Target CEO Defends Pulling LGBT Products After Customer Backlash

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Target CEO Brian Cornell is speaking out this week to defend his decision to pull some LGBTQ merchandise from stores, saying that he did so for the safety of his employees after the backlash that came in over Pride month back in June.

Target CEO Speaks Out

Cornell told CNBC host Becky Quick that Target employees were forced to deal with “very aggressive behavior” in stores over the LGBTQ merchandise, with some people even having “threatened to light product on fire” in stores.

“I’ve seen natural disasters,” Cornell said. “We’ve seen the impact of Covid leading into the pandemic. Some of the violence that took place after George Floyd’s murder. But I will tell you, Becky, what I saw back in May is the first time since I’ve been in this job where I had store team members saying, ‘It’s not safe to come to work.’”

“We had to prioritize the safety of our teams,” he continued. “And I knew personally this was not gonna be well received. But we had to prioritize the safety of the team.”

Related: Joe Rogan Eviscerates Target For Going Woke – ‘Stop Shoving This Down Our Throats!’

Target Hit With Backlash

Target was hit with backlash back in May for the Pride merchandise that it was selling. This merchandise included “tuck friendly” women’s swimsuits, which The Associated Press reported “allow trans women who have not had gender-affirming operations to conceal their private parts.”

Target’s sales then dropped by more than 5% in the second quarter, and though higher-ups never confirmed that this was due to the Pride merchandise fallout, the dip coincided with the backlash.

Target responded by removing some Pride merchandise from stores, saying in a statement that threats were “impacting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being” on the job.

“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,” the company continued.

“The reaction is a signal for us to pause, adapt and learn so that our future approach to these moments balances celebration, inclusivity and broad-based appeal,” Christina Hennington, Target’s chief growth officer, told NPR.

Find out more about this in the video below.

Related: ‘Shark Tank’s’ Kevin O’Leary Says $15B ‘Stunning Collapse’ Of Woke Target Should Serve As Warning To CEOs

LGBTQ Groups Fire Back

Unfortunately for Target, this led to backlash from LGBTQ groups, showing that they’d officially angered both sides of the culture wars.

“Extremist groups want to divide us and ultimately don’t just want rainbow products to disappear, they want us to disappear,” Kelley Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign, wrote on social media.

“The LGBTQ+ community has celebrated Pride with Target for the past decade. Target needs to stand with us and double-down on their commitment to us,” she added.

Southern Poverty Law Center Michael Edison Hayden claimed to NPR that Target backtracking would only encourage more threats.

“If [Target is] going to wade in on this, and they’re going to put support out there for the LGBTQ+ population, I think once they enter that fray they have a responsibility to stand by that community,” he said. “As soon as you back down like this, you send a message that intimidation works, and that makes it much scarier than if you had never started to begin with.”

Find out more about this in the video below.

It’s safe to say that Target has learned the hard way that “go woke, go broke” is very real indeed. In the end, this should serve as a lesson to brands everywhere that taking sides in the culture wars simply is not worth it.

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