Target is investigating how laminated cards advocating for white supremacist groups ended up in boxes of diapers it sold.
In a blog post, the Anti-Defamation League said it has received at least two complaints, including a Target customer in Washington, D.C., who found a card reading, “It’s Okay to be White.”
Update: In an April 10 email, Target said it identified the person responsible as an employee and that it had fired that person “given this is a violation of our policies and our commitment to inclusivity.”
“We sincerely apologize and share our guest’s concerns about the inappropriate message they found in their Target purchase,” a Target rep wrote in an email to Adweek. “We’re working to urgently address this matter and are actively investigating this with our security teams. While we’re not able to share specific details of the investigation, we encourage any guests who may have received this message to share their experience by calling Target Guest Relations at 1-800-591-3869.”
According to the ADL, the cards also listed white supremacist websites and have been found in diapers from Pampers and Target’s Up & Up brand in Florida and Tennessee. The package delivered to a customer in Florida originated in Indiana.
Pampers did not respond to a request for comment.
According to meme database Know Your Meme, the phrase originated on the message board 4chan in October 2017 to “demonstrate that signs with the phrase posted in public places would be accused of promoting racism and white supremacy” and would cause a “massive media shitstorm.”
Similar signs have appeared on high school and college campuses and in public spaces. The Washington Post reports the message seeks to “feed social unrest and sway white Americans to far-right ideologies.”
Per Newsweek, neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke and Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson have also addressed the slogan.
Oren Segal, director of the ADL’s Center on Extremism, said it’s unclear when the cards were slipped into boxes—and who did it, but he noted it’s “a very strange way for whoever the person is who did this to try to spread the message of this movement.”
Segal said the ADL is monitoring online discussions to see if any groups are talking about this campaign.
“We don’t have any information to indicate it’s anything other than random, but the more we see this or if we see similar incidents happening elsewhere, the more we’ll learn about this incident/campaign,” he added. “One of the main mottos for white supremacists is securing the future of their people and white children. I think this takes that motto to a level beyond anything anyone can imagine. I don’t know if they’re being ironic or just bringing attention to their ideology or frankly if it’s some kind of prank.”