Conservatives took credit for Target’s first quarterly sales drop in six years last week, blaming it on a Pride Month backlash that sparked a right-wing boycott and weeks of in-store confrontations.
Entertainment lawyer Rogan O’Handley tweeted to more than 1 million followers on X, formerly Twitter, “You come after our kids, we’re coming after your profits.”
The Minneapolis-based retailer reported $24.8 billion in revenue in the second quarter, down 4.9 percent from the same period last year.
Target executives acknowledged during a conference call with investors that they would have to “adapt and learn” after becoming embroiled in the culture war over LGBTQ+ rights, similar to Bud Light earlier this year. However, they and industry analysts said that inflation and a more price-conscious consumer also had an impact on the results.
“The backlash against Pride Month merchandise almost certainly played some role, and it cannot be ignored,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of retail at analytics firm GlobalData. “However, it is not the sole cause of Target’s woes.” Indeed, Target’s sales performance had been declining long before Pride became an issue.”
In his first public comments since the Pride controversy, Target CEO Brian Cornell stated that the company’s Pride collection would be more thoughtful in the future.
Well, Target surely had another issue with customers this year. This was when it promoted pride clothing by a Satanist partner, with tshirts showing the horned ‘majesty’ of the world, and wording like “Satan respects pronouns” and “Satan loves you and respects who you are.”
To commemorate Pride Month, the major retailer collaborated with the U.K.-based brand Abprallen to sell merchandise with pro-LGBTQ messages.
While the company was already being scrutinized for its “tuck-friendly” swimsuits, some social media users were outraged to learn that Abprallen’s designer, Eric Carnell, is also an outspoken Satanist whose brand features occult imagery and messages such as “Satan respects pronouns” on brand apparel.
Abprallen also sells merchandise with hostile messages directed at critics. Pins with the phrases “heteronormativity is a plague” and “burn down the cis-tem” are available on the website, as is one with the phrase “homophobe headrest” and an image of a guillotine.
Carnell, the brand’s transgender designer, explained on Instagram that Satan represents “passion, pride, and liberty” and “loves all LGBT+ people.”
He went on to say that “Satanists don’t actually believe in Satan, he is merely used as a symbol of passion, pride, and liberty. He means to you what you need him to mean. So for me, Satan is hope, compassion, equality, and love. So, naturally, Satan respects pronouns. He loves all LGBT+ people. I went with a variation of Baphomet for this design, a deity who themself is a mixture of genders, beings, ideas, and existences. They reject binary stereotypes and expectations. Perfect.”
Ah yes!? So, in what do they believe in precisely? Since when Satan is adjusted to meet the beliefs of individuals? Since when does Satan mean hope, compassion, equality, and love?
Here is the uproar it received from conservatives and parents rights advocates: