Target stops selling product dedicated to Civil Rights icons after TikTok video shows errors


NEW YORK (AP) — Target says it will stop selling a product dedicated to Civil Rights icons after a now-viral TikTok spotlighted some significant errors.

In a video posted earlier this week, Las Vegas high school teacher Tierra Espy displayed how three Civil Rights icons — Carter G. Woodson, W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington — were misidentified in the magnetic learning activity.

“These need to be pulled off the shelves immediately,” Espy, who uses the TikTok handle @issatete, says in her Tuesday video. “I teach U.S. History … and I noticed some discrepancies as soon as I opened this.”

In a Friday interview with The Associated Press, Espy explained that she purchased the “Civil Rights Magnetic Learning Activity” at the end of January, in hopes of giving it to her kids. But when she opened the product at home, she quickly found the egregious errors and shared them online.

Soon after, Target confirmed that it would stop sales of the product.

“We will no longer be selling this product in stores or online,” Minneapolis-based Target said in a statement. “We’ve also ensured the product’s publisher is aware of the errors.”

Target did not immediately address how long the product had been for sale, or a timeline for when its removal would be complete. The product’s removal comes at the start of Black History Month, which Target and other retailers are commemorating with special collections aimed at celebrating Black history.

The erroneous magnetic activity featured in Espy’s video has a Bendon manufacturing label. The Ohio-based children’s publisher did not immediately respond to requests for statements Friday.

As of Friday, Espy said that Target and Bendon had yet to reach out to her. While she said she is glad the product was removed from shelves, she also said she was disappointed to not see an apology from the companies yet.

In addition to an apology, Espy said the incident underlines the importance of reviewing products before making them available to consumers — which would help avoid harmful errors like this down the road.

“Google is free, and like I caught it in two seconds. They could have caught it by just doing a quick Google search,” she said.

Espy added that she appreciated the support from fellow TikTok users who helped make sure the errors didn’t go unnoticed.

“I’m happy that people are realizing that history, period, matters,” she said.

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