Vivek Ramaswamy says Target has spat on conservatives

Target’s market cap has fallen by more than $8 billion in the past week as investors weigh the impact of the conservative reaction to the retailer’s LGBT collection for Pride Month.

On May 17, before the controversy erupted, Target stock closed at $160.96, giving the retailer a market valuation of around $74.3 billion.

On Wednesday the stock closed at $143.10, down 11.1 percent from the previous week, with a market cap of $66.1 billion, down $8.2 billion from the previous week. The stock fell a further 2 percent in early trading on Thursday and is sitting near a 52-week low.

Meanwhile, presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy has criticized Target over the retailer’s LGBT collections, saying products such as trans-friendly swimwear “spit in the face” of conservative customers.

“Targets just puts a target on its back from its consumer base,” Ramaswamy, the presumptive GOP presidential candidate, said in an interview with Fox News Digital on Wednesday.

Target's market cap has fallen by more than $8 billion in the past week as investors weigh the impact of the conservative backlash against the retailer's LGBT collection

Target's market cap has fallen by more than $8 billion in the past week as investors weigh the impact of the conservative backlash against the retailer's LGBT collection

Target’s market cap has fallen by more than $8 billion in the past week as investors weigh the impact of the conservative backlash against the retailer’s LGBT collection

Meanwhile, presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy blasted Target over the retailer's LGBT collections, saying products 'spit in the face' of conservative customers

Meanwhile, presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy blasted Target over the retailer's LGBT collections, saying products 'spit in the face' of conservative customers

Meanwhile, presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy blasted Target over the retailer’s LGBT collections, saying products ‘spit in the face’ of conservative customers

“Just ask Budweiser how it went for them,” he added, referring to a similar controversy over Bud Light’s marketing partnership with a transgender influencer in April.

This week, Target removed certain Pride Collection products from its stores after facing customer backlash, saying the move was in place to protect employee safety.

“If a company makes a conscious business decision to alienate a large portion of its customer base, then it’s totally fair game for its customers to respond,” said Ramaswamy.

“It’s not a boycott, it’s just a response to a company choosing to spit in its face,” he continued. “I have no doubt that many companies consider relapse to be a nifty short-term trick.”

Target did not immediately respond to a request for comment from DailyMail.com on Thursday morning.

Target says it has offered an LGBT-themed collection for Pride Month, which falls in June, for more than a decade.

This year it includes more than 2,000 products, including clothing, books, music and home furnishings. But one item that has drawn the ire of certain conservatives is the women’s ‘tuck friendly’ swimwear designed to accommodate the biologically male genitalia.

One item that has drawn the ire of certain conservatives is the women's 'tuck friendly' swimwear designed to accommodate the biologically male genitalia

One item that has drawn the ire of certain conservatives is the women's 'tuck friendly' swimwear designed to accommodate the biologically male genitalia

One item that has drawn the ire of certain conservatives is the women’s ‘tuck friendly’ swimwear designed to accommodate the biologically male genitalia

CEO Brian Cornell's targets are seen above.  This week, Target removed certain Pride Collection products from its stores after facing customer backlash

CEO Brian Cornell's targets are seen above.  This week, Target removed certain Pride Collection products from its stores after facing customer backlash

CEO Brian Cornell’s targets are seen above. This week, Target removed certain Pride Collection products from its stores after facing customer backlash

Other items in the collection include a ‘gender fluid’ mug, a ‘queer all year’ calendar and books for children ages 2-8 entitled ‘Bye Bye, Binary’, ‘Pride 1,2,3’ and ‘I’m not a girl’ .’

“Since introducing this year’s collection, we have experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of security and wellbeing at work,” Target said in a statement on Wednesday in response to the backlash.

“Given these volatile circumstances, we are making adjustments to our plans, including removing items that are the most significant hubs of confrontational behavior,” the Minneapolis-based retailer said.

The products Target is recalling are being removed from all of its US stores and from its website, a spokesperson said.

While various Pride Collection products are under review, the only one now being phased out is the LGBTQ brand Abprallen, which has come under scrutiny for its relationship with British designer Erik Carnell.

Carnell faced social media backlash for designing merchandise featuring pentagrams, horned skulls and other satanic-themed products.

Target has moved its Pride Month displays to the back of the store in certain Southern locations, in response to online complaints and in-store confrontations it says threaten employees.

But now, Target is facing a second backlash from pro-LGBT customers who are disappointed by the retailer’s reaction to the conservative protests, and say the company should have stood up to the criticism.

Civil rights groups accused Target of caving in to rabid anti-LGBT customers who turned the displays upside down and expressed outrage over the gender non-conforming swimwear.

“Targets must return products to shelves and ensure their Pride displays are visible on the floor, not shoved into the proverbial cupboard,” Human Rights Campaign president Kelley Robinson said in a statement. “That’s what bullies want.”

Target has moved Pride Month displays to the back of stores in select Southern locations, in response to online complaints and in-store confrontations

Target has moved Pride Month displays to the back of stores in select Southern locations, in response to online complaints and in-store confrontations

Target has moved Pride Month displays to the back of stores in select Southern locations, in response to online complaints and in-store confrontations

The uproar over Target’s Pride Month marketing – and its response to criticism – is just the latest example of how the company is struggling to serve different customer groups at a time of extreme cultural division, especially around transgender rights.

Bud Light is still dealing with the fallout from its attempts to broaden its customer base by sending transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney a can of beer with his face on it, which Mulvaney later featured in an Instagram post, prompting backlash.

Parent company Bud Light doubled its US marketing spend this summer as it tries to make up for lost sales.

Target has long been seen as a trailblazer among retailers in how it embraces LGBTQ+ customers and rights.

It was one of the first to showcase merchandise themed in honor of Pride Month, which takes place in June, and has been at the forefront of developing relationships with LGBTQ+ suppliers.

It has also faced backlash in the past. In 2016, as the national debate exploded over transgender rights, the company stated that ‘inclusivity is a core belief at Target’ and supported transgender employees and customers who used any restrooms or fitting rooms that ‘fit their gender identity.’

But even after being threatened with a boycott by some customers, Target announced months later that more stores would provide single-toilet bathrooms with lockable doors.