A transgender designer Erik Carnell saw a minor surge in sales after Target pulled his products due to a public backlash during Pride month.
Target's Pride collection was under attack
There have been over 2000 products included in this year's Pride collection in Target, including pins, prints, stickers, and T-shirts by Carnell's brand Abprallen. Due to the backlash, Abprallen items have been removed, though Target kept some of their other Pride merch in stores in June.
Carnell's message on Etsy
The designer left a message on his online store on Etsy, which said he had to stop taking orders for a short while due to a slight surge in sales. The designer wrote, "Your support during this extremely difficult time means more than I can express."
The page also describes Carnell's designs
Under "Accessories for the loud, proud, and colorful," Erik sales tote bags, including "too queer for here," a sweatshirt that read "cure transphobia, not trans people," or "we belong everywhere" fanny pack which used to be sold in Target.
The designer also spoke on his Instagram
On his Instagram page, the London-based designer wrote at the time, "I hope that none of Target's retail employees are the victims of further threats and that none of them come to any harm."
The backlash over the Abprallen products
Many Target customers criticized the brand for selling Abprallen products at all. Though they were not spotted in Target, some items from the brand include images of pentagrams and horned ram skulls, often associated with the occult and satanism.
People labeled the designer as "Satan-loving"
Erik, a gay, transgender man, shared on Instagram, "I am, believe it or not, not a Satanist." He explained that similar prints have been used in fashion for decades as they drew inspiration from art.
Prices of Abprallen products
In his Etsy shop, Erik's pin "Trans Healthcare Now" costs $10, while a pin "Satan Respects Pronouns" is a bit over $6. Sweaters are around $30, and tote bags are around $18, depending on the print.
Target workers faced threats
Target employees faced threats, so the company shared on its website that it was dedicated to celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community but withdrew some items over threats that were "impacting our team members' sense of safety and well-being" on the job.
The company only pulled certain products
The statement explained, "Given these volatile circumstances, we are making adjustments to our plans, including removing items that have been at the center of the most significant confrontational behavior."
People were throwing stuff
A video emerged on social media showing people throwing Pride displays to the floor in a Target store. Kelley Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign, tweeted, "Extremist groups want to divide us and ultimately don't just want rainbow products to disappear, they want us to disappear."
A decade-long friendship
Further, the tweet said, "The LGBTQ+ community has celebrated Pride with Target for the past decade. Target needs to stand with us and double down on their commitment to us."
Backing down would have backfired
Michael Edison Hayden, a senior investigative reporter, and spokesperson for the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization that deals with hate crimes, said, "If [Target is] going to wade in on this, and they're going to put support out there for the LGBTQ+ population, I think once they enter that fray, they have a responsibility to stand by that community. "
Edison Hayden concluded, "As soon as you back down like this, you send a message that intimidation works, and that makes it much scarier than if you had never started to begin with."