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Target pulls "stalker" Valentine's Day cards in response to social media outrage

Target pulled "stalker" Valentine's Day cards from shelves in response to an anti-making-light-of-stalking campaign led by Ginger Lee.

Yes, that Ginger Lee -- the same former porn star who brought down U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner after it came to light that the two had exchanged sexual e-mails with each other.

Target caved quickly after Lee and others took to social media to express outrage about the understated and possibly creepy V-Day cards.

The card's message is all of eight words -- on the cover, "stalker is a harsh word," and on the inside, "i prefer valentine." But those eight words were all it took to enrage Lee, who began her anti-stalking-card, Target-what-the-hell-are-you-thinking campaign with the following tweet:

In a follow-up tweet just minutes later, Lee indicated she viewed Target's choice to sell the card as a personal challenge, one that she was eager to take on:

For Lee, stalking is nothing to make light of. She told Forbes she's been stalked the past two years by a man who "went from friend to if-I-can't-have-you-no-one-can."

About 3.4 million people over age 18 are stalked each year in America. Thirty percent of victims are targeted by current or former intimate partners.

Target first posted the card on Tumblr Wednesday, and the Lee-driven social media firestorm began shortly thereafter. Comments objecting to the card were posted, and in some cases deleted, on Target's Facebook page and Twitter feed. A petition drive began to get the "sinister and ugly" cards removed from store shelves.

By yesterday, Target decided to pull the cards. In an e-mail to Forbes, company spokesperson Kristy Welker explained the company's decision thusly:

It is never our intent to offend guests with the products we offer and we take feedback from guests very seriously. We immediately made the decision to remove this card from our selection. There may be stores that still have this card on the sales floor. If a guest sees this card in a store, they can notify a team member who can remove it from the sales floor.

Sure, Target's decision to stock the card was ill-advised -- but isn't it equally absurd that retailers can charge good money for a card that looks like it was designed quicker than you can say "Anthony Weiner"?


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