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Target moves Pride displays after “violent” customer backlash

A man walks in front of Target store in Ontario Canada.
A Target store Photo: Shutterstock

Target has announced that it has moved its Pride displays to the back of some stores in the South and will remove certain items from its Pride collection following complaints and violent confrontations from some customers.

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

LGBTQ Nation contacted Target for a comment and will update this article when the company responds.

Since the retailer unveiled its collection in early May, anti-LGBTQ+ conservatives have begun recording their visits to the store, either to criticize certain items or to harass employees about the displays. Stores 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.

There’s nothing particularly scandalous about Target’s Pride items. The collection mostly features designs from LGBTQ+ creators with rainbows and cartoons on t-shirts, socks, and athletic items, as well as some household items with LGBTQ+-affirming sayings printed on them. Nonetheless, some people have accused Target of “grooming and indoctrinating children” by selling these items.

An unnamed Target employee told Fox News that the retailer conducted “emergency” calls last Friday after a 10-minute discussion with company leaders and Target’s Asset Protect & Corporate Security team on “how to deal with team member safety” over the Pride displays.

“This year, [customer outrage] is just exponentially more than any other year,” the Target employee said. “Some managers and district senior directors were told to tamp down the Pride sections immediately,” the aforementioned publication reported.

“We were given 36 hours, told to take all of our Pride stuff, the entire section, and move it into a section that’s a third the size,” the employee noted. “From the front of the store to the back of the store, you can’t have anything on mannequins and no large signage.”

Target has not revealed which items will be removed from its Pride collection, but in particular, conservatives have taken issue with a “tuck-friendly” adult women’s swimsuit that they have mistaken for children’s wear. They have also complained about an adult shirt featuring naked figures drawn without any revealing details and items designed by Abprallen, a London-based company that also sells occult- and Satanic-themed items (though those items aren’t part of Target’s Pride collection).

Several conservatives have said that they want to give Target “the Bud Light treatment.” The phrase refers to the right-wing backlash and boycott over the popular beer’s partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

Expressing disapproval for Target’s Pride collection, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) said she’ll boycott the store. Out anti-LGBTQ+ activist Jaimee Michell, who goes by “Gays Against Groomers” on social media, wrote via TikTok “We urge you to take your business elsewhere. They are indoctrinating and grooming them with LGBTQ ideology. It is highly inappropriate and disturbing.”

In a statement about its altered Pride displays and customer backlash, Target said, “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.”

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