In response to customer “outrage” and to avoid a situation similar to Bud Light’s recent backlash, several Target stores in the southern region have been instructed by the company to change location. Target is known for its extensive Pride month displays, featuring a variety of items catering to the LGBTQ community, including transgender-friendly bathing suits and gender-inclusive mugs. However, conservative criticism, particularly regarding children’s items, has prompted the corporation to make adjustments.
According to a source within Target, predominantly rural locations in the south have taken urgent measures to downplay the Pride sections. Managers and district senior directors received calls instructing them to promptly reduce the visibility of the Pride displays. The entire Pride section, along with its mannequins and large signage, had to be relocated to a smaller area at the back of the store. The decision was influenced by the recent controversy surrounding Bud Light’s use of a transgender influencer in a promotional campaign. Target’s concern about potential repercussions led to the hasty actions.
The insider, who has been with the company for nearly two decades, stated that such swift decisions by Target are uncommon. The conference call on Friday primarily focused on ensuring team member safety due to the significant backlash generated by the Pride merchandise. Target’s Asset Protect & Corporate Security teams were present during the call. The insider revealed that the call lasted approximately 15 minutes, with the first 10 minutes dedicated to safety precautions and not advocating for Target. The remaining five minutes emphasized the relocation of the Pride merchandise, which was replaced with bathing suits in front-of-store displays, despite Pride month not commencing until June 1. The reason provided was an attempt to boost swim sales.
Most employees were unaware of the changes until they noticed them themselves. Meanwhile, Pride merchandise continues to be prominently displayed in other locations and on the Target website.
The range of Target’s Pride merchandise includes female-style swimsuits designed to accommodate tucking of male genitalia. Some products are also labeled as suitable for multiple body types and gender expressions.