Retailer pulls jack-o’-lanterns after “blackface” complaints

Bed Bath & Beyond is reportedly no longer selling jack-o’-lanterns decked out in back paint with white mouths after some residents of Nyack, New York, took umbrage at a local law firm’s Halloween display. 

The brouhaha started with complaints from community members about a Halloween display in front of the Feerick, Hugent, MacCartney Law Offices, prompting its attorneys to move the pumpkins out of view, according to a local media report

“We understand that someone complained about them, and so once we got word of that we immediately took them down,” Mary Marzolla, a partner at the law firm, told News 12. 

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“We represent people of all colors and faiths, and we would never do anything to exclude anyone from any community,” she added.

Bed Bath & Beyond did not immediately return a request for comment.  

“We purchased these Jack-0′-Lanterns from Bed Bath and Beyond specifically for the purpose of including them in our holiday display and took them down immediately upon hearing the concerns raised,” Marzolla told CBS MoneyWatch in an email. “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.”

Politicians including Canada’s newly reelected prime minister have had to apologize for wearing blackface, a historically racist form of theater in which a non-black person dons dark face paint.

Justin Trudeau asks for forgiveness after multiple blackface photos surface

The jack-o’-lanterns showed an “extreme lack of sensitivity,” according to Wilbur Aldridge, director of the regional NAACP chapter. “By now I would believe everyone [would] know that anything in blackface is offensive,” he told local outlets in a statement. “Equally as offensive is that a retail store would have such an item in [their] inventory for general purchase.”

Bed Bath & Beyond reportedly apologized, saying it did not mean to offend anyone and that it has removed the pumpkins from its stores.

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