Images of Target satanic kids clothing, displays created with AI

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Amid calls to boycott Target, the person who created the AI images of satanic-themed apparel admits, “I didn’t expect so many people would believe they were real.”

People online have been calling for a boycott of Target stores in recent months after a collage of images that appear to show children’s clothing adorned with satanic imagery went viral. 

One image on the collage shows a store display with a goat-headed mannequin inside of a red circle that looks similar to Target’s logo. Another image shows children wearing red outfits with goat head symbols, with eyes that resemble Target’s bullseye logo. The third image shows a young girl with tattoos wearing a black dress with a symbol inside a shape reminiscent of a pentagram.

An X post with more than 880,000 views includes the collage of images with the caption, “I never shop Targets again, I’m done.”

“DO NOT SHOP AT TARGET!!!” one Facebook post with the collage says. A link to that Facebook post was texted to us by a reader who asked, “Is Target really selling this mess?”

THE QUESTION

Is Target selling the satanic children’s apparel seen in these viral images?

THE SOURCES

  • A Target spokesperson
  • A search of Target’s website
  • Dan Reese, the original creator of the AI images

THE ANSWER

This is false.

No, Target isn’t selling the satanic children’s apparel seen in these viral images. The images were generated by artificial intelligence. 

WHAT WE FOUND

“Target has never sold these items,” a company spokesperson told VERIFY in an email. 

VERIFY also searched Target’s website and found no clothing items for sale that resemble the clothing seen in the collage of images that went viral.

These images have been online for more than a year and can be traced back to a person named Dan Reese, who posted the images to various Facebook groups dedicated to sharing images created with generative artificial intelligence.

“They’re Targeting Our Children,” Reese wrote on a post shared in a Facebook group called “Cursed AI” on May 26, 2023. According to the Facebook group’s description, users in the group share AI-generated art that’s meant to “haunt your dreams and unravel your sanity.” Reese also used the hashtag #mjv5, which means the images were created using Midjourney Version 5, a generative artificial intelligence software

In messages to VERIFY, Reese confirmed he made the images that have gone viral. Reese said he used Midjourney, along with other editing softwares and AI editing software, to create the images. 

“Prior to my images being made, there were false reports being circulated that Target was selling satanic children’s clothes. I found that pretty humorous and thought it would be fun to use AI to explore what a retail satanic clothing line for kids might look like,” Reese told VERIFY. 

Reese added, “I just made the pictures because I thought they would be funny and cool. I didn’t expect so many people would believe they were real. I never passed them off as real and only posted them in AI art groups.”

Reese told VERIFY the fact these images are being shared as real “goes to show how bad people are at discerning what is real.” 

The Associated Press, USA TODAY and Reuters have also fact-checked these AI images.

The VERIFY team works to separate fact from fiction so that you can understand what is true and false. Please consider subscribing to our daily newsletter, text alerts and our YouTube channel. You can also follow us on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. Learn More »

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Images of Target satanic kids clothing, displays created with AI

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