(USNewsMag.com) – Fifteen state attorneys general have written a letter to Target telling the retail giant to be “mindful of its obligations” to the LGBTQ community. The group of lawyers, led by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, implored the retail chain to “double down on inclusivity, reject hate in all its forms, and stand firm in the face of intimidation and discrimination.”
The letter’s signatories include California’s Rob Bonta, Aaron Ford of Nevada, Arizona AG Kristen Mayes, and Brian Schwalb of the District of Columbia.
The letter declares, “All our states have laws protecting against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in places of public accommodation like Target stores. While these laws certainly do not create a legal obligation for retailers to offer any particular merchandise or create any particular displays, they do demand that customers be treated equally.”
Retailer Target came under fire and faced a customer boycott when it began stocking highly controversial products in recognition of the annual LGBTQ celebration, Pride Month. Included was a women’s swimming costume with facilities to accommodate male genitalia. This prompted a backlash and Target said it moved this and other notable products away from the front of its stores to avoid confrontations between customers and staff. In May, the company’s executives held an emergency meeting in which it was decided to relocate the stock, particularly in its southern outlets.
The meeting, and the decision to move the controversial products from the frontline view, did not prevent the company’s profits from falling. Shares plunged by 25%, their worst showing since 1987. Profits for the first quarter of 2023 were down a staggering 52%. Other retailers also suffered due to consumer uncertainty, but Target was especially hard hit.
The gender identity issue has bruised several other major companies, including Nike and most notably Anheuser-Busch, the owner of Bud Light. After contracting with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney for an ad campaign, Bud Light sales dropped by 25%.
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