Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary said Target’s marketing decision to launch its Pride collection was a ‘huge mistake’ as the retail giant dropped $10 billion in market value in the span of 10 days.
O’Leary said companies like Target and Bud Light – ‘cannot be partisan in any way’ when selling consumer goods and services. Bud Light’s sales have plummeted since April after teaming up with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney.
Target and Anheuser-Busch have lost around a combined $28 billion in market value as of Friday, FOX Business reported.
Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary said Target’s marketing decision to launch its Pride collection was a ‘huge mistake’ as the retail giant dropped $10 billion in market value in the span of 10 days
Prior to the controversy, Target shares were trading at $160.96, giving the retailer a market valuation of roughly $74.3billion. By the time The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) closed Friday, the blue-chip stock was trading at $138.93 – marking a loss of $10.1billion
O’Leary first pointed to Bud Light, which has continued to grapple with the backlash from its marketing decision to team up with a transgender activist.
‘When Bud happened, I can’t believe that boards didn’t wake up to that decimation market cap… Budweiser was the American beer,’ he said. ‘It took decades to build that brand and they blew it up in 30 hours.’
He added that there’s a reason why big companies do not take a stance on a controversial issue.
‘Let me give you an example,’ O’Leary said told Fox News. ‘Do you ever hear a CEO that represents a company ever talking about abortion? Never. Because that is an issue that will never be resolved. It’s a personal issue, it’s a family issue, it’s a religious issue.
It’s partisan forever. You don’t touch it. Same thing with politics, same thing with gender identity. Everybody has a personal opinion about it. When you actually get involved in a fight like that, you lose 50 percent of your constituency.’
O’Leary blamed social media for being what he described as a ‘giant polling system’ and that ‘when something goes viral, it can be a good thing, but mostly it’s negative, and it’s decimated these brands very quickly.’
O’Leary said companies like Target and Bud Light – ‘cannot be partisan in any way’ when selling consumer goods and services
The latest merchandising controversy come as an increasing amount of moderate-minded shoppers have taken issue with Target’s new ‘Pride Collection’, particularly with items in its children’s section
Outraged over LGBTQ-friendly slogans such as ‘Trans People Will Always Exist!’, ‘gay’, and ‘Live Laugh Lesbian’, they have accused the retailer of grooming
‘Fixer Upper’ stars Chip and Joanna Gaines, who have a home and kitchen line with Target, have received some backlash for not speaking out on the controversy, but O’Leary warned them to ‘stay out of it.’
He said the couple ‘can’t win’ by getting involved in this fight and predicted their sales would drop 30 percent if they did.
‘That’s what would happen,’ he added. ‘They’d eventually not have the margins that they need to stay on the shelf, they’d get kicked out. You stay out of it.’
The latest merchandising controversy come as an increasing amount of moderate-minded shoppers have taken issue with Target’s new ‘Pride Collection’, particularly with items in its children’s section.
Outraged over LGBTQ-friendly slogans such as ‘Trans People Will Always Exist!’, ‘gay’, and ‘Live Laugh Lesbian’, they have accused the retailer of grooming – as several staffers in more rural areas such as the South have reportedly sought to hide and tone down these new sections in apparent shame.
The retail giant also sparked backlash after releasing a new line of clothing to celebrate Pride month in June, which includes a label advertising ‘tuck-friendly construction’ and ‘extra crotch’ coverage. The design is made to help conceal a person’s private parts.
Criticisms were also levied against the company after it was believed the ‘tuck friendly’ clothing was also for children, however a spokesman for the company told the Associated Press the swimsuits are only offered in adult sizes.
The swimsuits, which appear in sections set up for Pride month in June, include a label which advertises the ‘tuck-friendly construction’ and ‘extra crotch’ coverage. The design is made to help conceal a person’s private parts
The ‘tuck-friendly’ swimsuit is sold online for $40 in the adults section. Target has been asked to clarify claims the item is also available for children
Staffers at Target HQ reportedly held an ’emergency’ meeting last week to avoid what a Target insider told Fox brass had colloquially labeled a ‘Bud Light situation.’
An insider divulged the company made the emergency decision at the last minute, in direct response to threats staff had received in recent weeks over the new displays.
In a statement last week, Target – led by CEO Brian Cornell – announced the company had pulled some items it had received complains about, specifying that have ‘been at the center of the most confrontational behavior.’
‘Since introducing this year’s collection, we’ve experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and wellbeing while at work,’ the firm said in its statement.
‘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.’
The company did not specify which items had been taken off-shelves. As of Sunday, many of the swimsuits, onesies and t-shirts that sparked outrage remain available online.
It was after a series of angry mothers took to Twitter and TikTok to complain. Over the last few weeks, the retail giant has been reviled by families – particularly mothers – for putting transgender clothes, books and greeting cards in its stores
Target has supported Pride – celebrated throughout the month of June – every year since 2013, with this year’s collection only the latest to prove polarizing.
In 2014, Target publicly endorsed marriage equality, and the following year announced it was ending their policy of dividing certain products, like toys, by gender.
Target also introduced a gender neutral line for children, and in April 2016 – amid a nationwide discussion about bathroom access – announced that transgender people were free to use whichever bathroom they chose.
A backlash ensued, and Target in August 2016 spent $20 million to add a private bathroom to each of its stores.