By Stan Alcorn
The makers of an also controversial Obama-esque target found themselves the subject of serious outrage again when they started excitedly selling the idea of blowing away your (undead) ex-girlfriend.
A company that makes zombie-themed shooting targets found themselves in a real-world controversy this week, for selling a bleeding zombie mannequin that looked like Barack Obama and another bleeding zombie mannequin that looks like scantily clad woman, and was called "The Ex."
The reaction to Zombie Industries' Obama-lookalike was more immediate (like being pulled from the NRA convention floor), but the reaction to "The Ex" has been more sustained. For a taste of what makes "The Ex" unsettling, look no further than Zombie Industries' official YouTube video: "Killing some `Ex Girlfriend' Zombies."
The video description talks about the ammo with which "we killed this bitch" and admits: "It's not our best video, but it's still funny!"
Those who find the "joke" unfunny point out that one out of every three women who is murdered is killed by an intimate partner, a ratio that rises when you look only at gun homicides.
Women's rights group UltraViolet put forward a petition, calling on Amazon to stop selling "The Ex":
Gun violence against women is a serious problem. But "The Ex" shooting target turns violence against women into a joke and promotes the idea that men should want to kill their ex-wives or ex-girlfriends.
It rapidly acquired more than 50,000 signatures, and "The Ex" disappeared from Amazon.com. A message sent by Amazon customer service said "our site has banned this product now."
Zombie Industries was faced with a quandary: apologize and recall "The Ex" or double down and reap the benefits of negative attention. So far, they have chosen a mix of neither and both.
On the one hand, they issued a jokey non-apology apology: "Zombie Industries is sorry if anyone takes offense to any of our products, but we also have a responsibility to our customers to provide the best possible products to help them prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse."
On the other hand, while they continue sell the doll itself, they changed its name from "The Ex" to "Alexa" and gave it a new storyline. No longer is she an embittered ex-girlfriend. Now she is a home-wrecker.
She had a wicked mean streak in her and was known for her nasty disposition, especially if she had been drinking. She also happened to be in love with a young man, but there was a slight problem.. he was married to another women. When he told her that he loved his wife and could never be unfaithful to her, Alexa became enraged. She decided to seek the help of a local tarot card & palm reader who also dabbled in Voodoo.
Like zombies themselves, the female-stereotype-as-shooting-target cannot be killed so easily.
Copyright 2013 by Fast Company. Reprinted with permission.