Bed Bath & Beyond is apologizing for a jack-o’-lantern product after complaints that it looked like blackface. That item is no longer on sale.
“This is a sensitive area and, though unintentional, we apologize for any offense caused. We immediately removed the item from sale. The item was only available online." a Bed Bath & Beyond spokesperson tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
According to News 12 in Westchester, N.Y., the retail chain took action after the station investigated local complaints about Halloween decorations on the front steps of the Feerick, Nugent, MacCartney Law Offices in South Nyack, N.Y. The exhibit featured several black pumpkins with white mouths, each bearing the name of its partners. But according to the firm, someone took offense at the display.
Mary Marzolla, a partner at the firm, tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “We purchased these jack-o'-lanterns from Bed, Bath & Beyond specifically for the purpose of including them in our holiday display and took them down immediately upon hearing the concerns raised. We are a community law firm, work for the local community and have championed the cause for many people who suffered improper treatment by others. We will continue to do so.”
Marzolla also told News 12, “We represent people of all colors and faiths and we would never do anything to exclude anyone from any community.” Associate Alak Shah added, “It is just not something that I took offense to personally, but since it did offend somebody, the firm took proactive steps and took them down.”
Other companies have removed products that have spurred blackface accusations — in February, Gucci apologized for selling a wool jumper worn partially over the face, with a red outline that resembled lips. Also during Black History Month, Adidas canceled a sneaker dubbed “Uncaged” following dissatisfaction over its white color.
"Toward the latter stages of the design process, we added a running shoe to the collection that we later felt did not reflect the spirit or philosophy of how Adidas believes we should recognize and honor Black History Month," Adidas said, according to AdAge. "After careful consideration, we have decided to withdraw the product from the collection."
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