As with the Bud Light boycott before it, retail giant Target has sustained a significant hit to its revenue and stock value in the wake of a controversial LGBT stance.
In preparation for “Pride Month,” stores far and wide began conspicuously placing an array of signs and products celebrating LGBT products in displays near the entrance. Some of these products — including products marketed to young children, a female-style bathing suit designed for “tucking” male genitalia, and a line of items from a designer with ties to Satanism — sparked instant backlash and calls for a boycott.
The strategy appears to be paying off, with evidence showing that the company has shed a staggering $9 billion in market value over the course of just over a week.
Reports indicate that Target bosses reacted to the controversy by removing certain products and instructing some stores to relocate their “Pride” displays to the back of the store. In a statement earlier this week, however, the company claimed that the motivation for this change was not the loss of revenue but to protect “our team members’ sense of safety and well-being while at work.”
Referencing supposed “threats” by critics of the chain’s radical LGBT outreach campaign, Target added: “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.”
Instead of offering a statement to those who found the display offensive, an internal email reportedly sent to store managers signaled that the brand continues to “stand with” those who believe the original displays were appropriate.
“To the teams who have been working so hard on our plans for Pride — and now are showing incredible agility as we adjust — thank you,” the message stated. “Your efforts will ensure we can still show up and celebrate Pride in meaningful ways.”
The statement went on to address “the LGBTQIA+ community” directly, asserting that “one of the hardest parts in all of this was trying to contemplate how the adjustments we’re making to alleviate these threats to our team’s physical and psychological safety would impact you and your wellbeing and psychological safety.”
TARGET IS HAVING AN EMERGENCY MEETING OVER THEIR LGBT MERCHANDISE!!!
KEEP THE BOYCOTT STRONG!!!! pic.twitter.com/yvCNmHP197
— Chad Prather (@WatchChad) May 23, 2023
Target’s response was clearly seen as insufficient by many critics, including conservative commentator Charlie Kirk, who tweeted: “Target wants to lose another $9 billion. Let’s help them!”