Target Pride Collection Controversy occurred in the lead-up to Pride Month in 2023 after it released its Pride Month merchandise, sparking attacks and threats from conservative anti-LGBTQ groups. The commercial brand concluded to withdraw several pieces of merchandise from stores in southern states and their website, to avoid a Bud Light situation. Following the response, Target Pride Collection faced harsh criticism from GLAAD and many other LGBTQ+ advocacy groups.
Target Pride Collection is removing some merchandise celebrating Pride Month from store shelves after facing controversy for a boycott and threats against the safety of its workers over its support for the LGBTQ+ community. This has made fans serious as to know the real reason behind the Target Pride Collection controversy. Well, we are here to help.
Everything You Need to Know About the Target Pride Collection Controversy!
Target Pride Collection controversy occurred in the lead-up to Pride Month in 2023 after it released its Pride Month merchandise, sparking attacks and threats from conservative anti-LGBTQ groups. In May 2023, Target Pride Collection received threats against team members in response to the stores' Pride Month merchandise. Many people took to social media and claimed that tuck-friendly products were being sold to children and this claim was found to be false by the Associated Press.
The Target Pride Collection Controversy started after they sold merchandise sparking attacks and threats.
Image Source: NBC News
As a result of the outrage among anti-LGBTQ groups, Target Pride concluded to withdraw several pieces of merchandise from stores in southern states and their website, to avoid a Bud Light situation. Moreover, the company decided to move its Pride Displays in some stores from the entrance areas to the back. It also released a statement on May 24, in which it cited concern for the safety of its employees as justification for these changes.
Following the response, Target Pride Collection faced harsh criticism from GLAAD and many other LGBTQ+ advocacy groups. These groups requested the company to return all merchandise removed from its stores and website and to release a statement to reaffirm its commitment to the LGBTQ+ community. Furthermore, several politicians, including Gavin Newsom, California governor spoke out in support and accused Brian Cornell, the CEO of Target of selling out the LGBTQ+ community to extremists.
In addition, the President of the Human Rights Campaign, Kelley Robinson, stated that the LGBTQ+ community has celebrated Pride with Target for the past decade. Target Pride Collection needs to stand with them and double down on their commitment to us. Similarly, a spokesperson for the Southern Poverty Law Center, claimed that Target's reversal would only serve to encourage more violent threats.
However, the company did not release any further statements or support for the LGBTQ+ community following the controversy. On the other hand, the stock price of the Target Pride Collection dropped by 15% within the week following the controversy. In response to the Target controversy, other retailers, including Walmart, issued statements stating that they would not change their Pride Month offerings.
Eric Bloem, the senior director of programs and corporate advocacy of the Human Rights Campaign called out that they saw a very coordinated planned attack on the LGBTQ+ community and that attacks against the LGBTQ+ community and companies that are supporting it are boosted by continued false claims. He also added that hosts and guests have continued to spread misinformation about the Pride merchandise at Target Pride Collection in the week following the incident.
In late May, many Target stores across the country were vandalized by far-right activists. On June 1o, several hoax bomb threats seemed to have been made against Target Pride Collection in multiple states, causing several evacuations. However, police did not find any suspicious or harmful items, but are working with the FBI to try to identify the senders.
A lot of Target stores were vandalized in late May.
Image Source: Bloomberg
Target Is Not the Only Company to Face Controversy With the LGBTQ+ Community!!
Target Pride Collection has not been the only company to face controversy for its work with the LGBTQ+ company. Bud Light and its parent company, Anheuser-Busch, have suffered massive financial losses as a result of a national boycott campaign that began in April after the beer brand partnered with transgender influencer and activist Dylan Mulvaney.
Similarly, other companies to come under fire for their work with LGBTQ+ people have included Hershey's Chocolate, Discover+, and even conservative news network Fox News for its acknowledgment of Pride Month. The controversy came as the Hyman Rights Campaign called for a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people due to the worst year on record in state legislatures.
More than 525 bills focusing on the LGBTQ+ community were introduced in different states. 220 of the proposed laws specifically target transgender people, including their access to gender-affirming health care, particularly for minors. Out of 525 bills, 76 had been signed into law so far, which is more than any year on record.