Recent reports have illuminated a trend among select Target stores: they’ve moved their LGBTQ Pride Month merchandise to less visible locations inside their stores. This change, attributed to a reaction to heightened customer dissatisfaction, emerged following emergency phone calls, urging managers to act swiftly to avoid a public relations debacle akin to the ongoing “Bud Light situation.”
Traditionally, Target has celebrated June as Pride Month with in-store displays. However, this year’s selection, featuring products from a trans-Satanist fashion company, Abprallen, stirred significant controversy among the store’s patrons. Customers were particularly bothered by female swimsuits with “tuck-friendly construction” intended for men who identify as women and merchandise with dark imagery.
No one is attacking the gay community Gavin.
They don’t want their children forcefully exposed to the radical side of pride with “tuck it” and “binding” children’s clothes and messaging while simply shopping at Target.
We don’t support your California child genital mutilation… https://t.co/irModjIF6b
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) May 24, 2023
In response to growing customer outrage, Target management decided to limit their Pride sections, particularly in Southern and rural areas. An anonymous Target insider, a long-standing employee, explained, “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. You can’t have anything on mannequins and no large signage.” This quick shift highlights the gravity of the situation.
Target’s decision, while primarily strategic, also encompasses safety concerns for team members who have been at the receiving end of customer complaints. The insider informed Fox News, “The call was super quick, it was 15 minutes. The first 10 minutes was about how to keep your team safe and not having to advocate for Target.”
Pride displays were replaced by bathing suits at the front of the store, a move under the guise of promoting swim sales, according to the insider. Rural Target stores in South Carolina, Arkansas, and Georgia confirmed the relocation of Pride sections.
Target literally collaborated with a satanic clothing brand to develop a Pride clothing line for children.
Let that sink in and then carefully decide if you will continue to shop at Target.
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) May 23, 2023
Target teamed up and hired a Satanist for their 2023 Pride collection.
Designer of the collection, Erik who is a trans in IG states: "Satan loves you and respects who you are… LGBTQIA+ people are so often referred to as being a product of Satan or going against God's will, so… pic.twitter.com/uw0qObjepN
— I Meme Therefore I Am 🇺🇸 (@ImMeme0) May 21, 2023
While these changes may have been disconcerting to some, many frontline employees expressed relief. However, as they face a volatile situation, keeping team members safe remains a priority for the corporation.
However, the move is a stark shift for a company known for its robust support of the LGBTQ+ community. Pride merchandise remains prominently displayed at other locations and on Target’s website, suggesting that the response may be localized rather than a company-wide change in stance.
The so-called “Bud Light situation” seems to have played a significant role in Target’s decision-making. Bud Light has recently faced plummeting sales following backlash for its partnership with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney, a concern Target likely aims to avoid.
Consumer response to the movement of the Pride displays has been varied. However, businesses must tread lightly when engaging in cultural conversation. The recent developments at Target underscore the need for a balanced approach in this age of rapidly evolving societal norms. Companies must strive to balance their brand ethos with the expectations and comfort of their broad consumer base.
The Target insider summarized the situation aptly: “I think given the current situation with Bud Light, the company is terrified of a Bud Light situation.” Corporations like Target must navigate the fine line between advocating for social progress and respecting the views of traditional customers.