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Target is removing some merchandise celebrating Pride Month from store shelves after facing backlash against the products, including threats against the safety of its employees.
The retail giant said in a statement posted on its website on Wednesday that it was committed to celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community, but was withdrawing some items because of threats that were “affecting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being” at work.
“Given these volatile conditions, we are making adjustments to our plans, including the removal of items that have been at the center of the most significant collision behavior,” the company said.
Pride Month takes place in June, although some items were already on sale.
Target did not answer a series of follow-up questions from NPR, such as which items were removed and whether it was increasing security at its stores.
Reuters reported That the company is removing from the store and its website products made by LGBTQ brand Abprallen, which offers some products in pastel colors featuring scary, gothic imagery, such as skulls and devils.
Conservative activists and the media have also criticized Target. in recent times to sell “tuck-friendly” women’s swimsuits that allow some trans women to hide their genitals, The Associated Press reported,
Target is selling tuck-friendly swimsuits made only for adults — and not, contrary to false online rumors, for kids or in kid sizes, the AP also found.
Those swimsuits are among a group of products that are being reviewed by Target but have not yet been removed, Reuters said.
In addition to public criticisms of the company, the video is also emerge on social media The number of people who threw the Pride display to the floor in a Target store.
“Extremist groups want to divide us and ultimately don’t want Rainbow Products to disappear, they want us to disappear,” said Kelly Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign. said in a tweet,
“The LGBTQ+ community has celebrated Pride with Target for the past decade. Target needs to stand with us and double down on their commitment to us,” she added.
Michael Addison Hayden, a senior investigative reporter and spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization that tracks hate crimes, told NPR that Target’s reversal would only serve to encourage more violent threats.
“If [Target is] going to move forward on this, and they’re going to offer support for the LGBTQ+ population, I think once they enter that fray they have a responsibility to stand by that community,” he said. “As soon as you back down that way, you send a message that bullying works, and it ends up being a lot scarier than if you never started.”
Target is the latest company to boycott criticism and threats over products aimed at supporting the LGBTQ+ community.
Bud Light faced a major social media backlash and saw sales decline after Anheuser-Busch ran an ad campaign featuring popular trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
Earlier this month, Target CEO Brian Cornell said in an interview with LuckLeadership Next Podcast that the company seeks to support “all families” and that “a focus on diversity and inclusion and equity has driven much of our growth over the past nine years.”