(OPINION) A University of Michigan professor referred to boycotts and threats against big-box retailer Target as a form of literal terrorism in a recent interview on MSNBC, according to TheBlaze.

Target recently dropped a whopping $9 billion in market value due to the retailer’s rollout of its highly questionable LGBTQ Pride collection. It took just a week for the brand’s value to drop 12% after it was revealed that the stores sold LGBTQ-themed onesies for babies, children’s books advocating for drag queen shows, and “tuck-friendly” bathing suits.

A Target spokesperson said that threats had been made impacting “team members’ sense of safety and wellbeing while at work,” and the company subsequently decided to remove “items that have been at the center of the most significant confrontational behavior.”


“Obviously any incident that would put employees at risk is something that any company would wisely take seriously,” Target spokesperson Kelly O’Keefe commented. “This is a reflection of an unfortunate moment in our history, when one has to assume serious risk might be real.”

The decision to pull the products from some stores in the South comes just days before the beginning of Pride month in June. It also comes after recent calls from conservatives to boycott the beer brand Bud Light for its partnership with transgender influencer and activist Dylan Mulvaney. A Target spokesperson told Insider on Thursday that removing the Pride-products was a response to “threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and wellbeing.”

Justin Wolfers, a professor of Public Policy and Economics at the University of Michigan, said on The 11th Hour on MSNBC that he finds the response from Target “quite scary.”

“One of two things is true. It could be they are cowards and they use that as protection and a smokescreen so they could make a cowardly decision, or it could be that they are actually genuinely concerned about the well-being of their employees and they have had credible threats,” Wolfers explained on Thursday.

He continued: “If that is the case, when Target caves into this, then it says that the moment you threaten the employees of even a very large corporation, you get to control its policies. This is economic terrorism, literally terrorism, creating fear among the workers and forcing the corporations to sell the things you want, not sell the things you don’t.”

Target CEO Brian Cornell recently sent a letter to employees, obtained by Insider, saying, “To our team in Stores: thank you for steadfastly representing our values. No one is better at working through uncomfortable situations in service to an inclusive guest experience. What you’ve seen in recent days went well beyond discomfort, and it has been gut-wrenching to see what you’ve confronted in our aisles.”


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