Viral photo shows Target anti-theft stickers only on darker shades of makeup

A viral photo that surfaced this week shows a Target store shelf of cosmetics with anti-theft devices—but only on darker shades of makeup.

A Twitter user shared the photo on Thursday, which has since been retweeted more than 16,000 times. The image shows a row of foundation bottles with only the dark shades bearing the Target logo and stickers that say “This item is electronically protected.” The location of the Target store is unclear from the image.

“Any reason you only put these anti theft devices on the darkest shades?” a user tweeted from a now-locked account, tagging Target’s official Twitter account. The user told the Daily Dot that they didn’t take the photo themselves but reshared it on Facebook. After the tweet went viral, the user made their Twitter account private. 

But while it was unlocked, the photo sparked anger. People said the placement of electronic stickers implied that darker shade foundations are more likely to get stolen.

Since the photo’s origins are unknown, it’s entirely possible that it was staged and/or that the other bottles of makeup have electronic anti-theft stickers on the sides facing away from the camera.

Regardless, some people who commented on the photo exposed their blatant racism and insisted darker shades of makeup are the ones that get stolen more and implied that people of color are more likely to steal than light-skinned people.

“It’s trivial to add anti theft to All of them,” one user wrote.

Of course, that’s total nonsense.

One person had the perfect comeback: Black people don’t shoplift more, white people and other communities just get away with it more often.

In some tweets, people joked that Elf Cosmetics—which is known for selling makeup for as low as $1—isn’t losing much anyway.

And others sardonically suggested that the electronic stickers are in place not to dissuade people of color from stealing, but to dissuade white people from wearing blackface.

Target’s customer service account @AskTarget responded to the photo and asked the user to share the location of the branch. The Daily Dot has reached out to Target and will update this story if the retail chain responds.

Update 5:33pm CT, Nov. 8: This article has been updated to remove the Twitter handle of the user who shared the photo.


Samira Sadeque

Samira Sadeque

Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque