Target Faces ‘Bud-Light Treatment’ as Opposition to LGBT Merchandise Aimed at Children Grows

Backlash intensifies as retailer moves Pride Month displays to back of Southern stores
By Darlene McCormick Sanchez
Darlene McCormick Sanchez
Darlene McCormick Sanchez
Darlene McCormick Sanchez reports for The Epoch Times from Texas. She writes on a variety of issues with a focus on Texas politics, election fraud, and the erosion of traditional values. She previously worked as an investigative reporter and covered crime, courts, and government for newspapers in Texas, Florida, and Connecticut. Her work on The Sinful Messiah series, which exposed Branch Davidians leader David Koresh, was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist for investigative reporting in the 1990s.
May 25, 2023Updated: May 25, 2023

DALLAS—The backlash against Target continues as conservative groups launch petitions and campaigns demanding that the company remove LGBT products, particularly merchandise aimed at children.

Target came under fire this week as details of the store’s “Pride Month” merchandise, which included products made for children, appeared on social media and were picked up by news outlets.

Calls to give the retailer the “Bud-Light treatment” have grown louder on social media over Target’s embrace of rainbow-colored onesies for babies and “tuck-friendly” women’s swimsuits for men identifying as women.

Epoch Times Photo
Conservative groups have launched petition drives and campaigns against Target LGBT merchandise as displayed May 24, 2023. (Darlene McCormick Sanchez/The Epoch Times)

Target responded by removing some of the LGBT merchandise, citing safety concerns for employees who allegedly had been threatened.

At least one Youtube video showed a man going through Target, pulling down LGBT rainbow displays, and stomping on them.

The campaign against Target now includes online petitions and campaigns against the retailer.

American Family Association (AFA), a faith-based group, launched an online petition on May 24 with more than 28,500 signatures.

The petition was started to provide a voice for customers tired of the “woke” corporate culture at Target, according to James Taylor, senior fellow for AFA and director of its policy and legislative affairs branch.

“Americans are tired of being forced to tolerate things that are morally offensive and harmful to children and women,” Taylor told The Epoch Times in an email.

“Target’s customer base is middle-class Heartland America. And middle-class, Heartland America believes a man is a man, and a woman is a woman.

“They understand basic biology, and they have common sense. They also don’t drink Bud Light anymore, and, as of today, they won’t be shopping at Target,” he wrote.

Another petition launched on May 25 on CitizenGo was titled: “Stop Target’s New Gay Pride Collection for Babies!”

And a conservative group called The Battle Cry urged the public to download their “June Challenge” fliers condemning the transgender “cult” and drop them everywhere inside Target stores nationwide.

AFA’s petition calls for Target to remove all LGBT displays from its stores altogether. The landing page included the phone number to Target’s headquarters.

The group’s petition condemned displays of transgender and LGBT merchandise as “inappropriate and offensive to families, especially those with impressionable children.”

It went on to say the economic impact of offending many to appease a few would mean financial loss for the retailer.

Epoch Times Photo
Target includes children’s books and ginger bread houses as part of their Pride display at a Texas store May 24, 2021. (Darlene McCormick Sanchez/The Epoch Times)

“Stop following the ‘WOKE’ crowd and use common sense when doing business in our communities,” the petition says.

CitizenGo, a platform promoting “life, family, and liberty,” called out Target for embracing “transgender rhetoric.”

That petition generated 7,000 signatures within hours of its launch and was directed to Brian Cornell, Target’s chief executive officer.

“It’s hard to believe, but Target just released a new collection of transgender and LGBT accessories, books, and clothes for kids and even babies,” the petition page states.

The retailer reportedly decided to relocate Pride displays in more conservative Southern states to the back of stores, according to the New York Post.

The display was at the back of the store at a Target store in a Texas suburb adjacent to Dallas.

An Epoch Times reporter only saw three people visit the Pride display at the Target in Rockwall County.

One was a Target employee who grabbed a “Trans People Will Always Exist!” shirt and headed to the checkout line.

Epoch Times Photo
Target’s new Pride line includes a Pride Parade Float gingerbread kit along with LGBT gingerbread house kits. (Courtesy of Alice Giordano)

The shopper response was mixed.

Krystal told The Epoch Times in the store parking lot she didn’t notice the display while shopping. But she could understand people protesting the idea of LGBT products aimed at children.

The display didn’t bother a mother with small children loading her SUV with Target bags. She had heard about the controversy and saw the Pride Month display, she said.

“I think it’s their choice,” she said when asked if she approved of the LGBT merchandise.

Brandon, a father wearing a Clemson T-shirt, shrugged at the idea of the display, even if it involved children.

“It doesn’t bother me,” he said. “That’s parental discretion.”

Social media conservatives also blasted Target for offering LGBT items from the Abprallen brand, headed by transgender designer Erik Carnell.

The London-based company designs and sells LGBT clothing and accessories, some of which use Satanic images such as pentagrams and horned skulls.

Carnell partnered with Target to design 2023 Pride season merchandise, according to news accounts.

Epoch Times Photo
Target carries LGBT onesies and children’s clothing at a store in a conservative county outside of Dallas, May 25, 2023. (Darlene McCormick Sanchez The Epoch Times)

His items at Target included an adult shirt saying, “Cure transphobia, not trans people”—a bag with a spaceship and rainbow that says “too queer for here,” and a fanny pack that says ,”We belong here,” according to the Daily Dot.

Target reportedly removed the Abprallen merchandise, though the Satanic-themed items were not reportedly being sold at Target stores, according to news outlets.

A search for Abprallen merchandise on on May 23 showed no results.

Conservatives were outraged nonetheless, with several posting images of an Abparellen T-shirt emblazoned with “Satan Respects Pronouns” on Twitter.

As with Bud Light, which is still trying to recover after the company tapped transgender TikTok Star Dylan Mulvaney to promote its beer, the Target boycott is hiting its performance on Wall Street.

Stock prices for Target Corp, based in Minneapolis, have fallen since reports began circulating about the LGBT merchandise.

Target said in a May 24 statement on its corporate website that the company wants to move past the uproar and continue supporting the LGBT community and Pride Month, which it has celebrated for a decade.

Target Corp’s Pride Collection offers more than 2,000 products, including clothing, books, music, and home furnishings.

The items include “gender fluid” mugs, “queer all year” calendars, and books for children aged 2–8 titled “Bye Bye, Binary,” “Pride 1,2,3,” and “I’m Not a Girl,” according to news outlets.

Reuters contributed to this report.