Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it seems racists are now using superstore Target to help spread their white nationalist ideologies. Things didn’t work out too well for them, however.
On Monday, Target announced that it had identified the culprit accused of slipping neo-Nazi propaganda into packages of diapers sold by the retail giant. Cards declaring “It’s Okay To Be White” made their way into several boxes of diapers opened by customers in Tennessee, Florida and even Washington, D.C.
“We sincerely apologize to guests who received an inappropriate message in their Target purchase, and thank them for calling it to our attention,” Target’s spokeswoman Danielle Schumann wrote in a statement to Adweek. “After being made aware of the situation, we immediately launched a thorough investigation to address the concerns and put a stop to it.”
“We’ve identified the source, and given this is a violation of our policies and our commitment to inclusivity, terminated the team member,” Schumann concluded.
The Anti-Defamation League first reported the cards last month after receiving at least two complaints from customers who discovered the racist messaging inside diaper boxes they’d ordered. The group said the cards are index-sized and laminated with the words “It’s Okay To Be White” printed on the front. Meanwhile, the backside of the cards promote a number of known white supremacist sites, including The Right Stuff, The Daily Stormer and the now defunct Traditionalist Worker Party.
A Target customer found a card in a box of diapers that read “It’s Okay to be White,” and on the reverse side promoted numerous white supremacist groups & sites. We have reached out to local and federal law enforcement about this incident. Learn more: https://t.co/OJmXcJIQo3 pic.twitter.com/1thYdQKsu4
— ADL Arizona (@ADLArizona) April 2, 2018
In the Florida incident, it turns out the diapers were shipped from a facility in Indianapolis, according to the ADL. However, the Tennessee incident involved a box of diapers that were purchased in-store. Customers quickly took their complaints to Target, who said that it was actively investigating the incidents.
This isn’t the first time “It’s Okay To Be White” fliers have caused an uproar. ADL explained that the phrase emerged out a trolling campaign on far-right forum 4Chan aimed at fueling social unrest and prompting the mainstream media to go “completely berserk.”
In February, similarly phrased propaganda began popping up on three Vermont college campuses, sparking student protests. As intended, the “white identity” signs prompted widespread media coverage after appearing everywhere from Tulane University in New Orleans to Harvard University in Massachusetts.
“We don’t have any information to indicate it’s anything other than random, but the more we see this or if we see similar incidents happening elsewhere, the more we’ll learn about this incident/campaign,” Oren Segal, director of the ADL Center on Extremism, told AdWeek of the Target incident.
“… I don’t know if they’re being ironic or just bringing attention to their ideology or frankly if it’s some kind of prank,” he added.