- Honey Pot, a black-owned business, was hit with negative reviews after a recently released Target ad featured its founder expressing hopes that her success would pave the way for other black girls
- Some were offended that Beatrice Dixon only addressed black girls in the ad and even accused the company of being racist.
- Many expressed their outrage at the negative review-writers and pledged their support to the brand. The ordeal ended up bringing an increase in sales to the company.
- Founder Beatrice Dixon said her products are meant for all women but also stood by her support expressed in the ad.
Ad Spurs Negative Reviews
The Honey Pot, a business run by a black woman, faced a slew of negative reviews following a Target commercial featuring its founder, but the verbal attacks actually resulted in increased sales and widespread support of the brand.
Beatrice Dixon founded Honey Pot, a plant-based feminine care line, after her own personal wellness struggles. In early February, Target released an ad featuring Dixon under the title “Founders We Believe In.” The commercial switches between the Honey Pot owner walking along Target aisles and talking to the camera about the obstacles she faced in starting her company.
“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 can have a better opportunity,” Dixon says at the end of the ad. “That means a lot to me.”
Earlier this week, a surge of negative reviews flooded the Honey Pot’s profile on Trustpilot, a consumer review website.
“Black girls are empowered using this product… I guess whites girls aren’t. I’ll be letting Target know about this racist company,” one review said.
“I saw the commercial where the founder of the company stated that it’s to empower black women- not ALL women, only black women… it made me feel that the company is not only racist but small minded and not worth purchasing,” another said.
Dixon addressed the backlash in interviews with several news outlets. She said her products are for all women, as the company markets. In fact, the tagline on the line’s home page is “Made by Humans with Vaginas, for Humans with Vaginas.”
“That comment wasn’t about us being a Black-owned business and only selling to Black customers. I think we’re human and race shouldn’t even be a conversation, but it is because of the society we live in,” Dixon told ESSENCE. “We understand the responsibility as a Black-owned business that we have to be successful because if we’re not, we’re not doing anything for the culture to move it forward so that [race] isn’t a topic.”
The founder said that while she wasn’t necessarily surprised by the negative backlash, she also didn’t have expectations. She stood by her message in the ad.
“This was not Honey Pot’s commercial, it was Target’s commercial. It was shot during Black History Month and for Women’s History Month,” Dixon said to the magazine. “They chose that particular clip for a reason. I’m here for that story and that’s why I said it.”
In a statement, Target said they are proud to work with Dixon and Honey Pot.
“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,” Target said.
Support Pours in for Honey Pot
As Internet users caught wind of the negative reviews coming in for Honey Pot, many expressed their outrage.
“Racist White people are literally leaving racist ass reviews under #HoneyPot products on Target’s website because they are mad that it is a company ran by a Black woman,” one Twitter user said. “People are fucking THREATENED by Black women’s success.”
Some called attention to the negative comments on Trustpilot and urged others to leave their own positive reviews for the company.
Many heeded the call and visited Trustpilot to praise Dixon and her feminine care line.
“Love her product!” one person wrote. “Also, her message is very empowering to me and other girls. She proves once you have a vision and believe in yourself you can do anything. Ignore the reviews from bitter, evil, white trash below. They don’t speak up when minority women are being abused and trashed but they speak up to bash on minority women when they uplift themselves.”
“This is amazing. So glad to see more options available for all consumers. The haters were just jealous they weren’t invited to be the center of attention for once,” another review said.
By March 2, Honey Pot’s Trustpilot profile was so flooded with submissions that the website temporarily suspended new reviews from coming in.
“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 wrote. “The page will be reinstated after investigation of the reviews.”
The drama turned out to be a good thing for Dixon and her company. She told Buzzfeed that after the wave of negative comments hit the Trustpilot page earlier in the week, Honey Pot’s sales were up 40% to 50% higher than what they would be on a typical day.
Donald Trump and Eldest Three Children Hit With Fraud Lawsuit From New York AG
AG Letitia James says that the former president “falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself.”
Lawsuit Filed Against Trump
New York Attorney General Letitia James announced on Wednesday that she filed a civil lawsuit against former president Donald Trump and his three eldest children over allegations that they fraudulently inflated asset valuations within the Trump Organization.
Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump are all listed alongside their father in the lawsuit. Executives Jeffrey McConney and Allen Weisselberg, the latter of whom recently pled guilty to tax crimes, are also listed alongside other Trump businesses.
