Leave it to Lil Nas Days after the mega-retailer removed or moved some Pride merchandise following backlash from conservative activists and the media – which reportedly included threats to the safety of its employees – drowned out the “That’s What I Want” rapper slammed the criticism with his own hysterical tweet parodying the storm in Gang 20.
“I can’t believe Target is supporting this nonsense. I will never shop there again. My son is not ‘too cool for school’. These shirts are ridiculous,” Lil Nas joked in a post that didn’t specifically mention the backlash, just hinted at it in his signature comedic voice. “He goes to school and WILL learn.”
Amid a wave of conservative legislation targeting the LGBTQ community — from bills restricting participation in drag shows to laws banning gender-affirmative treatment of minors and transgender adults — Target became the subject of outrage from right-wing media the latest company to be scrutinized over some of their proud products. According to NBC News, some Target customers have posted TikTok videos showing Target Pride merchandise displays that have been moved to less visible locations, including the back of some stores.
On Tuesday (May 23), a Target spokesman told NBC News the company had “offered a range of products to celebrate Pride Month” for more than a decade. But since the launch of this year’s collection, “we’re seeing threats affecting the safety and well-being of our team members at work.”
“Given these volatile circumstances,” the spokesperson added, “we are making adjustments to our plans, including the removal of elements that have been at the core of the most significant confrontational behavior.” Our focus now is to continue our commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community move forward and stand with her in celebrating Pride Month and throughout the year.”
After Target launched some of this year’s products for June’s Pride month — including rainbow tops, T-shirts that read “Trans People Will Always Exist,” and more — it reportedly began ricocheting at LGBTQ brand merchandise, offering articles themed to get Resistance “creepy, gothic imagery like skulls and Satan in pastel colors.” The AP reported that among the items conservatives outraged was a “tuck-in” bathing suit for women that allows adult trans women allows her genitals to be hidden.
A tweet showed a man throws a Pride ad down and stamped on it. Kelley Robinson, President of the Human Rights Campaign, responded to the latest culture war firestorm with a tweet with a somber warning: “Extremist groups want to divide us and ultimately not only want rainbow products gone, they want us gone.”
In April, transgender actor and activist Dylan Mulvaney responded to a Fox News report that Bud Light was sending one-off, unsellable commemorative tins to Mulvaney, spurring musicians Kid Rock, Travis Tritt and John Rich to renounce the popular concoction.
“I think it’s okay to be frustrated or confused about someone, but what I find difficult to understand is the need to dehumanize people and be cruel. I just don’t think that’s right. “Dehumanization has never in history fixed anything,” Mulvaney, 26, said in a video to her 13 million followers. After describing her childhood in a conservative family and in the church, Mulvaney said she still has faith but had found it difficult to hold on to it despite the attacks, which reminded her of the similar criticism she faced as a child because she’s “too feminine.”
“Now I’m called by the same names, but this time by different adults,” she said. “And if they want to accuse me of anything, it’s that I’m a theater person and a camper. But that’s just my personality and it’s always been like that.”
Check out Lil Nas’ tweet below poking fun at the outrage over Target’s Pride Month products.