More than 200 LGBTQ groups are calling on Target to restock its controversial Pride merchandise and take a stand against “extremists.”
The Human Rights Campaign, along with GLAAD and the controversial GLSEN issued a statement on Monday, asking the retail giant and other companies, including Bud Light brewer Anheuser-Bush, to “reject and to speak out against anti-LGBTQ+ extremism ahead of Pride Month.”
More than 200 other progressive organizations also signed the statement, saying showing support for the community is good for business.
But Target has lost $14 billion in market value since the chain was revealed to be selling “tuck-friendly” women’s swimwear and Anheuser-Busch has lost more than $15 billion since TikToker Dylan Mulvaney released an ad for Bud Light in early April.
It comes as Stephen Miller’s America First Legal demands that Target turn over all of the company’s books and records detailing its promotion of LGBTQ products and its decline in market value.
Target has lost billions of dollars in market capitalization in the space of days as it continues to face backlash over a Pride-themed clothing line
Target sold ‘tuck-friendly’ women’s swimwear, and a tweet falsely claimed it also sold such swimwear to kids
As conservatives and moderates began boycotting Target last month, several Southern stores moved their Pride displays to smaller backyard areas.
CEO Brian Cornell also released a statement saying the company had removed several items that “were at the center of the most divisive behavior.”
“Since the introduction of this year’s collection, we have experienced threats affecting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being at work,” the company said in its statement.
“Given these volatile circumstances, we are making adjustments to our plans, including removing elements that have been at the center of the most significant confrontational behaviors.”
But the decision sparked further backlash, this time from LGBTQ+ advocates.
Now, the coalition of pro-LGBTQ organizations is calling on Target to restock all of its Pride merchandise, keep Target employees safe, and issue a statement “reaffirming our commitment to the LGBTQ+ community” within 24 hours.
“When it comes to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion, neutrality does not exist,” their letter bed.
He claims that those who support the ongoing boycott are “extremists”.
“Their goal is clear: to prevent LGBTQ+ inclusion and representation, to silence our allies, and to render our community invisible,” the groups claim.
“These attacks fuel hatred against LGBTQ+ people, as we have seen this year with over 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that restrict basic freedoms and seek to erase LGBTQ+ people.”
The coalition also suggested it would continue to support Target and any other company that rejects criticism.
“Target, and all businesses, can leverage the support of LGBTQ+ organizations to navigate this hate, so that together we can send an unequivocal message to extremists that, like all other failed anti-LGBTQ+ campaigns in the past, fear will not win.
Following a backlash, Target’s CEO announced he was pulling some of the most controversial items from the shelves. A Pride adult bikini is seen here, still available on her website
Pro-LGBTQ+ organizations have labeled those who speak out against the display of pride as “extremist”. MAGA rapper Forgiato Blow is pictured with an unnamed woman during a boycott of the chain in Midtown Miami earlier this month
Target has already faced a similar backlash from Erik Carnell, a transgender man and self-proclaimed Satanist, who designed much of the merchandise for the chain’s Pride Month line.
The British designer, whose slogans include “Satan loves pronouns”, said none of the clothes he designed for Target were “satanic”.
He also argued that companies like Target that launch products and campaigns for Pride Month seek to benefit LGBTQ people but fail to support them when challenges arise.
“It’s a very dangerous precedent to set, that if people get angry enough about the products you sell, you can walk away from the LGBT community completely, when and if it suits you,” Carnell said.
“If you’re going to take a stand and say you care about the LGBT community, you have to stick with it regardless.”
Erik Carnell (pictured) is a transgender designer and artist whose products were removed by US retailer Target from its Pride collection amid backlash from some customers
He denied that any clothes he designed for Target were “satanic”. Some children’s Pride Month clothing is seen in a store in Austin, Texas
Target had expressed support for LGBTQ groups in the past, creating Pride Month exhibits for years.
He has also donated more than $2.1 million to the pro-gay organization GLSEN, whose policies include ensuring that school personnel should “ensure that all personally identifiable and medical information relating to transgender and non-binary students remain confidential”.
The chain of stores states on its website that the organization ‘leads the movement in creating affirmative, accessible and anti-racist spaces for LGBTQIA+ students.
“We are proud of over 10 years of working with GLSEN and continue to support their mission.”
But the company did not mention that its vice president for brand management, Carlos Saavedra, 43, is also volunteering as the organization’s director.
He joined Target in July 2019 and was named vice president, brand management in January 2021, according to his LinkedIn page.
His profile indicates that he joined GLSEN as a member of the Board of Directors in May 2019 and was elected to the Executive Committee as Treasurer in November 2021.
Saavedra’s profile explains that the organization’s mission is “to help create safe spaces in schools for LGBTQIA+ students.”
Carlos Saavedra, 43, is Target’s vice president for brand management and also volunteers as director of GLSEN, which supports LGBTQ youth in schools
Police officers stood outside a Target store in Miami as people protested across the street
But as news of the company’s “tuck-friendly” bikinis spread on social media, the value has plummeted by $14 billion.
And despite the brand’s efforts to reverse its disastrous campaign, continued stock falls led JPMorgan to downgrade its stock from “neutral” to “overweight”, citing “too many growing concerns”.
“We continue to believe that the consumer is weakening overall as the share of wallet shifts away from goods (51% of [Target’s] sales) is underway,” JPMorgan analyst Christopher Horvers wrote, according to MarketWatch.
Horvers also cited “recent corporate controversies” as the reason Target suffered devastating financial losses, which came after “an impressive streak of 12 consecutive positive quarters.”
Today, former presidential adviser Stephen Miller, America First Legal, officially asks Target to be transparent about its “radical LGBT political agenda.”
He is asking the company to turn over all company books and records detailing its promotion of LGBTQ products and its decline in market value.
“For Target to willfully and aggressively join in this movement is an act of sabotage against Target shareholders and a value destroyer – including for countless Americans for whom Target stock is part of pension funds, mutual funds and the retirement accounts on which they depend,” Miller said in a statement.
“America First Legal is proud to represent U.S. shareholders financially harmed by Target’s descent into gender extremism and child exploitation,” he added.