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Target holds firm on selling ‘OCD’ sweaters

November 12, 2015, 4:51 PM UTC
Photographer: David Ryder/Bloomberg
Photograph by David Ryder — Getty Images

‘Tis the season for offending customers. Target is being criticized on social media for a Christmas sweater it currently sells in its stores.

The red garment bears the slogan “OCD: Obsessive Christmas Disorder,” and while it may be meant in good fun, some people aren’t amused by the retail giant apparently making light of obsessive compulsive disorder, and took to social media to say so.

Not everyone was offended by the sweaters, which Target calls “OCD Ugly Christmas Sweater Red-Awake.” Some people suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder also went on Twitter, and defended the holiday garment.

One Twitter user who suffers from the ailment not only took the opportunity to defend the sweater, but made light of the disorder itself.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 2.2 million American adults suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Despite the outcry, Target spokesperson Jessica Carlson said in an email that the sweater, which sells for $22.40 in regular size and $24 in plus size, would remain on store shelves.

“We never want to disappoint our guests and we apologize for any discomfort,” she said. “We currently do not have plans to remove this sweater.”

Carlson also noted that both the phrase and the product have been around for some time, and are not exclusive to Target. A sweatshirt bearing the slogan “I Have OCD Obsessive Christmas Disorder” is available from online retailer Spreadshirt, and the slogan also appears on t-shirts from CafePress, Zazzle and Skreened.

This is not the first time in the past year that Target has found itself at the center of controversy, on social media and elsewhere. In August, it announced its intention to use gender-neutral signs in aisles that carry children’s bedding, books and toys after a Twitter user admonished the store for using a sign that referenced both “building sets” and “girls’ building sets.”

In July, Target was also criticized for selling a t-shirt emblazoned with the word “TROPHY.” The shirt inspired a petition which demanded that the store stop selling the shirt.

“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. “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 the petition in a statement.

“It is never our intention to offend anyone,” it said. “These shirts are intended as a fun wink and we have received an overwhelmingly positive response from our guests.”

Daniel Bukszpan is a New York-based freelance writer.