Retail giant Target is now pulling some of its merchandise from shelves that celebrates Pride Month amid intense backlash from customers and threats to employees, the company said Tuesday.
"Since introducing this year’s collection, we’ve experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being while at work," the company 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."
Target did not mention which specific items were being removed, but the collection does include so-called "tuck-friendly" swimsuits that have been the center of debate. The suits allow transgender individuals who have not undergone gender-affirming procedures to conceal their genitalia. Items sold by Target from the London-based company Abprallen have also faced backlash for their satanic-themed LGBTQ clothing and accessories.
The move by Target comes in the wake of backlash against several other high-profile companies over attempts to broaden their customer base ahead of Pride Month in June. Bud Light and its parent company Anheuser-Busch came under fire after the beer brand partnered with trans activist Dylan Mulvaney last month.
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Shortly after, some bars and liquor stores vowed to boycott Bud Light, and Anheuser-Busch shed roughly $5 billion in value. In response, the company said it will bolster its marketing spending in the coming months as the brand attempts to restore lost sales.
Target and other major retailers like Walmart and H&M have launched campaigns celebrating Pride Month for roughly a decade, but transgender issues are a particularly divisive topic this year, specifically gender-affirming care and trans athletes participating in sports.
"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," Target said in a statement.
The company's stock price is down nearly 11% over the past week.
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