Target, one of America’s largest general merchandise retailers that operates more than 1,900 stores nationwide, said it has offered products celebrating Pride Month, usually in June, for more than a decade. . But this year’s collection has led to threats that put the safety of its staff at risk, company spokeswoman Kayla Castañeda said in a statement.
“Given these volatile circumstances, we are making adjustments to our plans, including removing elements that have been at the center of the most significant confrontational behaviors,” she said.
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The company did not specify which items were removed, but misinformation in recent days has centered on its children’s swimsuits which have been falsely labeled as “user-friendly” by prominent conservative and media groups. Swimsuits suitable for tucks were for adults only, the Associated Press reported. Tuck-friendly swimsuits provide extra coverage to allow trans women without gender-affirming surgeries to conceal their genitalia.
Some conservatives have also called for a boycott of Target over its partnership with British brand Abprallen, which they say features Satanist designs. Some of the Abprallen pieces that Target was selling include a sweatshirt with the image of a snake with the line “Cure transphobia, not trans people”, as well as a messenger bag that says “We belong everywhere”.
An earlier Instagram post by the designer, flagged by conservative media groups, reads: “Satan respects pronouns.” The legend explains that Satanists do not believe in Satan but invoke Satan as a symbol of passion and pride.
The challenged products will be removed from all Target US stores and from its website, Reuters reported, adding that while other items were under review, only Abprallen merchandise had been removed.
“Being true to yourself and your community is something to celebrate, all year long,” reads the Pride section of the company’s website, inviting customers to post their Target finds with the hashtag # Take Pride.
On Twitter, California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) accused Target CEO Brian Cornell of “selling the LGBTQ+ community to extremists”. The target’s decision Newsom added“is a systematic attack on the gay community taking place across the country,” which he warned does not stop at Pride merchandise.
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In April, Bud Light beer faced a similar backlash and slump in sales following Republican boycott calls over its partnership with transgender actress and comedian Dylan Mulvaney, forcing the company’s CEO to issue a memo .
“We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people. Our job is to bring people together over a beer,” Brendan Whitworth wrote at the time in a open letter on the company’s Twitter account.
As trans issues have taken center stage in the culture wars rocking American politics, conservatives have also targeted corporations on other burning issues, including abortion and gun control.
When Walgreens announced plans to distribute abortion drugs in its retail stores this year, Republican attorneys general banded together to threaten legal action, prompting the company to reverse its move in red states.
In March, Visa and Mastercard suspended decisions to categorize purchases from gun stores after a similar move by Republican-controlled states.