Target Corp. has seen its market cap drop by billions of dollars in the aftermath of the outcry over its Pride clothing line as the retailer finds itself mired in its own Bud Light moment.
The company’s market capitalization has lost as much as $9 billion since May 17 amid a backlash over its Pride 2023 apparel line for children and adults, which included some items created by a Satanist-inspired British designer Abprallen.
At the end of trading Wednesday, the market cap was $66.05 billion, representing a drop of 11% for a loss of $8.24 billion from $74.29 billion on May 17.
The price fell further during early trading Thursday, though it recovered some of that lost ground later in the day.
“Bud Light made a man their female brand ambassador and their sales went down almost 30%,” said Michael Seifert, CEO of PublicSq., a marketing app that steers consumers away from woke companies.
“Target pushed transgenderism on children and lost $9 billion in market cap in one week,” he tweeted. “This is what happens when Americans stand up and tell woke corporations that enough is enough.”
The products coming under fire include women’s one-piece bathing suits with “tuck-friendly” flaps to accommodate male genitalia as well as shirts featuring drag queens and slogans like “Queer All Year” and “homophobia transphobia can be cured with education” and “not a phase.”
The line also includes children’s wear and onesies for babies with rainbow-themed slogans like, “Just Be You and Feel the Love.”
The Heritage Foundation posted a video Thursday showing what appeared to be child-sized swimsuits with the “tuck” feature.
We took a stroll with @SarahPPerry through a Target store to see the extent of their “pride” merchandise.— Heritage Foundation (@Heritage) May 25, 2023
What we found is that @Target is very much in the business of promoting gender confusion and grooming children.
The verdict: avoid shopping at Target. pic.twitter.com/qGnkyFM3gK
Conservative comedian Alex Stein posted a video showing him trying on the “tuck” bathing suit at a Target store.
“We’re at Target trying on their tuck-friendly Pride Collection. That’s right, guys: Extra crotch coverage, tuck-friendly construction. Thank you, Target!” Mr. Stein said.
Target responded to the uproar by saying it would remove items “at the center of the most confrontational behavior.” Consumers said that some locations also relocated the entire Pride Collection displays to the back of the stores.
“Our focus now is on moving forward with our continuing commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community and standing with them as we celebrate Pride Month and throughout the year,” Target said in a Wednesday statement.
The company pointed out that it has offered products celebrating Pride Month for more than a decade, and Target was one of the first major retailers to publicly state that trans women could use its female bathrooms and changing rooms.
But tensions over gender identity are running high this year as biological males who identify as women demand to be included in female facilities, sports and categories.
The Anheuser-Busch brand Bud Light was hit with fierce public blowback in April after celebrating transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney’s “365 Days of Girlhood” with personalized cans.
The three Abprallen items sold by Target were: a messenger bag saying “We Belong Everywhere” across rainbow colors and planets; a “Too Queer for Here” tote bag; and a “Cure Transphobia, Not Trans People” sweatshirt, according to National Review.
They are no longer available online.
Abprallen designer Erik Carnell had said on Instagram last week that “being able to sell my stuff in Target stores is incredibly exciting.”
“Knowing that people are seeing it without (necessarily) explicitly seeking LGBT-related stuff is wonderful, and I’m especially happy at the thought that young closeted people will see it, and I hope that in some way they’ll feel a bit more comfortable in themselves, as we all deserve to feel,” he said.
Mr. Carnell told Reuters that demand for his products has soared since the Target backlash. He also sells pins with messages like “Satan Respects Pronouns” and “Trans Healthcare Now.”
• Valerie Richardson can be reached at email@example.com.
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