Target Corp. is feeling the heat from some customers angry over the retailer’s collection of LGBTQ+ merchandise.
The backlash comes ahead of Pride Month (June), which Target noted it has celebrated for more than a decade by offering an assortment of related merchandise, ranging from T-shirts and other clothing to coffee mugs, books and more.
In response to what it called “volatile circumstances,” including threats to its employees’ safety, Target said it is adjusting its plans, including removing items that have been “”at the center of the most significant confrontational behavior.” (See Target’s full statement at end of article.)
Customers have knocked down Pride displays at some Target locations, angrily approached store employees and posted threatening videos on social media from inside the stores, reported the AP. The retailer moved its Pride merchandise from the front of the stores to the back in some Southern locations after confrontations and backlash from shoppers in those areas, the report said.
Target did not specify which items were being removed. The company has been the subject of misinformation by prominent conservative groups and media outlets that have falsely accused the retailer of selling “tuck-friendly” bathing suits designed for kids or in kids sizes. The “tuck-friendly” swimsuits are only offered in adult sizes, a spokesperson for Target, told the AP.
Target is experiencing backlash to its Pride collection by some customers as transgender issues have become one of the country’s most divisive issues in the ongoing culture wars and state legislatures have introduced a record number of bills targeting LGBTQ+ individuals.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) weighed in on Target’s decision in a posting on Twitter.
“This isn’t just a couple stores in the South,” Newsom tweeted. “There is a systematic attack on the gay community happening across the country. Wake up America. This doesn’t stop here. You’re black? You’re Asian? You’re Jewish? You’re a woman? You’re next.”
Target’s full statement is below.
“For more than a decade, Target has offered an assortment of products aimed at celebrating Pride Month. Since introducing this year's collection, we've experienced threats impacting our team members' sense of safety and well-being while at work. Given these volatile circumstances, we are making adjustments to our plans, including removing items that have been at the center of the most significant confrontational behavior. Our focus now is on moving forward with our continuing commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community and standing with them as we celebrate Pride Month and throughout the year.”