Target is significantly expanding its controversial decision to pull Pride merchandise from its shelves, workers say, as anti-LGBTQ protestors threaten the company with violence.
Employee sources in six states tell Insider that the order came down on Thursday to stores across the US, less than a week after a similar directive to Target locations in Southern states where front-end Pride displays were taken down and moved to low-traffic areas of the store.
All the sources requested anonymity out of fear that they will face professional repercussions, as none are authorized to speak to the media. Insider has verified their identities and employment.
In particular, they say that a line of transgender-friendly swimsuits is no longer available after right-wing social media activists incorrectly claimed the adult-sized products were being marketed to children.
Workers in Florida and Texas, where displays were previously removed, told Insider that products and apparel that mention or celebrate transgender Pride were no longer for sale either. And Insider did a quick check of Target’s website on Friday afternoon and found that a pair of adult black overall shorts with a rainbow design was no longer available in any size.
According to a member of Target’s Pride+ Business Council, the expanded order applies to locations that the company previously told the council would not be affected. “It got far more overreaching than originally portrayed,” the source said.
A day earlier, CEO Brian Cornell defended the decision to remove some Pride month displays in an email to staff. He said the choice involved “many difficult days of deliberation,” and that the company would continue to “stand with” the LGBTQIA+ community.
The company did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on the reported expansion of the display removals.
In a prior statement to Insider, a spokesperson said: “Since introducing this year’s collection, we’ve experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and wellbeing while at work. 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.”
If you are a Target worker who wants to share your perspective, please contact Dominick via email or Signal 646.768.4750. Responses will be kept confidential, and Insider strongly recommends using a personal email and a non-work device when reaching out.
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