After being featured in a Target ad series, “Founders We Believe In,” the CEO of the natural feminine-hygiene brand Honey Pot Company was unexpectedly hit with criticism — for saying she hoped to create opportunity for black girls with great ideas.
“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,” company founder Beatrice Dixon says in the ad. “That means a lot to me.”
Apparently this didn’t sit right with a number of Target’s customers, as the criticism and harassment, Dixon tells Yahoo Lifestyle, started almost immediately after the commercial’s release — “first through social media, email, and now Trustpilot reviews.”
Still, says the ever-positive entrepreneur, “The silver lining in all of this has been able to see the outpouring of love and support. Even though we’re getting negative reviews, it’s beautiful that people can feel and say what they want.”
And do that they did. On customer review site Trustpilot, Honey Pot received a storm of negative reviews over the weekend, lowering her average rating to one star. One customer review read, “I can't support a company in good faith that is openly racist about their customers.”
Meanwhile, many of the poor reviews included blatantly racist rhetoric, including, “13% of the population commits 50% of murders and 80% of all crime. They should empower black women to get black men to stop raping 10-40 thousand white women per year in the US. Your entire race is a joke. You commit 25x more crime against white people than we do against you. 90% of all interracial crimes are black-on-white. Go back to Africa and feel ‘empowered’ there. No one wants you here.”
Another review read, “Cheap and terrible product, and probably dindu nuffin,” ending with the racial slur that’s derived from “a bastardization of the phrase ‘didn't do nothing,’ a plea for innocence often used in reference to unarmed black men killed by police,” used to mock black people during numerous protests in 2014 and 2015.
Additionally, numerous reviews associated the products with the coronavirus, while some complained about the quality of the Honey Pot’s hair products ー which do not in fact exist.
Luckily, a flood of support from the Black social media community has since rallied around the black-woman owned company to counteract those reviews.
Several women on Twitter began sharing screenshots of the negative reviews, urging others to rate the company highly and to buy its products ー and many did. By Monday, the rating was back at five stars and despite having thousands of reviews, only one percent of them were negative. Although as of Monday night, the Honey Pot's profile page on Trustpilot has been “temporarily suspended while Trustpilot's Content Integrity team investigates an unusual influx of reviews, some of which violate Trustpilot's guidelines.” The site says it’ll be reinstated after the investigation.
The Honey Pot Company was founded in 2012 when, Dixon tells Lifestyle, she had an infection she couldn’t get rid of. She explains that she had a dream in which ancestors showed her certain plants as healing ingredients — which, in waking life, actually cleared up the problem, then provided the basis for her natural feminine hygiene line. Her brother helped fund her dream and, by 2016, she was already beginning work with Target.
In response to this week’s controversy, a spokesperson for the retail chain tells Lifestyle, “Target has a longstanding commitment to empowering and investing in diverse suppliers that create a broad variety of products for our guests. 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. We’re 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.”
Finally, Bea says about the overwhelming amount of comments, “I celebrate the right to do that as much as I do the right to support me. I think it’s a beautiful thing.”
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