Target is feeling the heat after angering conservatives with their supposedly “tuck-friendly” female swimsuit designs and Pride Month-themed merchandise. According to the retail behemoth, their workers have endured threats and “volatile circumstances” as a result. To add fuel to the fire, The Associated Press recently reported that stores have experienced “intense backlash from some customers including violent confrontations with its workers” - a claim the AP later amended after facing scrutiny for the lack of evidence supporting this allegation.
This incident has prompted a boycott effort from conservatives as the popular department store’s market capitalization has fallen since last week. Furthermore, California’s Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom used the AP article as evidence of a “systemic attack on the gay community happening across the country” bound to impact racial minority groups.
Katrina Trinko, the editor-in-chief of the Daily Signal, noted that the AP failed to provide specifics regarding the altercations. Consequently, the outlet quietly amended the story to say Target had “knocked down Pride displays at some stores, angrily approached workers, and posted threatening videos on social media from inside the stores.”
The Daily Signal editor demanded more evidence from Target to back up their claims, asking questions such as “what is a threatening video?” and “what constitutes angrily approaching a worker?”. The AP also did not update their article with an editor’s note and only responded to Trinko’s criticisms with a simple email claiming that “we were able to provide more specific examples of the incidents that took place” before amending their language without any further explanation.
In a Daily Signal article, Trinko suggested the retractions were made not as an effort to tell the truth objectively, but because "leftist activists know that having corporations side with them and promote leftist values is crucial to their long-term success.”
And as the controversy continues to brew and the lack of evidence mounts, analysts and commentators alike are questioning whether the “violent” conservative backlash against Target is anything more than conventional boycotting practices. For now, it appears that Target has failed to provide sufficient proof to its alleged claims of “volatile circumstances” and “confrontational behavior” and its success largely depends on how much substance it can now add to its story.