Target pulls some gay pride items, citing threats to employees

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Target pulled some products commemorating Gay Pride following an uproar by conservatives
Target pulled some products commemorating Gay Pride following an uproar by conservatives

Big-box retailer Target said Wednesday it removed products to commemorate gay pride month, citing threats to employees in the wake of criticism by social conservatives.

The giant US chain, a smaller rival to Walmart, noted it has showcased rainbow-colored items and other fare celebrating Pride for more than a decade.

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"Since introducing this year's collection, we've experienced threats impacting our team members' sense of safety and well-being while at work," Target said in a statement.

"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.

"Our focus now is on moving forward with our continuing commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community and standing with them as we celebrate Pride Month and throughout the year."

Conservative activists have filmed themselves at stores expressing outrage at "tuck friendly" swimsuits designed for transgender consumers.

They have blasted the company over Pride-labelled products made by British brand Abprallen, which unveiled a "We Belong Everywhere" messenger bag earlier this month designed for the chain.

Abprallen viewed the Target collaboration as an "opportunity to create something huge," the brand said on Instagram on May 9. "I wanted to ensure that any young people who saw Abprallen in Target would know that who they are is beautiful, purposeful, and worth expressing."

But Abprallen became criticized as "Satanic" on right-wing media after its designer posted a picture of a horned devil-like figure with the inscription, "Satan respects pronouns."

On Wednesday, no Abprallen products were available on Target's website.

California Governor Gavin Newsom slammed Target on Twitter for "selling out the LGBTQ+ community to extremists."

"There is a systematic attack on the gay community happening across the country," Newsom added.

Conservative talk-show host Matt Walsh called for a boycott of the brand, saying he was speaking for millions of Americans "who don't want the rainbow stuff vomited on them the moment they go into a store."

Walsh had also been a leading critic of Anheuser-Busch brand Bud Light, which came under fire from conservatives after it produced a personalized can for trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney.