Target on Tuesday announced that it would be removing certain LGBT-themed merchandise from its stores nationwide and its website, blaming the adjustment on "confrontational behavior" and "threats" from customers.
Target's Pride Collection includes more than 2,000 items, according to Reuters. Some of those products include books for 2- to 8-year-old children titled, "Bye Bye, Binary," "Pride 1,2,3," and "I'm Not a Girl."
The announcement that the store chain will remove some Pride items follows recent comments made by Target's top executive, who defended the merchandise as the "right thing for society."
During an episode of Fortune's "Leadership Next" podcast, CEO Brian Cornell brushed off customer backlash to companies going "woke."
"I think those are just good business decisions, and it's the right thing for society, and it's the great thing for our brand," Cornell stated.
The CEO celebrated Target's focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, noting that it "has fueled much of our growth over the last nine years."
"The things we've done from a DE&I standpoint, it's adding value," Cornell claimed. "It's helping us drive sales, it's building greater engagement with both our teams and our guests, and those are just the right things for our business today."
Following Cornell's comments, it appeared that Target planned to remain firm in its decision to stock LGBT-themed merchandise.
However, on Tuesday, an insider told Fox News Digital that the company had held "emergency" meetings with some store locations, directing managers to move Pride items from the front of the store to the back in order to avoid a "Bud Light situation."
According to the Target insider, store managers were told that the merchandise needed to be moved to "increase swim sales."
Fox News Digital confirmed that the directive to move the Pride Collection impacted stores in rural areas of South Carolina, Arkansas, and Georgia.
Since then, Target announced that it plans to altogether remove certain merchandise from its Pride Collection nationwide and from its website, pointing the blame at confrontational customers threatening the safety of its employees.
"Since introducing this year's collection, we've experienced threats impacting our team members' sense of safety and wellbeing while at work," Target stated. "Given these volatile circumstances, we are making adjustments to our plans, including removing items that have been at the center of the most significant confrontational behavior."
Kayla Castaneda, a Target spokesperson, told Reuters that the company is reviewing a number of products in its collection, including "tuck-friendly" swimsuits and children's merchandise.
Castaneda stated that items allocated for immediate removal include merchandise from Abprallen, an LGBT brand that ignited calls for boycotts after it was revealed that its designer appears to support satanism, violence, and drug use. Some of the brand's products include depictions of pentagrams, horned skulls, and other satanic-themed imagery.
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