“Donald Trump, with the help of his children…and senior executives at the Trump Organization, falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to induce banks to lend money to the Trump Organization on more favorable terms than would otherwise have been available to the company, to satisfy continuing loan covenants, to induce insurers to provide insurance coverage for higher limits and at lower premiums, and to gain tax benefits, among other things,” a press release announcing the lawsuit claimed.
The Attorney General’s office claims that between 2011 and 2021, Trump and the Trump Organization made 200 false and misleading claims about asset values on annual financial statements.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in a State Supreme Court in Manhattan.
“The complaint demonstrates that Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself and to cheat the system, thereby cheating all of us,” James said while announcing the complaint.
Her office is seeking to permanently ban Trump and his children from serving as an officer or director in any New York corporation and to bar Trump and his organization from entering into any New York real estate acquisitions for five years. The office is also seeking to recover $250 million in penalty payments, among other forms of relief.
The Office of the Attorney General has also referred the matter to the federal attorneys in New York and to the IRS for criminal investigation.
“There aren’t two sets of laws for people in this nation: former presidents must be held to the same standards as everyday Americans,” James added in a statement on social media.
“Trump’s crimes are not victimless,” she continued. “When the well-connected and powerful break the law to get more money than they are entitled to, it reduces resources available to working people, small businesses, and taxpayers.”
Trump Allegedly Inflated Key Assets
According to James’ release, Trump “made known through Mr. Weisselberg that he wanted his net worth on his statements to increase every year.”
“And the statements were the vehicle by which his net worth was fraudulently inflated by billions of dollars year after year,” the release continued.
Among the assets Trump and his organization allegedly inflated was the Trump Tower Triplex, an apartment Trump allegedly claimed was 30,000 square feet when it is just around 11,000 square feet. Because of its ballooned size, the property was valued at $327 million in 2015, roughly three times as much as the sole apartment in New York City to ever sell for over $100 million at the time.
For further comparison, the highest sale for a listing in Trump Tower at the time was only $16 million.
Trump also allegedly claimed Mar-a-Lago was valued as high as $739 million based on the “false premise” that the property could be developed and sold for residential use. The lawsuit claims that Trump actually signed deeds donating those rights, limiting the property’s use to a social club. James and her office claim its value would fall closer to $75 million.
Inflated Clauations Cannot Be “Excused”
“The inflated asset valuations in the Statements cannot be brushed aside or excused as merely the result of exaggeration or good faith estimation about which reasonable real estate professionals may differ,” the lawsuit states, adding that instead, they are the result of improper methodology intentionally meant to falsely boost Trump’s net worth.
The investigation into Trump’s alleged fraud began nearly three years ago, and the former president has repeatedly called it a politically motivated witch hunt. His attorney, Alina Habba, doubled down on that rhetoric in a statement Wednesday.
“Today’s filing is neither focused on the facts nor the law – rather, it is solely focused on advancing the Attorney General’s political agenda,” Habba said. “We are confident that our judicial system will not stand for this unchecked abuse of authority, and we look forward to defending our client against each and every one of the Attorney General’s meritless claims.”
For his part, Trump has blasted the lawsuit on Truth Social, calling James a “fraud” and a “crime-fighting disaster.”
Trump previously tried to impede the probe but was ultimately ordered by a judge to sit for a deposition and turn over subpoenaed documents. Reports say he pled the fifth hundreds of times during his deposition.
See what others are saying: (Bloomberg) (The Washington Post) (Reuters)
Hurricane Fiona Causes “Catastrophic” Damage in Puerto Rico, Leaving Many Without Power
While power has been restored to some, more than a million remain without it as continued rainfall, flooding, and landslides are expected to cause further damage across the island.
Hurricane Fiona Wreaks Havoc
Hurricane Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico Sunday, bringing heavy rains, flooding, and landslides, while also knocking out power for the entire island and killing at least one person.
Photos and videos posted on social media show floodwaters consuming major streets and engulfing cars. Some pictures show an entire bridge flooded, making it impassible. Other footage shows a different bridge entirely uprooted and a metal barrier ripped away from the road and floating down a river of floodwater.
Officials have said conditions are still too dangerous to fully evaluate the extent of the crisis. In remarks to the public, Puerto Rico’s governor, Pedro Pierluisi, described the damage as “catastrophic.”
