Target is fighting back after being criticized for “Annie”-themed clothing ads showing a white model as Annie, as opposed to an African-American model, or Quvenzhané Wallis, the actress who plays the character in the holiday remake.
LaSean Rinique told Yahoo she launched a Change.org petition after her daughter, an “Annie” fan, noticed that a girl in the ads sporting Annie’s signature red dress and locket was white, unlike Wallis, who appears alongside Jamie Foxx in the movie remake.
“She saw the ad and said to me, ‘That’s not what Annie looks like. How come the new black Annie isn’t good enough? Does that mean I’m not good enough?’” Rinique told Yahoo.
But Target told FOX411 in a statement that at least one African-American model was featured in their "Annie" campaign.
"Girls from a variety of backgrounds were featured within the campaign, reflecting that anyone can embody the spirit and character of Annie," a store rep stated and supplied a photo showing one of the models is African-American.
In her petition, Rinique demanded Target remove the ads and issue an apology to Wallis.
“When the original Annie came out, everything was about Aileen Quinn or a character/person that emulated her...why not now Target?” Rinique challenges in the petition. “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.”
Target told FOX411 Wallis was initially set to be a bigger part of the campaign but it did not pan out.
“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,” Target stated. “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.”
Rinique was quick to post a response to Target’s explanation on her petition page.
“I appreciate the time taken to respond; however, if they feel that 'anyone' could embody the spirit of Annie....where is our face?” she wrote. “We figured that Ms. Quvenzhane could not model for the line; however a reasonable facsimile of Ms. Wallis would have been nice!”