Target Hires Transgender Artist for Pride Collection, Sparks Controversy
Target’s decision to hire Erik Carnell, a selfsatanic imagery before ‘Pride’ collection deal.”>-identified transgender artist who runs the company Abprallen, to design a “Pride Month” collection has sparked controversy. Conservatives launched a boycott effort against Target after it was revealed that Carnell’s designs included Satanic imagery, such as a shirt with the phrase “Satan Respects Pronouns” and an image of a skeleton draped in rainbow colors that said “Trans Witches For Abortion.”
Carnell asserted that Target was aware of the controversial designs before the deal was official, but declined to sell them. Target solicited three designs from Abprallen: a mini messenger bag with the slogan “We Belong Everywhere,” a tote bag with the phrase “Too Queer For Here,” and a sweatshirt emblazoned with “Cure Transphobia, Not Trans People.”
Designer Defends Satanic Imagery
Carnell defended the use of Satanic imagery, stating that it is as harmless as any horror movie targeted towards adults. The artist also contended that the “religious right” manipulated the narrative to make it seem like the Satanic designs were meant for children. “Trans people do not want to make your cis children trans, we want your trans children to survive,” Carnell said.
The controversial move to hire Abprallen for the designs came one year after Target boasted in a corporate sustainability report that the company would source 59% of items for “Pride Month” from “LGBTQIA+ creators and brands.” Target has worked to strengthen ties with the National Minority Supplier Development Council and the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
Backlash and Boycotts
Target’s decision to hire Carnell and promote a female swimsuit marketed as “tuck-friendly” and with “extra crotch coverage” for men who identify as women has generated backlash and boycotts. The firm’s market capitalization has fallen from $70.4 billion to $64.2 billion over the past week as consumers react strongly to the various controversies.
Designer Encourages Activism
Carnell encouraged activists to devote their energies toward bars, clubs, queer cafes, and “your school’s GSA,” a reference to the Gay-Straight Alliance clubs present in many schools. “This is a far, far better use of your time and energy than directing it towards retail conglomerates,” the designer said.
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