He asserted that the storm has been one of the most significant since Hurricane Maria — which hit the island almost exactly 5 years ago to the day — killing more than 3,000 people, leaving many without power for months, and causing destruction that the island is still recovering from.
Pierluisi noted that Puerto Rico has received over 30 inches of rain and that some areas have even gotten more rain than during Hurricane Maria. As of Monday afternoon, the National Gaurd has led 30 rescue operations so far, saving more than 1,000 stranded residents in 25 municipalities, according to the governor.
Pierluisi also added that more than 2,000 people were in the island’s 128 shelters, with officials further saying there is plenty of shelter space for those who need it. On Sunday, President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration for Puerto Rico, which will allow federal agencies to coordinate disaster relief.
Continued Issues As Storm Rages On
Meanwhile, Puerto Rico’s water authority has confirmed that just over 70% of the island is still without water. According to poweroutage.us, more than 1.3 million customers were still without power as of Monday morning.
The power company LUMA also stated that electricity had been restored to around 100,000 customers over the course of Sunday night, though it previously warned that the full restoration of power could take several days as the storm has created “incredibly challenging” conditions.
While Hurricane Fiona has passed through Puerto Rico, having now made landfall in the Dominican Republic, officials and experts say that heavy rains and further flooding are still to be expected for the next few days.
The National Weather Service has warned that “life-threatening and catastrophic flooding” as well as mudslides and landslides are expected to continue across the island. As a result, Pierluisi has urged Puerto Ricans Monday to remain home and in shelters so that officials can continue to respond to others in need.
He also noted that the areas most impacted by the hurricane include the southern part of the island, the southwest, and the mountains.
After moving through the Dominican Republic, Hurricane Fiona is expected to head towards Turks and Caicos Tuesday. The National Hurricane Center has said that the storm will continue to grow and by Wednesday, it is set to become a major hurricane — which means a Category 3 or higher.
See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (The Washington Post) (CNN)
Government Aid Cut Child Poverty in Half During Pandemic, Data Shows
The reduction occurred similarly across geography, race, family type, and citizenship status.
Largest Drop in Half a Century
The United States’s child poverty rate sank to the lowest level on record last year, primarily thanks to pandemic relief measures and other government programs, according to an analysis of census data released Tuesday.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analyzed data from the Census Bureau’s supplementary poverty measure, which accounts for safety net programs and tax credits as well as regional differences in the cost of living.
From around 11% in 2019, the percentage of kids living below the poverty line fell to 9.7% in 2020 and 5.2% the year after that.
In just two years, nearly 5.5 million kids were lifted from poverty, marking an almost 60% drop in the child poverty rate.
The Center’s researchers gave most credit to the federal government’s numerous interventions in the economy, from stimulus payments and the expanded child tax credit to eviction moratoriums and expanded unemployment insurance.
Without government intervention, poverty in 2020 would have experienced its second-largest recorded increase, the Center claimed, but instead, it underwent the largest single-year decline in over half a century.
Especially impactful was the expanded child tax credit, which sent up to $300 per child to households with children every month between July and December 2021.
According to the analysis, this policy alone pulled nearly three million kids out of poverty.
But the tax credit’s expansion expired at the end of the year despite Democrats’ efforts to prolong it with Biden’s signature Build Back Better bill, which was blocked by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who reportedly told colleagues he was concerned that families might use the payments to buy drugs.
Poverty Before COVID
Child poverty has fallen by 59% since 1993, when it sat at around 28%, according to another analysis published Sunday by The New York Times and the nonpartisan group Child Trends.
They found that the decline occurred across all 50 states and D.C., as well as in different levels of poverty.
It similarly affected nearly all subgroups of children, — white, Black, Asian and Hispanic, single-parent and two-parent, immigrant and non-immigrant.
The causes driving the pre-pandemic decline included general economic improvement — low unemployment, a higher labor force participation rate among single mothers, and growing state minimum wages — but the researchers pinned government welfare programs as the dominant factor.
They specifically mentioned the earned income tax credit, social security, unemployment insurance, and nutrition and housing assistance.
Despite the positive trend, more than eight million children still live below the poverty line, and that number excludes those who live just above it but still struggle to meet basic needs.
The current poverty line sits around $29,000 for a family of four in a location with typical living costs.
Moreover, disparities still persist, with Black and Latino children about three times as likely as their white peers to be poor.