Photos of Satan-themed Target children's clothing are AI-generated

  • This article is more than one year old.
  • Published on June 5, 2023 at 19:57
  • Updated on April 29, 2024 at 17:17
  • 2 min read
  • By AFP USA
Social media posts claim to show Target's new "Satanic" clothing line for children. This is false; the photos were fabricated using artificial intelligence (AI), and the US retailer told AFP it never sold such products.

"Target Displays Satan For Kids," says text over a TikTok post published May 31, 2023.

The video includes photos of supposed Target children's apparel with Satan-themed imagery. The same pictures also circulated on Facebook.

Screenshot of a TikTok video taken June 2, 2023

Other posts include more images, which appear to have originated in a May 27 TikTok video.

"Target branding responds to a growing demand of new luxurious and chic styles of the Goth Lifestyle with the introduction of the new Baphomet line of toddler and children's apparel," said the caption of the clip, which has since been removed.

The posts come after conservative backlash to Target's LGBTQ pride collection, which triggered multiple false and misleading claims online. The company removed some apparel and reorganized store sections after receiving threats, according to a statement released May 24 (archived here).

The photos shared online are not real -- they were fabricated using AI.

Many of the images first appeared in Facebook posts that user Dan Reese published in a group dedicated to AI-generated art. Reese told AFP on June 1 that he used the tool Midjourney to fabricate 16 of the pictures.

"I heard false rumors that Target started to sell Satanic-themed kids clothes designed by a Satanist. I was disappointed to find out that it wasn't actually true," said Reese, who shared screenshots of his original creations. "I thought it would be fun to use AI to explore what a Satanic kid's fashion line might actually look like."

AFP could not independently verify the creator of the other four images shared online.

A Target spokesperson said June 2 that the retailer "has never sold" the items shown in the videos.

AFP has fact-checked other claims about Satanic Target merchandise here.

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