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Target Shuns Christian Shoppers, Hires Gay Pride Strategist

Although Target faced Pride Month merchandise boycotts, a lawsuit and a 10% decline in its stock following this year’s controversial collection, the retailer appears to be doubling down on its commitment to this market.

Target has promoted Erik Thompson to Senior LGBTQIA+ Strategist and Pride Lead, according to a @LibsofTikTok post on X and Thompson’s LinkedIn profile.

In his new role overseeing Target’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, intersex, and asexual marketing, Thompson says he plans to “flip the script and rewrite the narrative of CPG [consumer packaged goods] retail industries to better serve all segments and thoughtfully & authentically cater to *ALL guests, ALL humans & ALL hearts* who enter our stores and across the nation.”

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Thompson has been with Target since 2016 and was previously a buyer for four years in its beauty and cosmetics division. Before that, he was an associate buyer between 2016 and 2019 of men’s sportswear.

In the spring, Target moved to appease conservative groups that expressed outrage over Target’s 2023 Pride Month collection to include “tuck friendly” bathing suits for boys, by removing some of the items.

In May, the retailer’s stock (TGT) was down 10% from its March 17 top, while CEO Brian Cornell hailed DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) as having been a boon to business.

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That was followed by a lawsuit, when a conservative legal organization sued Target on behalf of shareholder Brian Craig. The suit, filed in Florida federal court in August, claims the retailer misrepresented the adequacy of its risk monitoring when customer backlash over LGBTQ-themed merchandise caught it by surprise.

An inquiry to Target to confirm Thompson’s new position had not been answered at press time.

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