Several DFL politicians in Minnesota criticized Target for “giving in” to an “anti-LGBTQ hate movement” after the retail giant removed some Pride items from its stores.
“I’m pissed they removed some of their Pride merch,” said Sen. Erin Maye Quade, DFL-Apple Valley, calling the development “a reflection of how damn dangerous these white Christian nationalists and far-right groups have gotten.”
As a queer person in MN (where @Target is HQ’d), I’m pissed they removed of some of their #Pride merch. As a former in-store team member, I understand doing so for the safety of staff. The problem isn’t Target, it’s the dangerous, intensifying anti-LGBTQ hate movement.
— Erin Maye Quade (@ErinMayeQuade) May 25, 2023
Target has faced backlash after its latest Pride line was released in stores, featuring items geared towards babies and children. Many conservative commentators called for a boycott of Target, similar to the boycott of Anheuser-Busch products following the company’s partnership with a transgender influencer.
The company held an emergency meeting last week to “avoid a Bud Light situation,” but it appears that meeting was ineffective. Target has lost more than $10 billion in market valuation after its share prices dropped to $133.80 Tuesday, down from $160.96 earlier this month.
The company broke ties with a Satanist designer and also moved Pride displays to the back of the store in some states.
“Since introducing this year’s collection, we’ve experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and wellbeing while at work,” the company said in a statement, saying it was removing items that were causing “the most significant confrontational behavior.” The company did not explain what the alleged confrontational behavior was or elaborate on what items were being removed.
Other DFL politicians also voiced their concern with Target’s decision to remove some merchandise.
“I want to say that I’m disappointed & disgusted with Target’s decision to remove Pride Merchandise,” said Jason Chavez, a member of the Minneapolis City Council. “You can’t use our community to make profits and then dump us when you think we are a burden to your profits.”
Transgender Rep. Leigh Finke, DFL-St. Paul, also decried Target’s decision, saying that “hatred has consequences beyond the control of those who started the fire.”
There is a lot happening in the Target pride merch story, but the core element is the same as the Bud Light nightmare, and so many others that queer people face: fanning the flames of anti-LGBTQ2S+ hatred has consequences beyond the control of those who started the fire. https://t.co/sCcSMkgTUt
— Leigh Finke (@leighfinke) May 24, 2023
Rep. Angie Craig released an official statement about the controversy, calling Target’s decision “disappointing.”
“It is disappointing to see Target give in to threats and harassment from those who do not want to see Pride celebrated in their community,” Craig said. “This is not a time in American history where workplaces or people who claim to value diversity, equity and inclusion can walk away from the LGBTQ+ community.”
She called on the company to reconsider its decision, though Target CEO Brian Cornell defended the move in an internal memo.
“From a host of difficult alternatives, we have sincerely sought the best path forward, finding ways to recognize Pride Month, while making adjustments to prioritize safety,” he wrote. “As always, we’re stronger together, and I want you to know that I’m committed to doing all I can, and all we can as a company, to support a culture across the country of care, empathy, equity and simple civility, in hopes that we’ll not have to face these kinds of agonizing decisions in the future.”