Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom called Target’s recent decision to remove items from their “Pride” collection a “systematic attack on the gay community.”
In response to public backlash over the promotion of a “Pride” collection featuring a “tuck-friendly” swimsuit to obscure male genitalia and swimwear that “binds” female breasts, Target decided to backtrack on their transgender marketing plans.
In a corporate statement released on May 24, Target announced that they are removing some of the controversial items from their stores.
“For more than a decade, Target has offered an assortment of products aimed at celebrating Pride Month,” the statement said. “Since introducing this year’s collection, we’ve experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being while 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 behavior.”
According to Reuters, screenshots and posts on social media revealed that Target previously sold a sweater with the words “cure transphobia not trans people” and a “too queer for here” tote bag.
Further controversy centered around Abprallen, the U.K.-based fashion company Target partnered with to sell pro-LGBTQ merchandise.
According to Fox News, Abprallen sells merchandise with aggressive messaging, including pins with the phrases “heteronormativity is a plague” and “burn down the cis-tem.” Another pin shows an image of a guillotine and says “homophobe headrest.”
Eric Carnell, designer for Abprallen, is an outspoken Satanist who has featured messages like “Satan respects pronouns” on products.
As of May 26, Abprallen’s website was listed as “temporarily closed.”
“Thank you all for your unrelenting support and love,” a message on the site says. “The positivity and beautiful vibes you’ve sent my way this past week has been overwhelming and I can’t thank you enough! I am putting the shop on a short bread while I catch up on all of your orders! See you soon All of my love, Erik.”
In a May 24 tweet Newsom said Target’s CEO is “selling out the LGBTQ+ community.”
“This isn’t just a couple stores in the South,” Newsom said in the tweet. “There is a systematic attack on the gay community happening across the country. Wake up America. This doesn’t stop here. You’re black? You’re Asian? You’re Jewish? You’re a woman? You’re next.”
Since the controversy erupted last week, Target shares have dropped nearly 13%.