Target is removing Pride merch from stores, reports the Associated Press, in the hopes that this will end the threats it and its staff are receiving from conservatives angry at what they sell and what customers wear.
"Since introducing this year's collection, we've experienced threats impacting our team members' sense of safety and well-being while at work," Target said in a statement Tuesday. "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."
Target declined to say which items it was removing but among the ones that garnered the most attention were "tuck friendly" women's swimsuits that allow trans women who have not had gender-affirming operations to conceal their private parts. Designs by Abprallen, a London-based company that designs and sells occult- and satanic-themed LGBTQ+ clothing and accessories, have also created backlash.
The Pride merchandise has been on sale since early May. Pride month is held in June.
Target confirmed that it has moved its Pride merchandise from the front of the stores to the back in some Southern stores after confrontations and backlash from shoppers in those areas.
Target's Pride month collection has also been the subject of several misleading videos in recent weeks, with social media users falsely claiming the retailer is selling "tuck-friendly" bathing suits designed for kids or in kids' sizes.
It seems little thought is given to how this will encourage the attackers–as if the influencers and presenters ranting about this stuff will have nothing else to lie about.
Following the Bud Light imbroglio, it looks like corporate interest in marketing to LGBTQ+ people is on the wane. "Corporate wokeness"–what used to be called pinkwashing before the right co-opted the genre–is always a fragile thing, never to be trusted. But Target is at least being clear that they are removing the Pride stuff to avoid physical, public, in-store confrontations with violent attackers. Media and political indifferent to right-wing violence is at the heart of this.
On the other hand, if a concrete redball is so much as scuffed by a queer person in any ensuing backlash, we'll all have to hear about crime and left-wing violence being out of control. QED!