- Erik Carnell is a transgender British designer who says Target and Bud Light have exposed the dangers of ‘rainbow capitalism’ ahead of Pride month
- He said: ‘If you’re going to take a stance and say that you care about the LGBT community, you need to stand by that regardless’
- Target has sold Pride month goods for years but removed Carnell’s products, citing an increase in confrontations between customers and employees
PUBLISHED: 16:21 EDT, 31 May 2023 | UPDATED: 17:29 EDT, 31 May 2023
A Satan-loving trans designer behind Target’s boycotted Pride clothing campaign says the retailer and Bud Light are examples of ‘rainbow capitalism.’
Erik Carnell, a British designer whose slogans include ‘Satan loves pronouns,’ had his products pulled from Target after the retail giant faced a consumer boycott over its Pride Month collection.
The collection featured transgender swimsuits, books called ‘bye bye binary’ and a handful of items made by the British designer.
Target has sold LGBTQ-related goods tied to Pride month for years, but last week the big-box chain removed Carnell’s products, citing an increase in confrontations between customers and employees.
The backlash comes amid a broader wave of anti-woke boycotts against brands after Bud Light’s disastrous marketing decision to promote its beer with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
Carnell said his designs – which are printed on pins, stickers and T-shirts – have been labeled ‘Satanic’ – but were not those being sold in Target as part of Pride month.
Companies like Target that launch products and campaigns for Pride Month seek to profit from LGBTQ people but fail to stand by them when challenges arise, Carnell said.
‘It’s a very dangerous precedent to set, that if people just get riled up enough about the products that you’re selling, you can completely distance yourself from the LGBT community, when and if it’s convenient,’ said Carnell.
‘If you’re going to take a stance and say that you care about the LGBT community, you need to stand by that regardless.’
Target’s decision to remove some Pride products came weeks after brewer Anheuser-Busch’s partnership with transgender triggered a huge boycott.
Since then Bud Light’s sales have plunged as much as 30 percent and parent firm ABInBev’s shares have been sent sliding.
Target has seen more than $12billion wiped off its value in the last 14 days since it launched the Pride campaign.
The collection for Pride Month, which is celebrated every year in June, includes more than 2,000 products, including Carnell’s Abprallen brand.
His brand’s products are the only ones so far that have been removed both in-store and online, he said.
Carnell said he has received hate messages and death threats over the past week, adding that he has had no contact from Target – who are yet to comment on the matter.
In a May 24 memo to Target employees, obtained by Business Insider, Target CEO Brian Cornell said ‘one of the hardest parts’ of its move to pull the merchandise was figuring out how that would impact the ‘wellbeing and psychological safety’ of the LGBTQ community.
‘We stand with you now and will continue to do so – not just during Pride Month, but each and every day,’ he said.
The designer Carnell said Etsy, an online marketplace where Abprallen has a store, got in touch to check on him, and that Threadless, which prints his designs, offered him its premium services for free.
Target unveiled its Pride Month collection at the start of May, fresh on the heels of the Bud Light Dylan Mulvaney controversy.
Bud Light sales plummeted to 25.7 percent from the week ending May 20 as the same week a year ago, while nearest rival Model Especial saw sales jump 9.2 percent, according to data from Bump Williams Consulting cited by the New York Post.
The drop could see the company risk losing its title as the top-selling US beer, after sales of the beer posted their biggest decline from the prior year since the brand’s controversial partnership with Mulvaney.
Target’s share prices continued to drop for an eighth-straight day Tuesday as the retailer faces its biggest losing streak in five years.
Other items that are for sale on the Abpralle Etsy store are more sinister. Stickers and badges which denigrate ‘cis feelings’ – the feelings of non transgender people – and Fox News are among them.
He also models the ‘Satan respects pronouns’ t-shirt on an Instagram page while wearing BDSM-style horns and no pants.
In a bio on the brand’s website, he says he has always been fascinated with the ‘frightening and mystical’.
‘I juxtapose it with imagery of skulls and spooky things – an interest of mine since I was a child. There’s something magical about the unknown, the frightening, and the mystical which is why I so frequently feature these themes in my art,’ he says.
In a description on his Etsy store, he goes on: ‘Satan loves you and respects who you are. You’re important and valuable in this world and you deserve to treat yourself with love and respect.’