Target has taken Pride merchandise off its shelves due to anti-LGBTQ+ threats from extremists, and in turn faces backlash from customers nationwide.
As Pride month in the U.S. nears, corporations have been stocking Pride-themed products in rainbow colors. In recent years, it has become customary for stores to sell Pride-themed merchandise, though it has seen skepticism from the LGBTQ+ community who have pointed out that stores like Target and Walmart use performative activism during Pride month, but rarely support the queer community otherwise.
Now, Target is only worsening these claims with the decision to remove Pride products from shelves in response to increasingly violent threats toward the trans and queer community.
According to MediaPost, Target released a statement saying: “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.”
MediaPost dubs Target “fair-weather allies,” as the company has decidedly turned its back on its LGBTQ+ employees and customers only to appease its conservative anti-LGBTQ+ audience.
This year, many brands who have allied themselves with the LGBTQ+ community have seen immense backlash from conservatives, including Bud Light and Starbucks.
David J. Johns, executive director the National Black Justice Coalition, released a statement pointing out Target’s hypocrisy for wanting both to sell pride merchandise and support the LGBTQ+ community, while also appealing to its conservative demographic. “You can’t have it both ways,” said Johns. “You can’t only support human rights where you are “safe” from confrontation. Shame on Target.”
Other statements were made by California governor Gavin Newsom and president and CEO of GLAAD, Sarah Kate Ellis. “Anti-LGBTQ violence and hate should not be winning in America, but it will continue to until corporate leaders step up as heroes for their LGBTQ employees and consumers and do not cave to fringe activists calling for censorship,” said Ellis.