California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Tuesday slammed Target’s chief executive for pulling LGBTQ and Pride Month merchandise from store shelves after facing backlash and threats of violence from some customers.
“CEO of Target Brian Cornell selling out the LGBTQ+ community to extremists is a real profile in courage. This isn’t just a couple stores in the South. There is a systematic attack on the gay community happening across the country,” Newsom wrote in a tweet Tuesday night.
“Wake up America. This doesn’t stop here. You’re black? You’re Asian? You’re Jewish? You’re a woman? You’re next,” the California governor continued.
On Tuesday, Target announced it was making “adjustments to our plans” to promote and sell Pride Month merchandise, which has been on sale since the beginning of May, ahead of Pride Month, which is June. Target attributed the decision to “volatile circumstances” that were impacting staff’s “sense of safety and well-being while at work.”
Target did not say which items would be removed from shelves but confirmed it moved its Pride merchandise to the back of some stores in the South.
“Since introducing this year’s collection, we’ve experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being while at work,” Target’s statement read. ”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.”
According to the most recent FBI data, hate crimes reported against people targeted for their sexual orientation increased by 54 percent from 2020 to 2021. The same data show hate crimes against transgender and gender-nonconforming people increased by 29 percent in 2021.
Debate over the legality and morality of some gender-affirming health care has increased in recent years, with some states banning its administration to minors. Bud Light also recently received public backlash from some of its consumers after partnering with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney as part of a social media campaign.