Gay dads from West Palm Beach, Florida, were outraged after Target refused to sell them a Pride-themed onesie that was on display in the Pride section of the mega-retailer.
The couple, Michael Hoffacker and Michael Roedel went to the store off Northlake Boulevard in Lake Park on Saturday morning to buy baby formula, diapers, and clothes for their 10-month-old son.
When they began scanning the items to purchase at the self-checkout counter, the Pride onesie that reportedly had a tag and bar code attached to it triggered an alert on the screen informing them that a Target employee was on the way.
"A Target team member walked over and she let us know that that item should have been pulled from the shelves and it had a ‘Do Not Sell’ on it and they would not be able to sell us the item."
You can watch the news clip here:
Gay couple denied purchase of displayed Pride onesie at Target in Lake Parkyoutu.be
"I was confident that with the fact that it was there that we would be able to actually purchase it and that I would actually be able to talk one of the managers into selling it to us."
“We said that that was unreasonable. (The manager) told us if she were to sell us the item, she would probably lose her job."
The manager told them the only other option was to call Target's 800 number.
But when the couple called, a representative on the line informed them nothing could be done.
On May 24, Target was forced to relocate the merchandise celebrating the Pride month of June to the back of the store after anti-LGBTQ+ conservative shoppers expressed outrage and threatened to boycott the company.
They argued the baby clothes with rainbows and hearts were grooming children and indoctrinating them with the gay agenda.
In response to the homophobic backlash, Target issued a statement caving to right-wingers.
The move made many LGBTQ+ shoppers think it was cowardly decision.
The statement read:
"For more than a decade, Target has offered an assortment of products aimed at celebrating Pride Month."
"Since introducing this year's collection, we've experienced threats impacting our team members' sense of safety and well-being while at work."
"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."
"Our focus now is on moving forward with our continuing commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community and standing with them as we celebrate Pride Month and throughout the year."
Twitter was concerned about Target missing the mark.
Hoffacker and Roedel were furious over how they were treated at the store.
"It was a pretty painful and emotional moment," said Hoffacker.
"I’ve never actually felt restricted from my rights as a gay man through being in college to when I came out until now, I mean this was one of the moments when I felt like I didn’t have the rights that I deserved to have."
"It was very uncomfortable."
Roedel called out Target and said the company was wrong in how they handled the situation.
“Infuriating," he said.
"That says it all. Infuriating... Target, in this moment, is wrong."
“They need to be better and they need to be a better ally in this community."
"Especially in a situation where our family is there, trying to celebrate who we are in a very, very historic and proud, prideful June, and we’re there having a team lead, a manager at Target, tell us we can’t buy a product to actually celebrate our community.”
"Target needs to do better because we are as big of a community as anybody else out there with a right to shop in their stores, and when they take merchandise away from us in this way it’s hurtful and it’s infuriating and it makes us feel less than."
"And, that’s just not OK from a brand we supported for so long."
The couple sent a letter to the Target CEO, board of directors, and other leadership, demanding the retailer reverse its decision to minimize its Pride displays and merchandise.
Hoffacker said Target refusing to sell them the onesie on display "negatively impacted my family, my identity, my dignity.”
“Target claims to be an ally to the LGBTQ community, or so I was told by your Executive Team Lead during our exchange."
"However, Allyship requires standing strong for those who are marginalized when it matters most."
"Target failed, and continues to fail, to do so in this moment."
"Instead, Target has allowed itself to be bullied by a small, vocal minority using a tried-and-true playbook to threaten violence and fear against viewpoints they disagree with."
"This impacts us all. What will you do when they come for other minorities next? Pull their merchandise, as well?”
“You have a chance to reverse this hurtful decision at the beginning of Pride month."
“Until I see your company living the mission and values you proclaim to embody, you’ve lost a very loyal customer, my family and countless others I will be sharing this story with."
"Do better, Target.”