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'Annie' Target Ads Criticized For Using White Models Instead Of Quvenzhané Wallis

12/30/2014 03:54 EST | Updated 12/31/2014 11:59 EST

The remake of the film "Annie" earned its star Quvenzhané Wallis a Golden Globe nomination, but that doesn't seem to matter to Target.

The retailer's customers have started a Change.org petition protesting the company's ads for its clothing collection based on the film. Supporters of the petition are criticizing Target for using white models in the in-store ads instead of the film's star, Quvenzhané Wallis, who is black. (Although the look book for the capsule collection features models of diverse backgrounds.)

So far, more than 6,000 people have signed the petition, which reads in part:

Your recent Annie ads and in-store displays depicts (sic) a misleading depiction of the movie as it shows a Caucasian young lady 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!

The petition also demands that Target remove the in-store ads:

We demand that you immediately pull those misleading ads and give Quvenzhané Wallis her due respect as well as other little girls who aspire to be like her. Being African American is not ugly, it is not bad and we are sellable! 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. Or show more diversity within your stores and depict a variety of races as you did with your online ads. Everyone does not have access to internet- plus the younger fans may not be allowed to use internet.

A rep for Target responded via New York magazine:

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.

What do you think? Does Target have a diversity problem? Let us know in the comments below.

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