Kohl’s Faces Backlash Over Pride Collection Following Similar Reactions at Target, Adidas and The North Face

Kohl’s is one of the latest retailers to face backlash for its Pride Month collection.

People have taken to Twitter to call out the retailer for selling LGBTQIA+ Pride Month clothes and products, including for children, with some calling for consumers to boycott the store entirely.

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According to its website, Kohl’s is “committed to amplifying and affirming the voices of the LGBTQIA+ community, celebrating the joy that comes from living authentically and unapologetically not just this month, but all year long.” The Kohl’s Pride collection includes products from gender neutral and inclusive fashion brands like Phluid and TomboyX.

The backlash to Kohl’s comes amid a string of similar reactions as retailers across the U.S. introduce collections for 2023 Pride Month, which begins June 1. Just last week, Target said it altered its Pride 2023 collection displays and availability following backlash.

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

Target added that customers in some stores had knocked down Pride 2023 displays, directing anger at employees and posting threatening videos on social media while in-store.

According to The New York Post, Target had lost $10 billion in market valuation over 10 days as of Sunday amid the Pride Collection controversy, though it is not clear if the backlash alone was entirely responsible for the plunge.

FN has reached out to Target and Kohl’s for a comment.

The North Face also recently received backlash for a Pride ad that featured Pattie Gonia, a drag queen, announcing the brand’s “Summer of Pride” collection.

In a statement, The North Face stood by its Pride campaign and said it believes in “creating community and belonging in the outdoors.”

“We are honored and grateful to support partners like Pattie Gonia who help make this vision a reality,” the brand said. “The Summer of Pride series, now in its second year, has helped foster a more accessible and welcoming environment for individuals from all backgrounds to gather and experience the joy of the outdoors.”

This month, Adidas was slammed for a recent Pride ad campaign that featured LGBTQ+ models. Social media users called out the sportswear brand for advertising a women’s swimsuit being worn by what people have assumed to be a biological male. The ad was part of Adidas’ Pride 2023 collaboration with South African queer designer Rich Mnisi.

In a statement, Adidas said the collection is meant to “celebrate freedom of self-expression in all spaces of sport and culture.”

“This is reflected in a diverse line of models who bring the spirit of this collection to life,” the company added. “As one of the first brands to work in collaboration with LGBTQIA+ communities and as we’ve been doing for a number of years now, Adidas supports Pride and the celebration of many diverse communities around the world.”

Nike recently faced similar backlash when it partnered with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney in a marketing campaign for Nike women. Bud Light partnered with Mulvaney on a campaign and faced backlash as well.

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