Updated Wednesday, Dec. 31, 11:40 a.m EST:
Target issued the following statement to Fox News: “Girls from a variety of backgrounds were featured within the campaign, reflecting that anyone can embody the spirit and character of Annie,” a store representative said.
“As for the involvement of Quvenzhané 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.”
On Christmas Day, Quvenzhané Wallis and Jamie Foxx’s Annie opened in movie theaters. The remake of the musical and ’80s movie was nothing but a success and has even garnered Quvenzhané a Golden Globe nomination, but one retailer seems to have forgotten that she’s the star of the movie.
A Change.org petition was recently created after Target shoppers noticed that Quvenzhané was not featured in any of the ads for Target’s Annie-inspired collection. The ads feature white models, and people are outraged. Although the lookbook does include models of all ethnicities, the in-store display ads seem to feature only white models. So far more than 1,000 people have signed the petition, which states the following:
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 petitioners are requesting that the ads be removed, especially since Quvenzhané attended the brand’s launch of the clothing line and they see the ads not featuring her as a blatant sign of disrespect. Target has not responded to the petition or offered an explanation as to why Quvenzhané was not featured in any of the display ads.