BY Carson Choate, The Western JournalJune 25, 2023
1 year ago
 | June 25, 2023
1 year ago

State AGs Send Chilling Note to Target CEO Exposing Their True Priorities

Responding to growing protests against Target stores, a coalition of 15 Democrat attorneys general have sent a letter urging Target CEO Brian Cornell to restore their support to the LGBT community and to take legal action against those making "anti-LGBTQIA+ threats."

Protests against the retail giant began last month after social media users discovered the company was selling "tuck friendly" bathing suits for transgender individuals, Pride-themed apparel for teens, children, and infants, and for their connection to an allegedly Satanic brand.

Consumers who opposed these products moved to boycott Target, causing the company to suffer significant financial losses.

Target responded by removing several of the controversial items, saying in a statement that the move was made to ensure the safety of employees.

However, by attempting to resolve the conflict with conservative protesters, Target only drew backlash from the LGBT community.

According to The Washington Post, "Several bomb threats soon followed, targeting stores in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Utah, from people claiming to be angry about the removal of merchandise."

Some of the threats, sent to local news stations in New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont, "accused Target of betraying the LGBTQ+ community," the Post reported.

“You have betrayed the LGBTQ+ community. You are pathetic cowards who bowed to the wishes of far right extremists who want to exterminate us,” read one emailed threat, according to KLFY. “We will not tolerate intolerance nor indifference. If you are not with us then you are against us. That is why we placed a bomb in each of your locations, evacuate now as this is only to cause economic damage.”

Another threat, emailed to KFOR, listed 7 Target locations and alleged that a bomb had been placed in two of the stores.

“We are going to play a game … 2 of these Target locations have bombs in them. We hid the bombs inside some product items. The bombs will detonate in several hours, guess which ones have the bombs. Time is ticking. 4/19/1995,” the threat read, citing the 1995 Oklahoma City domestic terrorist attack.

So far, none of the bomb threats have turned out to be credible.

The coalition of the state attorneys general noted the threats in their June 16 letter but blamed it wholly on "anti-LGBTQIA+" individuals, and made no mention of the threats from LGBT individuals.

Instead, they began their letter by pointing out their "resolute and unequivocal support for the LGBTQIA+ community" and condemned the "intimidation and destruction of certain Pride-related merchandise."

The letter urged Target to consider taking legal action against the "bullies" they accused of harassing LGBT customers, and offered to aid them if they choose to prosecute such individuals.

"As we see it, Target has been the victim of potentially criminal acts, in response to which we encourage you to reach out to responsible authorities. We stand ready to help address anti-LGBTQIA+ threats and harassment in Target stores," they wrote.

They also condemned states who have enacted laws "barring public schools from discussing LGBTQIA+ identity, limiting gender-affirming care, prohibiting transgender individuals from using bathrooms or playing on sports teams aligned with their gender identity, and restricting drag performances."

"Against this backdrop, Pride merchandise like Target’s helps LGBTQIA+ people see that they enjoy considerable support and that loud and intimidating fringe voices and bullies do not represent the views of society at large," the letter read.

"Our states have many resources to support Target’s efforts to protect its staff and customers in the face of hate-based intimidation, harassment, threats, or attacks," the letter continued. "Many states also have other tools at their disposal to combat anti-LGBTQIA+ harassment."

The letter would go on to remind Target of state laws which allow for the prosecution of those seeking to prevent the sale of LGBT products.

"The Massachusetts Civil Rights Act empowers the Commonwealth to seek injunctive relief against anyone who interferes with others’ constitutional and statutory rights by means of threats, intimidation, or coercion," they noted.

Additionally, "The Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) ... prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity."

This law, they said, protects stores like Target who provide goods and services to the LGBT community, and allows for the prosecution of any person who "intentionally [obstructs] or [prevents] any person from complying with the Act."

"If Target again finds itself facing anti-LGBTQIA+ harassment—whether of customers or employees—store management or the corporate office are encouraged to reach out to our offices. We are ready, willing, and able to work with you in the spirit of progress, inclusivity, and equality," they wrote.

The letter was signed by attorneys general representing Massachusetts, Minnesota, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Written by: Carson Choate, The Western Journal



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