Target stores are pulling back from that rollout of Pride retail items after Conservative backlash and threats of boycott.
Posts started hitting various social media platforms in the recent past, featuring conservatives filming the contents of Target’s LGBTQ+Pride Month collection, prominently displayed at the front of Target stores. Amongst the items were “tuck friendly” bathing suits for transgender individuals, and mugs with the words “Genderfluid” written on the side. However, the main gripe of conservatives across the country were the items marketed to children on these displays.
Calls for fellow right leaning patrons to boycott Target stores led to an emergency calls from Target higher-ups to managers and district senior directors, asking them to tamp down the displays, and relocate them elsewhere in the store.
A Target insider said, “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 phenomenon of conservative boycotts squeezing brands into submission (recently being coined ‘budlighting’) first reached the public lexicon when Bud Light faced backlash for calling on trans TikTok influencer, Dylan Mulvaney, to film a campaign for them. The original post also featured a can with her face printed on it. The result of the campaign was an uproar amongst conservatives and conservative political pundits with complaints ranging from criticism for Bud Light using an influencer whose fan base is mostly minors; to an overarching frustration with Bud Light being completely out of touch with their customer demographic. After reportedly taking a roughly $4 billion dollar hit, Bud Light quietly tabled the campaign, distanced themselves from Mulvaney, and started a roll out of ads fitting with more rustic American/patriotic themes. Bud Light even started a buyback program for retailers and bars who were unable to move product during the height of the boycott. With Target already reportedly taking a multi-billion dollar hit in just a week of calls to boycott, they seem to be following suit.
However, Target CEO Brian Cornell stated in Fortune’s “Leadership Next” podcast that he stands by the display.
“I think those are just good business decisions, and it’s the right thing for society, and it’s the great thing for our brand.”