Target’s top executive hammered the aggressive behavior some customers have directed toward employees over the retailer’s collection of LGBTQ-themed merchandise.
The company Retrieved some items from its collection for Pride Month in June, which honors lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, saying the immediate threats made workers feel unsafe. That move followed “several difficult days of deliberation and decision-making,” Chief Executive Officer Brian Cornell said in an internal memo.
“What you’ve seen in recent days goes beyond inconvenience, and it’s heartbreaking to see what you’re dealing with on our roads,” Cornell told store employees in the memo, which was sent Wednesday and viewed by Bloomberg . He also thanked the service center staff for their “patience and professionalism through many angry, abusive and threatening calls.”
Because of the US culture wars, the imbroglio consumed Target this week, with some critics faulting the company for its Pride Month collection while others criticized it for intimidation in stores and on social media. Cornell said he’s trying to chart a course between recognizing Pride Month and making changes aimed at putting safety first.
“In the LGBTQIA+ community, one of the hardest parts of all of this is trying to reflect on how the changes we’ve made to alleviate these threats to the physical and psychological safety of our team will affect you and YOUR well-being and psychological safety,” he said in the memo, previously reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Target hasn’t said which merchandise it’s pulling, but one item that has sparked controversy is a bathing suit designed for transgender people. While some social media posts say the bathing suit is for kids, Target says it’s only available in adult sizes.
Target fell 2.8% at 2:43 pm in New York, on track for its sixth straight decline, its worst five-month streak.