Target’s Stock Has Lost Billions of Dollars Amid ‘Pride’ Backlash

Target’s Stock Has Lost Billions of Dollars Amid ‘Pride’ Backlash
A Target department store in North Miami Beach, Fla., on May 17, 2023. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Jack Phillips

Target Corporation’s stock has lost a significant amount in the past two weeks as the retailer continues to face backlash over its line of LGBT clothing for children.

Shares of the firm dropped by about 0.8 percent on May 31, to $132.73, or about 17 percent down from two weeks ago, on May 18, when the stock was trading at $160.96. Data show that the current levels are the lowest Target has experienced since the early days of the pandemic.

According to an analysis posted by the New York Post, Target’s stock has lost about $12.7 billion so far amid the backlash.

Target has been the subject of a conservative-led boycott that was caused by the company’s move to release LGBT-friendly clothing for children, including apparel with the transgender flag colors.

Some items include a onesie for infants that states “Bien Proud,” a children’s book with the title, “’Twas the Night Before Pride,” a book that tells children how to use transgender pronouns, and a handful of T-shirts with similar slogans, according to the firm’s website. The company also drew backlash for “tuck-friendly” swimwear, but a Target spokesperson has said that the swimwear wasn’t made for children.

The products drew the ire of prominent conservatives, who accused the Minneapolis-based retailer of grooming and exploiting children. The company responded by moving some of those items to other locations in the store, according to a news release issued last week.

“Since introducing this year’s collection, we’ve experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being while at work,” Target said in a statement, without elaborating on the specific threats. “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.”

It isn’t clear whether any police reports were filed by the company.

Conservative commentator Candace Owens, of the Daily Wire, and others have suggested that people boycott Target because of the products. Others said that Target should be given the “Bud Light treatment,” referring to the backlash against the beer brand for its move to produce a beer can with a transgender activist’s face on it.

“I cannot state enough how important is for people to choose not to shop at Target. There has never been a company that has been more pro-transgenderism than Target,” Owens wrote earlier this month.

A worker collects shopping carts in the parking lot of a Target store in Highlands Ranch, Colo., on June 9, 2021. (David Zalubowski/AP Photo)
A worker collects shopping carts in the parking lot of a Target store in Highlands Ranch, Colo., on June 9, 2021. (David Zalubowski/AP Photo)

In 2016, Target faced boycott calls from conservative groups over its bathroom policy. One of them, the conservative American Family Association (AFA) said at the time that its members shouldn’t shop at Target and accused it of possibly exposing women and girls to sexual predators.

Target’s policy “means a man can simply say he feels like a woman today and enter the women’s restroom ... this is exactly how sexual predators get access to their victims,” AFA wrote on its website at the time.

Also last week, former Fox News host Megyn Kelly expressed concern about children’s being exposed to LGBT-linked products at Target, writing: “We don’t need our kids seeing this [expletive] when we walk down the aisle at Target.”

It was also revealed last week that Target donated millions of dollars to an activist group—New York City-based Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)—that tries to place LGBT-themed books in K-12 school libraries and calls on teachers to talk about sex and gender with children. The company’s website shows that Target has given more than $2 million to GLSEN and confirmed earlier this month that it’s provided another $250,000 to the group to “advance its mission.”

“This marks our 11th year of partnership, with a total of $2.1 million in support to date,” Target stated on its website.

As the backlash against Target grows, some noted that other nationwide chains and companies have made similar overtures to the LGBT community in recent years.

Will It Work?

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) over the weekend responded to the boycott and signaled that it will be hard to sustain—unlike the one targeting Bud Light.

“What really came to bite Bud Light is that wasn’t a hard boycott,” Cruz said during a recent episode of his podcast. “It’s difficult for nobody on planet Earth if you were going to order a Bud Light to say, ‘I’ll have a Coors Light.’ That’s a very simple substitution.

“Target? We’ll see how prolonged and easy a substitution it is. There’s Walmart. You know, there are alternatives. I will say Targets are located in a lot of areas and very convenient for a lot of shoppers. So we’ll see if this becomes a persistent consequence or not.

“Conservatives have typically been not very good at boycotts.”

Target’s press office didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.

Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter with 15 years experience who started as a local New York City reporter. Having joined The Epoch Times' news team in 2009, Jack was born and raised near Modesto in California's Central Valley. Follow him on X:
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