Facing a backlash from customers, Target is pulling some of its LGBT Pride merchandise, including items from a controversial designer who is a self-proclaimed Satanist.
The store told Reuters it was pulling merchandise to protect employee safety. Even so, it still offers more than 2,000 LGBT-themed products, including a children's book called "Bye Bye, Binary," Reuters reported.
"Since introducing this year's collection, we've experienced threats impacting our team members' sense of safety and wellbeing 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."
In some locations, especially in the South, Target stores are physically moving LGBT Pride merchandise so that it's not as prominent, Reuters said.
Customers have criticized Target's Pride merchandise on several fronts, although the most prominent objection has been "trans pride" products by British designer Eric Carnell for the company Abprallen. Carnell openly calls himself a Satanist; he says he views Satan as a metaphor.
Target has pulled Abprallen merchandise, according to Reuters.
"Satanists don't actually believe in Satan. He is merely used as a symbol of passion, pride, and liberty," Carnell wrote on Instagram. "He means to you what you need him to mean. So for me, Satan is hope, compassion, equality, and love."
The focus on Target comes after Bud Light faced a similar backlash for its marketing partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
U.S. Tom Cotton (R-Ark) criticized Target.
"Even by the standards of woke corporations, @Target's partnership with a satanist to push the trans agenda on children is remarkable," Cotton tweeted. "The next time @Target comes begging for help, Republicans should respond, 'best of luck.'"
Some conservatives have urged families to avoid the store.
"Target has partnered with a company that promotes Satanism to produce its PRIDE clothing collection," said conservative radio commentator Erick Erickson. "If you thought Bud Light went too far, you might need to consider shopping elsewhere."
Target has partnered with a company that promotes Satanism to produce its PRIDE clothing collection. If you thought Bud Light went too far, you might need to consider shopping elsewhere.— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) May 23, 2023
Photo courtesy: ©Shabaz Usmani/Unsplash
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.