Walmart is continuing to provide LGBT products as part of Pride Month, the firm said on Wednesday amid a consumer backlash against multiple brands aligning with such ideologies.
“We haven’t changed anything in our assortment,” Latriece Watkins, Walmart’s chief merchandising officer, said on May 31, according to Reuters. Watkins’ statement comes following a backlash against Target after the retailer launched LGBT items, including some targeted at kids. In late May, Target announced that it was removing some of the controversial items and insisted there were “threats” facing the company’s team members. But things are different with Walmart, Watkins said.
“When we think about security … we have not done anything in particular differently related to security in our stores,” he added.
Walmart has been offering Pride products at thousands of its stores across the United States. The company has released T-shirts with slogans like “Gay AF,” “Woke Up Gay Again,” and “Some People Are Gay.” The retailer also has introduced onesies for infants with slogans like “I Love My 2 Moms” and “Proud Love.”
As part of its “Pride & Joy” collection, Walmart is offering LGBT-friendly trinkets and accessories like pins, flags, tote bags, and more.
A controversial product being offered by Walmart is a “breathable” chest binder aimed at “trans, lesbian, and tomboys.” The binder, offered online, features pictures of a young girl modeling the product.
Chest binders are used by girls to compress their breasts in order to create a masculine appearance.
“We’ve backed #Target into a corner for selling #Pride merch in the children’s section. Now we go for #Walmart. These woke companies need to know that enough is enough. Not ONE MORE [expletive] DAY. They’re NOT GETTING our kids,” journalist Breck Worsham said in a May 24 tweet.
Walmart’s LGBT Diversity Push
Walmart has an “inclusive sourcing” program for LGBT groups. Walmart’s supplier inclusion initiative offers companies, owned and operated by members of LGBT and other identities like ethnic and racial minorities, “the opportunity to work with us while growing their business,” according to Walmart’s July 2022 ESG report.
“For our U.S. businesses, we sourced more than $13.3 billion in goods and services from approximately 2,600 diverse suppliers.”
In 2021, Walmart donated $500,000 to PFLAG, the largest organization in the United States that advocates for LGBT and their families.
PFLAG was recently in the news after its President Tristan Coolman threatened to classify York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB) as “unsafe for the LGBTQ2IA+ community” in April. The threat came after the board held a meeting that included a delegation of parents who were against the YCDSB flying a pride flag.
Calling the meeting “deeply disturbing,” Coolman called the parent delegation who stood against the pride flag as “discriminatory and bigoted” while also criticizing the board for allowing them.
ESG principles make companies look beyond making market demand and profits, and focus on taking actions related to issues like climate change, racism, and sexual identity, among others. It is adopted by firms mainly to appease large investors like BlackRock that use these metrics to evaluate whether to invest or not.
In a Sept. 16 interview with EpochTV’s “Crossroads” program, Andy Puzder, a visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation, pointed out that while capitalism focuses on enhancing investor returns, ESG focuses on “accomplishing leftist political agenda.”
A group of “corporate elites” at financial firms such as BlackRock, State Street, and Vanguard—which together control more than $20 trillion worth of investments—are “imposing their will” on the managers of companies that they are invested in.
Retail Chain Boycotts
Companies promoting the LGBT agenda have increasingly come under criticism from conservatives, with brands like Bud Light, Target, Walmart, Chick-fil-A, and PetSmart facing boycott calls.
However, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) pointed out that boycott calls may not work well on all companies. During one of his recent podcasts, the Senator said that a brand like Bud Light isn’t a “hard boycott” since any individual can easily find an alternative beer brand.
But retail chains present a unique challenge. “Target? We’ll see how prolonged and easy a substitution it is,” he said.
“I will say Targets are located in a lot of areas and very convenient for a lot of shoppers. So we’ll see if this becomes a persistent consequence or not,” Cruz said, adding that in general, “conservatives have typically been not very good at boycotts.”
In addition to Walmart and Target, Kohl’s is another major retailer facing boycott calls. The company has come under scrutiny for selling LGBT-related items like onesies for infants and a rainbow-colored tutu for kids among others.