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Aim to remove some LGBTQ items after customer backlash

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NEW YORK, May 23 (Reuters) – (This May 23 story has been corrected to correct the spelling of Carnell’s first name to Erik, from Eric, in episode 8)

Target, which launched its Pride Collection at the start of May, is pulling some products from its stores after facing customer backlash and said it was acting to protect employee safety, the company told Reuters on Tuesday.

Target Corp ( TGT.N ) offers more than 2,000 products, including clothing, books, music and home furnishings as part of its Pride Collection. Items include “gender fluid” mugs, “queer all year round” calendars and books for children ages 2-8 titled “Bye Bye, Binary,” “Pride 1,2,3” and “I’m not a girl. “

“Since introducing this year’s collection, we have experienced threats that affect our team members’ sense of safety and well-being while at work,” Target said in a statement.

“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,” the Minneapolis-based retailer said.

Target has been celebrating Pride Month for more than a decade. But this year’s fundraiser has led to an increase in confrontations between customers and employees and incidents of Pride merchandise being thrown on the floor, Target spokeswoman Kayla Castaneda said.

Target’s action comes on the heels of a conservative backlash against Bud Light after brewer Anheuser-Busch promoted the beer on social media last month with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

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

While various Pride Collection products are under review, the only ones now being removed are LGBTQ brand Abprallen, which has come under scrutiny for its association with British designer Erik Carnell.

Carnell has faced social media backlash for designing merchandise featuring images of pentagrams, horned skulls and other Satanic products.

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

Screenshots and posts on social media shows that Target previously sold a $25 slogan sweater with the words “cure transphobia not trans people” and an $18 “too queer for here” tote bag.

Target is also reviewing certain transgender swimwear and children’s items, Castaneda said, but no decision has yet been made on those products.

For example, a swimsuit sold in the women’s section has come under scrutiny for the way its fit was described as “tuck friendly,” highlighting its ability to allegedly tuck in male genitalia.

A Fox News report earlier Tuesday said some Target stores in southern states were moving Pride-related merchandise away from the front of the stores. An employee at a Target store in Arkansas told Reuters they had moved Pride-related swimsuits deeper into the store.

“We had swimwear in the front… but now they’re in a random area in the back now,” said the employee, who did not want to be named. “We started moving the goods on Sunday.”

Reporting by Siddharth Cavale in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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