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EXCLUSIVE: Target Warns of ’Extremists,’ ‘Violence’ in Internal 'Threat Overview' Memo Following Pride Collection Boycott

‘I really do not feel welcome as a Target Team Member,’ an employee told Timcast News

Retail giant Target has released an internal “threat overview” memo following a boycott of the company in response to its 2023 Pride Collection.

Target’s collection features “tuck-friendly” swimwear for those who identify as transgender women, Pride-themed onesies and children’s clothing, as well as apparel featuring phrases like “Queer! Queer! Queer! Queer!” and “Trans People Will Always Exist!” 

The memo, which consisted of an eight-slide PDF document titled “PRIDE Support Deck,” warns of increased threats of violence following customers boycotting the company over Pride merchandise.

“As political and social tensions rise ahead of the 2024 presidential election, Target will face a continued increase of physical security threats related to our commitments on continuous social issues including support of the LGBTQIA+ community and Pride Month,” reads the internal memo obtained by Timcast News.

The memo warns online campaigns and boycotts resulting from the company’s release of Pride merchandise have the potential to “motivate extremists to violence.”

“Recent extremist focuses are: ’sexualization’ of children, gender issues, and drag performances,” the memo continues. “Guests may express their opposition to Target’s support of the LGBTQIA+ community in general or to specific Pride merchandise through disruptive incidents in our stores or by making threats of violence.”

“Our Pride merchandise may spark disagreements among team members or prompt concerns that Target’s values don’t align with their own,” the memo continues, saying physical security risks will be highest for employees “within the LGBTQIA+ community.”

“We have not seen any indicators yet in 2023 that raise concerns of a unique risk to Target,” the memo concludes. “Our retail competitors have seen similar positions supporting the LGBTQIA+ community and Pride specific merchandise assortments.”

One Target employee, who spoke to Timcast News under the condition of anonymity, said the company is “essentially calling normal people extremists internally.”

The employee said a version of the document was sent out earlier this month. However, this week, the memo was distributed again with an additional slide labeled “Threat Overview.”

The employee continued:

In my location, there are definitely people who disagree with Target’s liberal stances, but I don’t feel comfortable expressing my conservative views. I think there’s more team members out there who disagree with Target, because when a hot button social issue comes up, such as drag, everyone gets awkwardly silent. Target says they are inclusive of everyone, but then they only push liberal ideals through internal emails. It shocked me that Target would imply in this slide that you’re an extremist if you think children are being sexualized and if you believe in traditional gender.

The employee concluded: “Now, I really do not feel welcome as a Target Team Member.”

Target has lost $9 billion in market value in the week following the boycott, per the New York Post.

Three items in Target’s Pride collection were created by transgender designer Erik Carnell, under the brand Abprallen.

The products consisted of a shirt with the message “cure transphobia, not trans people,” a fanny pack that reads “we belong here,” and a messenger bag with a rainbow and spaceship that says “too queer for here.” 

Those items have been subsequently removed from the retailer’s online store.

The Abprallen website is currently shut down with the homepage stating, “The shop is temporarily closed.”

“Thank you all for your unrelenting support and love,” the page reads. “The positivity and beautiful vibes you’ve sent my way this past week has been overwhelming and I can’t thank you enough! I am putting the shop on a short bread while I catch up on all of your orders!

“See you soon. All of my love, Erik”

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