MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Fearing backlash and a potential “Bud Light-style boycott” over merchandise in their Pride collection – which includes “tuck friendly” and “extra crotch coverage” women’s swimsuits – national retail giant Target reportedly made “emergency” calls to store managers last week after some customers expressed outrage.
The calls in question directed certain Target locations to move their Pride collection merchandise to less- prominent areas of their stores, according to an insider who spoke to the media under the condition of anonymity.
“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. From the front of the store to the back of the store, you can’t have anything on mannequins and no large signage,” the source said. “We call our customers ‘guests,’ there is outrage on their part. This year, it is just exponentially more than any other year. I think given the current situation with Bud Light, the company is terrified of a Bud Light situation.”
Bud Light has experienced significant anti-LGBT backlash after the brand partnered with transgendered influencer Dylan Mulvaney to commemorate their having lived “365 days of being a girl.”
In addition to swimsuits, other items that Target is offering for Pride month – which occurs annually in June – include rainbow-colored clothing and items embroidered with phrases such as “Just Be You And Feel The Love,” “cure transphobia not trans people,” and “too queer for here.”
The emergency call, which the source said took place on Friday, covered keeping Target team members safe – reportedly, some have received threats from irate customers – and moving Pride merchandise to less conspicuous sections of the store.
“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,” the insider said. “The last five was, ‘Move this to the back, take down the mannequins and remove the signage.’”
Acknowledging the outrage on the part of some of their customers, Target released a statement on Tuesday, saying that, “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.”