A move to remove LGBTQ ads following customer backlash by Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Target store sign is seen in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois, February 10, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young

By Siddharth Cavale

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Target, which released the Pride Collection in early May, is pulling some products from its stores after a customer backlash, saying it was doing so to protect worker safety, the company told Reuters on Tuesday.

Objectives Corp (NYSE: ) offers more than 2,000 products, including clothing, books, music and home accessories as part of the Pride Collection. These items include “gender fluid” mugs, “queer year round” calendars and children’s books for ages 2-8 called “Bye Bye, Binary,” “Pride 1,2,3” and “I’m Not a Girl.”

“Since we launched the collection this year, we have been confronted with threats that affect the safety and health of our members while working,” Target said in a statement.

“In light of this volatility, we are adjusting our plans, including removing items that have been at the center of major controversy,” the Minneapolis-based retailer said.

Target has been celebrating Pride Month for more than a decade. But this year’s collection has led to increased friction between customers and employees and Pride products that have been thrown on the floor, Target spokeswoman Kayla Castaneda said.

Target’s actions come on the heels of a fight against Bud Light, after lender Anheuser-Busch promoted the beer on social media last month with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

The items Target is removing are being removed from all of its U.S. stores and from its website, Castaneda said.

While various items from the Pride Collection are under review, the only one being removed now is LGBTQ brand Abprallen, which has been under scrutiny for its collaboration with British artist Eric Carnell.

Carnell has come under fire on social media for creating ads featuring images of pentagrams, horned skulls and other satanic items.

A search for Abprallen products on Target.com on Tuesday returned “0” results.

Images and posts on social media show that Target has already sold a $25 slogan with the words “treat transphobia not trans people” and an $18 “toughest here” bag.

Target is reviewing additional transgender swimwear and children’s items, Castaneda said, but no decision has been made on what has been made.

For example, a swimsuit sold in the women’s section was scrutinized because of how its fit was described, as “tuck friendly,” which emphasized its ability to wrap around the male genitalia.

A Fox News report earlier Tuesday said some Target stores in the South are moving Pride-related items away from stores. An employee at a Target store in Arkansas told Reuters that she had swapped Pride-related swimwear in the store.

“We used to have swimwear in the front….but now it’s in a random place in the back,” said the worker, who did not want to be named. “We started moving the business on Sunday.”

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