Target’s ‘Annie’ Ads Featuring a White Model Stirs Up Controversy

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Target is facing a slew of criticism after they released Annie-themed advertisements for a new clothing line that features a white model despite the fact that the classic remake–which is in theaters now–features a black actress, Quvenzhané Wallis.

Thousands of people have signed a Change.org petition asking Target to replace its in-store ads for “Annie” apparel, and to also apologize to the young actress. Part of the statement reads:

Your recent Annie ads and in-store displays depicts [sic] a misleading depiction of the movie as it shows a Caucasian young lady [as] opposed to the star of the film- Quvenzhané Wallis. Though the model is quite professional, she does not speak to the relevance of the movie or main character. When the original Annie came out, everything was about Aileen Quinn or a character/person that emulated her…why not now Target? If you can show it online, show it in ALL of your stores with multiple signage with different girls not one! [sic]
Although Annie is a fictitious character, there has been a major uproar from protesters stating that they would not support the movie due to the star being African American. Is [this] the reason why Target maliciously hid Quvenzhané Wallis or refused to use an African American girl to depict Annie in their ads?

Target is fighting back after being criticized for “Annie”-themed clothing ads showing a white model as Annie, as opposed to an African-American model, or Quvenzhané Wallis, the actress who plays the character in the holiday remake.

The particular ad that sparked the controversy features a white model, wearing a red dress inspired by Quvenzhané Wallis’ wardrobe in the film. Prior to the release of the film,Target partnered with the film’s costume designer, Renée Ehrlich Kalfus, to start the clothing line.

Despite the criticism, Target is denying any wrongdoing. Joshua Thomas, a Target spokesman, noted that the in-store ads actually feature girls of various ethnic backgrounds. The ad for the online store features one black girl and two white girls.

“Girls from a variety of backgrounds were featured within the campaign, reflecting that anyone can embody the spirit and character of Annie,” Thomas said.

So far, the petition has gained more than 11,000 signatures.

Read the full petition here.

Do you think it was a bad marketing move Target’s behalf or a people being overly sensitive? Tell us what you think in the comments!

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(Photo Credit: Target)