The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that Target said it plans to remove some of the items it brought in to help customers celebrate Pride Month, and will move remaining displays to less visible parts of its stores, as it reacts to a backlash that caused some of its employees to feel unsafe.
The story notes that Target "for over a decade has sold a selection of often rainbow-adorned clothing, décor and other items related to Pride Month, the early summer celebration of the LGBT community. The company has always received some criticism for the collection, but this month the negative reaction has taken a more aggressive turn, particularly in recent days."
A spokesperson tells the Journal that, “Since introducing this year’s collection, we’ve experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being while at work." In some cases, she said, "people have confronted workers in stores, knocked down Pride merchandise displays and put threatening posts on social media with video from inside stores."
And, the Journal writes, "Target joins a growing list of companies including Walt Disney and Anheuser-Busch InBev caught in increasingly heated partisan culture wars, sometimes centered around LGBT rights."
- KC's View:
Well, the fact that Target is getting grief for this in 2023 after having had such offerings for more than a decade proves one thing: not everybody is capable of personal growth, and that there are some folks who would like to take this country back to good old days that weren't good for a lot of people, and that didn't say much good about qualities such as tolerance, acceptance and love.
I don't blame Target for making this decision. It has to protect its employees and other customers from this crap. But the people who are confronting employees, knocking down displays and making threats online (which is what cowards do, because they find solace in anonymity and the embrace of their fellow bigots) ought to be arrested, charged and prosecuted.
As I've said here before, I believe in a "no tolerance" policy for people (organized and not) who shoplift and commit vandalism in stores - stopping small crimes is one way to prevent larger crimes. And stopping these kinds of hate-inspired crimes - which is what these are - also requires a no tolerance policy.
I am reminded of the German pastor Martin Niemöller, who said after Wold War II:
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.