Saunders, who is black, told ABC News on Thursday that there were plenty of other cards she found less offensive, but they all featured white couples.
“There was no other option,” said Saunders. “My disappointment was that it was the only card that featured a black couple. There wasn’t any other black husband cards or anything like that. There were white husband cards with a couple on the front. There were ‘My dad’s my hero’ cards with characters on the front, but there wasn’t anything else.”
She snapped a photo of the card and posted it on her personal website, a neighborhood group website and her Facebook page, writing, “You CANNOT be serious Target!!! Really!!!? This was the only Father’s Day card that featured a black couple!!!!!”
Her posts struck a chord and triggered numerous complaints to Target, which yanked the card from the shelves of about 900 of its 1,800 stores nationwide that had stocked it.
“We want all guests to feel welcomed and respected when they shop at Target. We were made aware of some concerns about this card last week and are working with our vendor to have it removed from Target stores,” Joshua Thomas, a spokesman for the chain, said in a statement to ABC News. “We appreciate the feedback and apologize. It’s never our intent to offend any of our guests with the products we sell.”
Patrice Molnar, a spokeswoman for American Greetings, which created the card and supplied it Target, told ABC News that the card was sold at about 5,300 drug stores, supermarkets and big-box chains, including Target.
“In this instance, this particular card was created for, and addressed to, a loving husband —- which the inside copy makes clear,” Molnar told ABC News. “However, we now see that the front page, taken out of context, can communicate an unintentional meaning that we are strongly against perpetuating and is not consistent with our company purpose and values. We should do better in the future, and we will.
“We have notified our store merchandisers to remove the card from all retailer shelves and apologize for any offense we’ve caused,” she added.
Molnar supplied ABC News with photos of the card, which inside reads, “You’re a wonderful husband and father — and I’m so grateful to have you as my partner, my friend and my baby daddy! Happy Father’s Day.”
Saunders said she followed up her online posts with phone calls to both Target and American Greetings to point out why the card was offensive to her.
“For me personally, in growing up, a baby daddy or a baby momma was not something that you wanted to be or wanted. It was someone who wasn’t involved in the child’s life … I don’t see my husband in that way,” she said.
“I didn’t go ranting to boycott Target and not buy cards or anything like that,” she said. “I was just like, ‘Hey, where are the other options?'”
Still, she said representatives of both Target and American Greetings took her complaints seriously.
“And they replied, ‘Hey, yeah we can see that. So we missed the mark on this one. We’re going to pull it,'” Saunders said.
She said she can’t accept all the credit for sparking the groundswell of anger that got the attention of two major companies.
“I think the reason they’re removing the card is because there were more people than just me who complained,” she said. “A company doesn’t make an action like this based on the opinion of just one person. So obviously I’m not the only one who took issue with it.”
She said she plans to celebrate Father’s Day on Sunday with her husband and their toddler, who is almost 2 years old.
“He’ll get a nice present,” she said, “but no card yet.”