SOUTH NYACK, N.Y. (CBS Local) — Bed, Bath & Beyond says it has removed black jack-o-lanterns from its website after receiving complaints the pumpkins resembled blackface. The jack-o-lanterns, which are black and feature white paint for the grin, nose, and eyes, were included in a Halloween display on the porch steps of a law firm in South Nyack, New York.
Within 48 hours, the law firm had gotten enough complaints about the pumpkins that it took the display down.
“We understand that someone complained about them and so once we got word of that we immediately took them down,” Mary Marzella, a partner at Feerick Nugent MacCartney, told News 12. “We represent people of all colors and faiths and we would never do anything to exclude anyone from any community.”
Do you think the jack-'o-lanterns were offensive? https://t.co/5WWUCpwv51
— WKYT (@WKYT) October 24, 2019
Bed Bath & Beyond said the item, available only online, has been removed from its website.
“This is a sensitive area and, though unintentional, we apologize for any offense caused,” the company said in a statement. “We have immediately removed the item from sale.”
NAACP director Wilbur Aldridge says the jack-o-lanterns show “An extreme lack of sensitivity.”
“By now I would believe everyone [would] know that anything in blackface is offensive,” he said in a statement. “Equally as offensive is that a retail store would have such an item in [their] inventory for general purchase.”