The goal is to remove some LGBTQ merchandise after customer backlash

NEW YORK, May 23 (Reuters) – (This story was corrected on May 23 to fix the spelling of Carnell’s first name for Eric, from Eric, in paragraph 8)

Target, which launched the Pride collection at the beginning of May, is pulling some products from its stores after facing backlash from customers, saying it was working to protect employee safety, the company told Reuters on Tuesday.

Target Corp. (TGT.N) offers more than 2,000 products, including clothing, books, music, and home furnishings as part of its Pride Collection. Items include “Liquid Gender” mugs, and “Queer All Year Long” book calendars for children ages 2-8 titled “Bye Bye, Two”, “Pride 1, 2, 3” and “I’m Not a Girl”.

“Since introducing this year’s collection, we have faced threats affecting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being while on the job,” Target said in a statement.

“Given these volatile circumstances, we are making adjustments to our plans, including removing items that have been at the center of most significant confrontational behavior,” the Minneapolis-based retailer said.

For more than a decade, Target has been celebrating Pride Month. But Target spokeswoman Kayla Castaneda said this year’s collection has led to an increase in confrontations between customers and employees and incidents of Pride merchandise being thrown on the floor.

Target’s action follows a conservative backlash against Bud Light, after brewer Anheuser-Busch promoted the beer on social media last month with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

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Castaneda said products recalled by Target are removed from all of its US stores and from its website.

While several Pride Collection products are under review, the only ones being removed right now are LGBTQ brand Abprallen, which has come under scrutiny for its association with British designer Eric Carnell.

Carnell faced backlash on social media for designing merchandise using images of pentagrams, horned skulls, and other satanic products.

A search for Aprallen merchandise on on Tuesday returned “0” results.

Screenshots and posts It appears on social media that Target previously sold a $25 slogan vest with the words “Treat transphobia not trans people” and an $18 “very queer here” tote bag.

Castaneda said Target is also reviewing some transgender swimwear and baby merchandise, but no decision has been made on those products yet.

For example, swimwear sold in the women’s section came under scrutiny for the way it was described as a “flexible fit,” which highlighted its ability to flex the male genitalia.

Fox News a report Earlier on Tuesday, it said some Target stores in Southern states were moving Pride-related merchandise away from their storefront. An employee at a Target store in Arkansas told Reuters that they have moved Pride-related swimwear deeper into the store.

“We used to have swimsuits in the front … but now they’re in a slum in the back now,” said the employee, who did not wish to be named. “We started transporting goods on Sunday.”

(Reporting by Siddharth Kaval) in New York. Editing by Leslie Adler

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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