“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,” she said.
Just last week, Target CEO Brian Cornell touted his company’s efforts regarding diversity, equity and inclusion. Initiatives in that area have “fueled much of our growth over the last nine years” and “added value,” he told Fortune’s Leadership Next podcast.
Target’s decision to pull back was smart, said Americus Reed, a marketing professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
“The worst thing that could happen in a retail environment is to feel like you can’t go in there and feel safe — that’s on the employee side and the customer sides,” Reed said.
Target’s website features hundreds of colorful Pride products, including rainbow shirts for men, pint glasses embellished with “Cheers Queers” and a children’s book about pronouns, among others.
The company did not specify which items were being removed, but misinformation in recent days has centered on its children’s bathing suits that were falsely labeled as “tuck-friendly” by prominent conservative groups and media outlets. The tuck-friendly swimming suits were only for adults, the Associated Press reported. Tuck-friendly swimwear offers extra coverage to allow transgender women without gender-affirming operations to conceal their genitalia.
Some conservatives have also called for a boycott of Target over its partnership with the U.K.-based brand Abprallen, which they claim features Satanist designs. Some of the Abprallen pieces that Target was selling include a sweatshirt featuring an image of a snake with the line, “Cure transphobia, not trans people,” as well as a messenger bag that reads, “We belong everywhere.”