NYACK, N.Y. — Bed Bath & Beyond has pulled some of its jack-o'-lanterns after getting complaints that they resemble blackface, according to one local report.
News 12 reported community members in Nyack, New York, noticed three jack-o'-lanterns outside the offices of Feerick Nugent MacCartney Attorneys At Law in New York. The pumpkins were painted black and had faces on them drawn in chalk.
Two days later, the local news station reported, the jack-o'-lanterns were removed.
"We purchased these Jack-0'-Lanterns from Bed, Bath & Beyond specifically for the purpose of including them in our holiday display and took them down immediately upon hearing the concerns raised," Mary Marzolla, a partner at the law firm, said in a statement, according to The Journal News. "We are a community law firm, work for the local community, and have championed the cause for many people who suffered improper treatment by others. We will continue to do so."
NAACP Regional Director Wilbur Aldridge said the issue was with the color of the paint, not the color of the pumpkin.
"I could care less about the black pumpkins," Aldridge told The Journal News. "Whenever you take a black pumpkin and put white paint for the eyes and white mouth, that's called blackface. That's the objection. Many black people find blackface offensive. I don't know how people don't realize people are going to be offended by blackface."
News 12 reported Marzolla and her associate at the firm, Alak Shah, wondered why the decorations didn't raise eyebrows at Bed Bath & Beyond, where they were purchased.
A representative for Bed Bath & Beyond told USA Today the pumpkins in question, which were only available online, have been removed from the store. A similar black pumpkin is still available on the site and can be personalized with letters, but not faces.
"This is a sensitive area and, though unintentional, we apologize for any offense caused," the representative said. "We immediately removed the item from sale."
Cox Media Group