Target is facing fresh backlash after deciding to pull some Pride month items from their stores, with advocates for the LGBTQ community claiming the move was “the worst thing” the retail giant could have done.
Civil rights groups bemoaned Target’s decision to remove some LGBTQ merchandise from its shelves, saying the retailer, which has celebrated Pride month for nearly a decade, was going back in the “proverbial closet” by “caving” to conservative demands, the Associated Press (AP) reported Thursday.
Target is removing some items and making other changes to its LGBTQ+ merchandise nationwide after intense backlash from some shoppers ahead of Pride month. https://t.co/D0JlS94xAK
— The Associated Press (@AP) May 25, 2023
“Target should put the products back on the shelves and ensure their Pride displays are visible on the floors, not pushed into the proverbial closet,” Human Rights Campaign president Kelley Robinson said in a statement, according to AP. “That’s what the bullies want.”
Jake Bjorseth, founder of trndsttrs — an agency that assists brands in understanding Gen Z customers — echoed Robinson’s sentiment. “Pulling back is the worst thing that they could have done,” Bjorseth said, according to the outlet. “Not to expect potential backlash is to not understand what (LGBTQ+) members go through on a daily basis.”
Target opted to remove some LGBTQ merchandise from its shelves after products such as “tuck-friendly” swimwear and baby onesies emblazoned with the colors of the transgender flag made their way onto social media. Given the recent backlash Bud Light has faced after it promoted a beer can featuring transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, OutKick CEO Clay Travis told Fox News the retailer should have seen the writing on the wall. (RELATED: ‘Deserves The Bud Light Treatment’: Target Offer ‘Tuck-Friendly’ Female Swimsuits)
“Most people go to Target because it’s convenient and without any political agenda whatsoever. But so many brands have gone left-wing and decided they have to wave their politics in front of everyone out there. … I would be nervous if I was Target’s CEO,” Travis said.
“No company ever had to react to losing as Bud Light is. … 28% of its overall sales volume as a result of going too far left-wing, too far woke. And it’s not just Target. There are marketing companies all over the world that are having meetings with big brands and saying, let’s avoid being Bud Light,” he continued.
Target shares have slipped 9% in May, with 6% of the decline coming from the fourth week of the month alone, equalling a total market value loss of approximately $4.2 billion, Fox Business reported.
Travis attributed the loss to mothers and women who have responded to Target’s trans-friendly merchandise in the same way men responded to Bud Light, according to Fox.