Target apologizes for 'manatee gray' plus-size dress

Target sold a plus-size dress in the color "manatee gray," while the same dress in smaller sizes was called "dark heather gray."

NEW YORK — Shoppers at a Target store in Brooklyn say a label that listed the color of a plus-size dress as "manatee gray" was insulting.

The label for the same dress in smaller sizes described it as "dark heather gray."

Target's 'manatee gray' dress and other controversial products

Target's 'manatee gray' dress and other controversial products
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The controversy was sparked when Susan Clemens noticed the discrepancy on Target.com and tweeted a picture highlighting her discovery.

Target quickly issued an apology for the discrepancy.

Target spokesman Joshua Thomas told Forbes that "manatee grey" is a color it uses for several products across its website, in both plus and standard sizes. In this case, however, the teams for the different product lines didn't coordinate when they were inputting product information. "One team apparently used the color's official name, while the other eyeballed it," Forbes reported.

"We apologize for any discomfort this might have caused and are working to update the name of the dress to reflect Dark Heather Gray," Thomas said. "This was an unfortunate oversight and we'll take it into consideration moving forward."

While Clemens praised Target for its speedy response, saying she was not outraged, other Target shoppers were not pleased.

Michelle Ho, shopping at the store at Atlantic Terminal Mall, told the New York Post that Target was "putting down one set of people over another" with the different labels.

Clemens said she thinks the outrage sprung from something deeper in the American psyche and in the way women are talked about in the media.

Target edits 'manatee grey' color for plus-size dress: Target apologized for the 'manatee grey' color used to describe a women's plus-size dress. The image is a screen shot from Susan Clemens' @suZen Twitter page. IMAGEtwitter.com

"The whole manatee thing touches cultural pain points — it's not about Target — it's about how people feel how they're discussed," she said. "In a culture where women's bodies are commented on endlessly, this struck a nerve with a lot of people."

Spokeswoman Jessica Deede said although manatee gray was a seasonal color, Target was "fixing the discrepancy." She said the item was removed from the company website.

Associated Press contributed to this story.

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