Target Takes Down Pride Collection After Right-Wingers Post Threatening Videos


Target has caved to anti-LGBTQIA+ groups online and removed some items and entire displays for its annual Pride month merchandise sale. The move comes after a wave of far-right online groups spread a wave of misinformation on social media in misleading and outright false videos claiming the superstore chain was somehow promoting trans operations for minors through childrens’ bathing suits.

Target hosts an annual Pride month sale, which this year began in May and was supposed to last through June. Several videos online claimed Target was selling “tuck-friendly” bathing suits for kids and otherwise called the company a “groomer,” which is right-wing transphobic parlance for claiming people are promoting trans politics or are raising children up to be trans. The Daily Beast reported that the social media accounts like Gays Against Groomers initially turned the far right grievance machine on their new target.

Of course, it was all bullshit. AP fact checked the claim about the “Tuck-Friendly Construction” and “Extra Crotch Coverage” swimwear and found swimsuits labeled with that tag were only available in adult sizes. The kids-sized suits instead included tags reading “Thoughtfully fit on Multiple Body Types and Gender Expressions.” Still, some of these misleading videos on Instagram and Twitter received thousands of likes.

In a statement sent to reporters, Target said that it has “experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of security and wellbeing” since setting up this year’s annual Pride Month displays. The superstore chain said it was removing items “at the center of the most significant confrontational behavior.” Gizmodo reached out to Target for more information about which stores and items were targeted by the threats, but we did not immediately hear back.

There are multiple videos circulating online showing right-wingers did propose some form of violence at Target stores. One video shows a man wearing a red “Make America Great Again” cap swagger up to one of the pro-LGBTQ displays and take a drunken punch at a sign. He then takes the sign down from the clothing rack and gives it a weak stomp.

Other videos from other anti-trans folks on social media claim they want to “expose” Target, along with its managers and employees, for their “satanic pride shrines for children.” The twerps in the video also claimed they liked to go on “hunting expeditions” for people in the LGBTQ community. The account that shared the video, PatriotTakes, claims the two were connected to the Groyper movement, namely the followers of far-right provocateur Nick Fuentes.

Tweets and other social posts from folks running in transphobic and MAGA circles online were celebrating Target’s capitulation as a victory. The right-wing furor matched the recent online campaigns against Bud Light and its maker Anheuser-Busch. The beer company sent a single, personalized can of Bud Light to a transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, leading to a boycott. Though in the end, the far-right trolls don’t accomplish much with their limp acts of hate. Ad experts have told AP that despite the hubbub, inclusive ads make businesses money. Simply put, if you’re willing to sell products to diverse groups, more people are willing to buy those goods.

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