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Lil Nas X mocks rightwing outrage over Target’s Pride collection

Lil Nas X
Lil Nas X Photo: Shutterstock

Lil Nas X mocked rightwing backlash over Target’s 2023 Pride collection this week, posting a tongue-in-cheek tweet highlighting the stupidity of anti-LGBTQ+ trolls calling for a boycott of the retailer.

“Can’t believe target is supporting this nonsense,” the out rapper wrote. “Im never shopping there again, my son is not ‘too cool for school’ these shirts are ridiculous. he is going to school and he WILL learn.”

Of course, it’s hard to imagine that the artist, who attended this year’s Met Gala in a thong and head-to-toe silver body paint, buys many of his clothes at Target. But you never know—as certain tabloids are so fond of telling us: Stars, they’re just like us!

As Lil Nas X’s tweet implies, if the recent anti-LGBTQ+ backlash against Target’s Pride collection wasn’t so disturbing and depressing, it would almost be funny. The retailer has rolled out its annual assortment of products celebrating Pride Month for more than a decade, according to a spokesperson for the company. The 2023 offerings include items like a pink fanny pack with “We Belong Everywhere” written on it, rainbow platform sandals, and t-shirts bearing images of RuPaul’s Drag Race alums like Katya and Jinkx Monsoon, among other clothing and accessories.

It’s tempting to laugh at the disproportionate outrage over such innocuous products. But anti-LGBTQ+ conservatives have gone completely berserk over the collection, reportedly leading to some truly scary moments.

Amid a wave of anti-LGBTQ+ laws being passed in states across the country and virulent anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment proliferating online, rightwingers have taken their unhinged ire to Target stores, harassing employees and fellow shoppers. Some have recorded their protests in stores, posting them online and calling for a boycott of the chain. One designer who collaborated with the retailer on several of the products in this year’s collection has even reportedly been inundated with hateful messages on social media, including death threats.

“This year, [customer outrage] is just exponentially more than any other year,” a Target employee told Fox News earlier this week.

“Since introducing this year’s collection, we’ve experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being while at work,” the company said in a statement released on Wednesday. “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.”

Target locations in South Carolina, Arkansas, and Georgia have reportedly relocated their Pride displays to the back of the stores and removed Pride apparel from mannequins to reduce their visibility. The move drew criticism from members of the LGBTQ+ community, who accuse the company of caving to far-right extremists.

On Wednesday, Target CEO Brian Cornell reportedly sent an email to staff addressing the controversy and the company’s plans for this year’s Pride collection moving forward. Addressing the LGBTQIA+ community, Cornell wrote that “one of the hardest parts in all of this was trying to contemplate how the adjustments we’re making to alleviate these threats to our team’s physical and psychological safety would impact you and your wellbeing and psychological safety. We stand with you now and will continue to do so – not just during Pride Month, but each and every day.”

“From a host of difficult alternatives, we have sincerely sought the best path forward, finding ways to recognize Pride Month, while making adjustments to prioritize safety,” Cornell continued. “As always, we’re stronger together, and I want you to know that I’m committed to doing all I can, and all we can as a company, to support a culture across the country of care, empathy, equity and simple civility, in hopes that we’ll not have to face these kinds of agonizing decisions in the future.”

The CEO also thanked store employees for “steadfastly representing our values,” in the face of in-store harassment.

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