Target’s decision to remove Pride merchandise from its shelves has sparked outrage among more than 200 LGBTQ groups, who now demand that the company denounce ‘extremists’ and restock all the Pride products.
The Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, GLSEN, and numerous other organizations, have released a statement urging Target and other businesses to reject and speak out against what they term ‘anti-LGBTQ+ extremism.’
They argue that supporting the LGBTQ+ community is morally right and beneficial for business.
Coalition issues demand to Target for LGBTQ+ support, safety
The coalition of organizations has put forth a three-part demand to Target.
First, they want the company to restock all Pride merchandise in stores and online.
Second, they insist on ensuring the safety of Target employees amidst the controversy.
Finally, they require Target to release a statement within 24 hours reaffirming their commitment to the LGBTQ+ community.
According to the coalition, neutrality is not an option when advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Coalition pledges support for Target, other businesses
The coalition has indicated that they will continue to support Target and other businesses that reject consumer criticism.
They believe that Target and other companies can rely on supporting LGBTQ+ organizations to combat hate and make it clear to extremists that fear will not prevail, just as it hasn’t in previous failed anti-LGBTQ+ campaigns.
Target faces backlash, adjusts display of LGBTQ+ merchandise
Target has traditionally displayed LGBTQ-themed apparel in the lead-up to June, Pride Month.
However, the retail giant faced increased scrutiny after customers noticed the sale of “tuck-friendly” women’s bathing suits for transgender individuals and Pride merchandise for children and infants.
In response to the backlash, Target moved some Pride products to less prominent sections of the store and removed others entirely, citing the safety of its employees as the reason for the move.
Progressives, LGBTQ+ groups accuse Target of betrayal
This decision has angered progressives and LGBTQ+ groups who accuse Target of caving to violent political extremists and betraying its LGBTQ+ customers.
Designers who collaborated with the company expressed disappointment in Target’s failure to stand by their products when faced with backlash.
Erik Carnell, a designer for the Pride collection, called it a dangerous precedent, stating, “If people just get riled up enough about the products that you’re selling, you can completely distance yourself from the LGBT community when and if it’s convenient.”
‘Domestic Terrorists’ Threaten Target Employee’s Well-being
Another designer involved in the Pride collection revealed that Target had removed most of its supply from stores due to threats from domestic terrorists.
Target has made only one public statement regarding the controversy.
The company acknowledged the threats impacting its team members’ safety and well-being.
Cornell defends company’s decision, expresses support for LGBTQ+ community
It explained that adjustments were being made to their plans, including removing items that had caused significant confrontational behavior.
While focusing on moving forward with their commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community, Target’s CEO, Brian Cornell, defended the decision in a letter to employees and expressed support for the LGBTQ+ community.
‘Denounce extremists’: LGBTQ+ groups order Target
Target’s decision to remove Pride merchandise from its shelves has ignited a backlash from LGBTQ+ groups demanding a denouncement of extremists and restocking the merchandise.
The company’s response to the controversy has divided public opinion, with some criticizing it for caving to pressure while others emphasize the importance of employee safety.
Target’s next steps will be crucial in determining its stance on LGBTQ+ inclusion and its relationship with the community going forward.