“Since introducing this year’s collection, we’ve experienced threats impacting our team embers’ sense of safety and well-being while at work,” Target said in a statement.
This included a “tuck-friendly” bathing suit option and greeting cards that used inclusive language.
A Target spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal that several angry customers made “threatening posts on social media with video from inside stores” in addition to confronting workers.
“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,” Target said in their statement.
The Independent has reached out to Target for comment.
Target customers have begun to tear down pride propaganda to protect their children 🎯 pic.twitter.com/b8XDqX4ZFR
— Kyle - Undercover (@kyleisbased) May 24, 2023
For years, Target has been considered a leader in providing inclusive clothing during Pride Month. The retail company often begins displaying products in May in preparation for Pride in June.
However, the decision to pull merchandise due to critics has left many people disappointed in the company
A Twitter user named Sean Collins wrote, “Just got off the phone with Target (1-800-440-0680). Calmly explained that as the parent of a queer kid to whom their pride merch has meant a lot I can’t shop at a place willing to sacrifice such kids to placate hate groups. The customer service rep started to cry, and so did I.”
[brand strategy expert voice] we should side with whoever acts the most psychotic https://t.co/EbXAPGMncq
— Law Boy (@The_Law_Boy) May 24, 2023
Jon Cooper tweeted, “It’s terribly disappointing that Target is caving in to threats of violence from anti-LGBTQ bigots by removing Pride Month displays. If these extremists decide to attack displays celebrating Black History Month next, will Target remove those as well?”
Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson issued a statement calling on Target to “stand firm in support for LGBTQ+ Community”.
“Target should not be responding so easily to criticism and threats from the likes of the Proud Boys,” Ms Robinsaid said.
“Extremist groups and individuals work to divide us and ultimately don’t just want rainbow products to disappear, they want us to disappear. For the past decade, the LGBTQ+ community has celebrated Pride with Target- it’s time that Target stands with us and double-down on their commitment to us.”
Several Democrat politicians also criticised Target’s decision
“CEO of Target Brian Cornell selling out the LGBTQ+ community to extremists is a real profile in courage. This isn’t just a couple stores in the South. There is a systematic attack on the gay community happening across the country,” California Governor Gavin Newsom tweeted.