LGBTQ brand included in Target collection blames ‘domestic terrorists’ for some of their items being removed from stores over backlash against tuck-friendly swimwear and clothing aimed at children
- One of the brands behind Target’s LGBTQ product release has blamed ‘domestic terrorists’ for its products being pulled from shelves
- Ash+Chess, which says it is ‘run by queer and trans people’, added that it is ‘saddened’ by the negative reaction to its items
- The company decided to roll back on its controversial Pride release after losing upwards of $9 billion in the fallout
One of the brands behind Target’s disastrous Pride collection has blamed ‘domestic terrorists’ for some of their products being pulled from the retailer’s stores.
Amid severe backlash following the company’s woke marketing campaign, which included ‘tuck-friendly’ female swimwear, several products from Ash+Chess have been pulled from shelves.
‘We are saddened to say that the majority of our collection has been removed from Target stores due to threats from domestic terrorists,’ the company said.
The move comes as Target has reportedly lost upwards of $9 billion in market value due to the fallout of its LGBTQ-themed product release.
The New York based retail supplier says on its website it is ‘run by queer and trans people’, and it slammed the severe fallout from its LGBTQ-inspired garments appearing on shelves across America.
‘Emotionally, we do not currently have the bandwidth to comment further on this,’ the company said in its statement.
‘We appreciate your support and love. Queer and trans people exist in the past, present and future, and we are stronger together. We love you all.’
Among the Pride-themed Ash+Chess items that were released by Target included a variety of rainbow adorned clothing, as well as posters, calendars and cards.
Target confirmed it is pulling some of the controversial items Wednesday in an attempt to mitigate the ‘Bud Light’ style boycott currently devastating its bottom line.
Faced with mounting pressure to respond to the criticisms, the company started having ’emergency calls’ to find a solution.
And in a statement released this week, Target said it had pulled some of the items that have ‘been at the center of the most confrontational behavior.’
‘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,’ crisis communications manager Kayla Castaneda said.
Alongside Ash+Chess’ items were other LGBTQ-inspired garments, including a lime green adult romper suit with the word ‘gay’ emblazoned on the back, and a mug with a label reading: ‘Gender Fluid.’
Target has publicly supported Pride events every year since 2013, and in the face of financially devastating boycotts its CEO doubled down on the unpopular release.
CEO Brian Cornell told Fortune’s Leadership Next podcast he believed the campaign would pay off in the long run.
‘I think those are just good business decisions, and it’s the right thing for society, and it’s the great thing for our brand,’ Cornell said.
‘The things we’ve done from a DE&I (diversity, equity, and inclusion) standpoint, it’s adding value.
‘It’s helping us drive sales, it’s building greater engagement with both our teams and our guests, and those are just the right things for our business today.’
In 2014, Target publicly endorsed marriage equality, and the following year announced it was ending their policy of dividing certain products, like toys, by gender.
Target also introduced a gender neutral line for children, and in April 2016 – amid a nationwide discussion about bathroom access – announced that transgender people were free to use whichever bathroom they chose.
A backlash ensued, and Target in August 2016 spent $20 million to add a private bathroom to each of its stores.
Target is the latest multi-billion-dollar firm to face criticism over its marketing, with Adidas also coming under fire after it used two biological men to advertise a women’s swimwear range.