The Washington Post sounded the leftist alarm over the Target boycotts on Monday’s front page under the headline “Target is latest brand to be caught in culture wars.” When they put out all their “pride” merchandise, that’s not a “culture war,” objections to it start a “culture war.”
Reporters Jaclyn Peiser and Jacob Bogage describe the Target boycott as a dangerous threat from the “far right fringe” and turn to predictable leftist sources who make the entire conservative side of the debate seem violent and unhinged. A color photo shows seven cops standing outside a Target in Miami.
Retailers such as Kohl’s, Walmart and PetSmart have also felt backlash from the far right for stocking items that extol equal rights and acceptance for gay, lesbian and transgender individuals.
In Target’s case, though, it has pulled its Pride merchandise and promotional materials back from store windows in recent days after a string of threats and harassment against employees. The move then sparked multiple bomb threats, targeting stores in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Utah, from people claiming to be angry about the removal of merchandise.
“It’s not like any of this is all that unpredictable,” said Lindsay Schubiner, who studies violent movements for the Western States Center, an anti-extremism watchdog. “We don’t always know exactly where these sort of anti-democracy actors are going to point to next, but the increase in threats and harassment from anti-democracy movements in the U.S. has become so frequent that this is something that absolutely just needs to be planned for.”
Even bomb threats from the left don’t change the focus on the right-wingers.
According to experts on extremism, recent boycotts — and the threats and harassment that have extended from them — are part of a diffused but focused campaign that’s inflamed by influential conservatives exploiting TikTok and right-wing media.https://t.co/7ShlBkUYtW
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) June 4, 2023
Then we’re told at a Target in south Florida, shoppers called employees “child groomers,” which is “a far-right slang term for pedophiles.” A Target manager claimed when he put a safety vest over his company-issued Pride shirt, a shopper said “Oh, is that so I can shoot you easier?” This, the Post implied, is who the conservative protesters of Target are.
Kohl’s and Walmart have “also gotten heat from the far-right fringe,” the Post reported, and then turned to GLAAD boss Sarah Kate Ellis to hit the “extremism” word like she reliable does:
Sarah Kate Ellis, president and chief executive of LGBTQ media advocacy group GLAAD, sees a great risk if companies back down in the face of growing attacks on the LGBTQ+ community and stores come under threats of violence.
“As soon as you cede ground to extremists, you give them more permission,” she said.
According to experts on extremism, the boycotts — and the threats and harassment that have extended from them — are part of a diffused but focused campaign that’s inflamed by influential conservatives exploiting TikTok and right-wing media.
One of those is Matt Walsh, an anti-LGBTQ commentator for the right-wing Daily Wire, who tweeted in April that conservatives should “pick a victim, gang up on it, and make an example of it.”
That’s the only time a conservative is quoted, while Schubiner kept warning “Bigoted and anti-democracy groups try a bunch of different things to see what will stick.”
So a grass-roots consumer boycott is “anti-democracy.” A concerned parent is an “extremist.” But the Satanist designer that Target hired to design merchandise isn’t even mentioned.