When Target released an ad in February celebrating a black woman–owned company that sells feminine hygiene products, it sparked a flood of negative and nasty online reviews that accused the company of being “racist” to white people.
“I can't support a company in good faith that is openly racist about their customers,” one review on Trustpilot, a customer review website, said.
“Black girls are empowered using this product... I guess whites girls aren’t. I’ll be letting Target know about this racist company,” another review said.
But these negative reviews have only boosted the Honey Pot Company’s sales, its founder Beatrice Dixon told BuzzFeed News on Monday.
Dixon, who launched the plant-based feminine hygiene line in 2014, said that sales across the company’s retailers have jumped 20% to 30% since the backlash began over the Target commercial that was released Feb. 4.
On Monday, after a barrage of negative and racist reviews were posted on Trustpilot, Dixon said her company’s sales were up 40% to 50% higher than what they would be on a typical day.
The Target ad highlighted Dixon as an inspirational entrepreneur and diverse business leader.
In the ad, Dixon says, “The reason why it’s so important for Honey Pot to do well, is so the next black girl that comes up with a great idea, she could have a better opportunity. That means a lot to me.”
Several reviewers on Trustpilot said they would stop buying the Honey Pot Company's products after watching the ad.
“I've used this brand for years now and I've always been satisfied with the results,” one review said. “If they really think that only black women should be empowered and white women should be left out then that's a huge step backward from the open and friendly society we tried to create over the last decades. I can't support a company in good faith that is openly racist about their customers.”
Another reviewer, who claimed to be “an avid and enthusiastic user” of Honey Pot products, said the Target ad “highlighted a racially motivated component to the company that I am not only uncomfortable with, but outright disagree with.”
Many trolls on Trustpilot also posted racial slurs, including the n-word, in reference to the Honey Pot Company.
Dixon said that she was referring to the business’s success in the ad and that it was "extremely apparent" that she did not make a racist comment in the ad.
“I said nothing about our product being only for black girls,” she said, citing the company’s tagline, which says it is “made by humans with vaginas, for humans with vaginas.”
A Target spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that they were aware of "some negative comments about the campaign, which aren’t in line with the overwhelmingly positive feedback we’ve received from guests who love and have been inspired by Bea’s story."
"Target has a longstanding commitment to empowering and investing in diverse suppliers that create a broad variety of products for our guests," the statement said. "We’re proud to work with Bea Dixon and The Honey Pot team to highlight Bea’s journey to build her brand and bring her products to Target."
Several women on Twitter began sharing screenshots of the negative reviews in an attempt to urge others to rate the company highly and buy its products.
Others expressed incredulity that people were angry about the ad's message.
Many women began tweeting their support for the company, leaving positive reviews, and vowing to purchase its products.
Dixon said that she wasn’t taking any of the negative comments personally: "I can't expect them to understand the plight of what it is to be a black woman co-founder in business."
She said that black-owned businesses did not get a lot of support from the venture capital world. That's why, she said, it was important for her to talk about the success of the Honey Pot Company in empowering black girls to start their businesses, so that black women entrepreneurs could refer to her company when they’re raising money or selling and running their companies.
“When things like this happen, things change,” Dixon said.