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Target removes Pride Month products after backlash over LGBTQ support: NPR

A customer walks into a Target store on February 28 in San Rafael, California.

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Target removes Pride Month products after backlash over LGBTQ support: NPR

A customer walks into a Target store on February 28 in San Rafael, California.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Target is removing some merchandise celebrating Pride Month from store shelves after facing a backlash against the products, including threats to the safety of its workers.

The retail giant said in a statement on its website on Wednesday that it was committed to celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community, but was removing some items due to threats that “affect the sense of safety and well-being of our team members” at work.

“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 behaviors,” the company said.

Pride month takes place in June, although some items were already on sale.

Target did not respond to 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 was removing products from stores and its website created by LGBTQ brand Abprallen, which features products featuring creepy and gothic imagery, such as skulls and Satan, in pastel colors.

Conservative activists and the media also criticized Target in recent days for selling “tuck-friendly” women’s swimsuits that allow some trans women to hide their genitals, the Associated Press reported.

Target only sells tuck-friendly swimwear designed for adults — and not, contrary to false online rumors, for children or in child sizes, the AP also found.

These swimsuits are part of a group of products being reviewed by Target but not yet removed, Reuters said.

In addition to public criticism of the company, the video also appeared on social media of people throwing Pride displays on the ground in a Target store.

“Extremist groups want to divide us and ultimately don’t just want rainbow products to disappear, they want us to disappear,” said Kelley 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 redouble our efforts toward us,” she added.

Michael Edison Hayden, a senior investigative reporter and spokesperson 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.

“Whether [Target is] are going to wade through this, and they’re going to provide support for the LGBTQ+ population, I think once they get into that fray, they have a responsibility to stand with that community,” he said. he stated, “As soon as you back off like that, you’re sending a message that bullying works, and that makes it a whole lot scarier than if you had never started.”

Target is the latest company to face criticism and boycott threats over products intended to support the LGBTQ+ community.

Bud Light faced a major backlash on social media and saw sales plummet after Anheuser-Busch launched an ad campaign featuring popular trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

Earlier this month, Target CEO Brian Cornell said in an interview with Fortune‘s Leadership Next podcast that the company wants to support “all families” and that its “focus on diversity, inclusion and equity has fueled much of our growth over the past nine years.”

NPR News

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