Target is facing backlash over a new Christmas-themed sweater, which disgruntled shoppers say makes light of mental illness.
People on social media began to notice the sweater, which is a play on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD, this week after Target released its holiday sweater collection in-store and online.
Target belittled and mocked people with a serious mental disorder.
Twitter user Reign Murphy tweeted alongside a photo of her holding up the sweater:
“As someone with OCD I’d really appreciate it if you didn’t sell my illness as a fashion statement.”
It is estimated that 2.2million Americans suffer from the condition, which is characterized by having certain thoughts or rituals that get in the way of daily life.
Angry consumers have flocked to social media, saying the garment trivializes those who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder.
“Hey @Target this sweater isn’t cute or funny. OCD is a serious mental illness that shouldn’t be mocked,” shopper Kate Gannon tweeted.
“Making light of mental illness continues to enforce the stigma against those who suffer. It is sad to see that Target, a major retailer, has decided to shill this product,” user Candy Clymer wrote on the retailer’s Facebook page.
Some social media users, however, like the design.
“Hey @Target, tell the people who are obsessing about your OCD sweater to take their Zoloft! I have #OCD, and I like the sweater,” Austin Mayse said on Twitter.
“We never want to disappoint any of our guests and apologize for any discomfort,” Target spokesman Josh Thomas said in a statement.
Target will continue to sell the garb, he said.
“We currently do not have plans to remove this sweater”
Target was previously the center of similar controversy regarding a sign that referenced “building sets” and “girls’ building sets” for sale. It was also criticized for selling a women’s T-shirt with the word “Trophy” on the front, which inspired a successful petition for its removal.
“The truth is that millions of women and young girls are taken as ‘trophies’ every year in war, sex trafficking, slavery, and rape,” the petition said, Fortune reported. “Labeling any person as a ‘Trophy’ is demeaning their humanity and objectifying them as a tangible object that can be bought, used, and disposed of.”
Target responded to that controversy by apologizing for offending customers.
“It is never our intention to offend anyone,” the company’s statement read. “These shirts are intended as a fun wink and we have received an overwhelmingly positive response from our guests.”