (with the exception of one biracial looking child) while the current lead of the Annie remake is brown-skinned actress Quvenzhané Wallis.
The original petition stated:
“In the current stench of racism and division amongst Americans, why would Target singlehandedly disrespect Quvenzhané Wallis and add more pain to injury as it relates to race relations? These grossly misleading ads are adding to the divide and does not give young African-American girls aspiring to become actors anything to be optimistic about.”
6,000 people signed the petition and demanded Target apologize to Wallis. While Target hasn’t apologized just yet, its spokesman Joshua Thomas confirmed the company has spoken to the young actress’ representation.
Target officials have since shared this released statement to the media about the advertisement controversy:
“At Target, we appreciate the opportunity to hear from our guests. We’re proud of our Annie for Target collection, which was inspired by the recently released remake of the family classic and designed by the film’s costume designer…With regard to the marketing of the collection, girls from a variety of backgrounds were featured within the campaign, reflecting that anyone can embody the spirit and character of Annie.
As for the involvement of Quvenzhane Wallis, we had conversations with her team about being in the campaign, but ultimately it did not come to fruition. Fortunately, we had the pleasure of working with Ms. Wallis a number of times, including appearances at Target’s sales meeting in September and a launch event in New York City in November. We had a great experience working with Ms. Wallis and appreciate her efforts in promoting this collection.”
In anticipation of the Annie film and clothing line, Wallis and co-star Jamie Foxx had also visited a Minnesota Target to promote the collection to its young audience.
The limited edition line is expected to be out of the stores by the end of the week.