Target criticized for 'illegal alien' costume

  • Article by: JACKIE CROSBY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 16, 2009 - 9:13 PM

Target Corp. apologized Friday after coming under fire from customers and some Hispanic groups for selling an "illegal alien" Halloween costume on its website. The $39.99 costume comes with a space alien mask, an orange jail suit with "illegal alien" stamped on the chest and a large "green card." The Minneapolis retailer said the costume was added to its website by mistake and said it would be removed.

"It's insensitive, it's offensive," said Vicki Adame, a California media relations consultant who complained to Target after learning about the costume on a Facebook site, "Wise Latinas Linked," which lists 2,200 members. "Immigration is such a hot-button issue. Why is Target fueling that fire?"

Lizette Olmos, national communications director for the League of United Latin American Citizens, said the Washington-based organization will formally complain to Target.

"It's really disturbing," Olmos said. Besides the complaint about Target, the organization has received a number of others this year about costumes that she said are racist and degrading.

Target spokesman Joshua Thomas said the item was put on its website by mistake when an employee entered a wrong number into the system. Target has a strict review process with its vendors, he said. "We apologize. This was never intended to be part of our assortment. We are moving as quickly as possible to remove it from our website."

Target started getting complaints Thursday afternoon, Thomas said, but the costume was still online Friday evening. Target's website is managed by Amazon.com, and Thomas said it could take as long as 48 hours to take it down.

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