Target teamed up with trans-promoting fashion brand AB Prallen which advocates for Satan. They even had Pride merch for newborns, and "packing underwear" that girls could stuff with fake flaccid phalluses to look like they were, well, packing.
Now, the CEO of Target said in an interview with CNBC all the accusations that they sold all that well-documented merch is just not true.
"People said 'look, there are bathing suits that are transgender bathing suits that are being targeted and marketed to kids," CNBC's Becky Quick began in an interview with CEO Brian Cornell.
"There is a guy who you're working with, a designer, who I don't know, is a devil worshiper, are some of the things," Quick continued.
"You and I both know," Cornell said, "those things weren't true."
AB Prallen, which teamed with Target on Pride merch, writes on their website “Satan loves you and respects who you are. You're important and valuable in this world and you deserve to treat yourself with love and respect."
The brand, founded by "gay trans man" Erik, was stoked to announce in May that the brand would be on store shelves at Target. "This has been so hard to keep quiet but I can now proudly announce that you can by Abprallen in US Targets!"
The other Pride merch was well-documented. In 2022, Target launched their trans merch for kids, as well as binders in a collaboration with TOMBOYX. The binder was "designed to keep you comfortable while letting you be your best self."
Target's Pride for kids line featured rompers, dresses, and mini-skirts for both girls and boys, as well as baby onesies reading "my first pride," and baby blue and pink tie-dyed shirts for toddlers that read "trans rights are human rights."
Cornell, it seems, is not up on all the facts regarding what was being sold at his stores. He was, however, aware of the backlash from parents against all that Pride merch, and said that this was the first time store staff complained of being "not safe" at work.
"This is my 10th holiday season at Target. You and I have been talking almost every quarter during those ten years. We've seen natural disasters. We've seen the impact of COVID leading up to the pandemic, some of the violence that took place after George Floyd's murder. But I would tell you what I saw back in May is the first time since I've been in this job where I had store team members saying it's not safe to come to work," Cornell told Quick.
Target eventually moved the kids Pride merch to the back of the stores. Addressing that with Quick, he said "But it was a difficult time. But in the environment we said, look, let’s focus on de-escalating the issue, taking care of our team, celebrating the moment, and take the learning as we go forward. And we talked during our recent earnings call."
Then he called the penchant for Pride merch part of a "heritage moment."
"We’ll manage these moments very differently. These heritage moments, whether it is Pride or Hispanic heritage or Black history, we’ll time them differently," Cornell said.
He said pulling the Satanist's merch from shelves set a "dangerous precedent." Target has a large selection of trans Pride merch available for sale online, and a selection of Pride products available in children's sizes from newborn on up.
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