Target market cap down over $13 billion amid Pride backlash
Over 200 LGBTQ groups angered by Target’s decision to pull Pride merchandise from shelves are demanding the company “denounce extremists” and restock all the Pride merchandise in stores and online.
The Human Rights Campaign, along with GLAAD, GLSEN and other groups released a statement asking Target and other businesses like Anheuser-Busch to “reject and speak out against anti-LGBTQ+ extremism going into Pride Month.” Over 200 other progressive and LGBTQ organizations signed on to the statement, which argued showing support for their community was good for business.
The organizations laid out a three-part demand calling on Target to restock all the Pride merchandise both in stores and online; ensure the safety of Target employees; and release a statement “reaffirming their commitment to the LGBTQ+ community” within 24 hours.
“When it comes to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion, there is no such thing as neutrality,” the LGTBQ coalition said.
The coalition suggested they would continue to support Target and other businesses who rejected criticism from consumers.
“Target, and all businesses, can leverage the support of LGBTQ+ organizations to navigate this hate, so that together, we can let extremists know unequivocally that, just as with every other failed anti-LGBTQ+ campaign of the past, fear will not win,” the statement concluded.
Target displays LGBTQ-themed apparel annually leading into the month of June. However, the retail giant came under increased scrutiny after consumers noticed stores selling “tuck-friendly” women’s bathing suits for transgender people and pride apparel for children and infants.
The company responded to widespread backlash over the Pride merchandise by moving some Pride products to less prominent sections of the store, and removing other merchandise altogether. Target said it moved the products to ensure employee’s safety.
The move angered progressives and LGBTQ groups who said Target had “caved to violent political extremists” and “betrayed” LGTBQ customers.
Several of the designers who partnered with the company spoke to the media about their disappointment in the company not standing by their products when faced with backlash.
“It’s a very dangerous precedent to set, that 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,” Abprallen designer Erik Carnell told Reuters.
Another designer for the Pride collection claimed Target had removed most of their collection from stores “due to threats from domestic terrorists.”
Target has only released one public statement on the controversy so far.
“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,” the company said in a release May 24.
That same day Target CEO Brian Cornell defended the company’s decision in a letter to employees while expressing support for the LGBTQ community.
Target did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
Fox News’ Brian Flood contributed to this report.