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Target had initially partnered with Erik Carnell of the U.K.-based brand Abprallen to create items for its 2023 Pride Collection. Carnell found himself at the center of a firestorm after critics of Target discovered the Abprallen Etsy shop, which offered merchandise featuring occult images and phrases such as “Satan Respects Pronouns” and “Trans Witches For Abortion.”
People were also upset that Target was selling “tuck-friendly” swimwear in stores. The retailer responded to the backlash by moving displays to the back in some instances and removing certain controversial items, including Carnell’s designs.
“It’s a very dangerous precedent to set, that if people just get riled up enough about the products that you’re selling, you can completely distance yourself from the LGBT community, when and if it’s convenient,” Carnell told Reuters.
“If you’re going to take a stance and say that you care about the LGBT community, you need to stand by that regardless,” he continued.
Carnell also said Target knew about the satanic imagery before extending a partnership offer, as The Daily Wire previously reported.
“When I was approached to create products for Target they told me that my work such as ‘Satan Respects Pronouns’ wouldn’t be a good fit,” Carnell said. “They were observant enough and had the necessary critical thinking skills to realize that my use of occult imagery is as harmless as any horror movie targeted towards adults but wanted my collection for adults to be a bit less gothic.”
Carnell explained one of his designs by saying he doesn’t actually believe in Satan.
“One of my favourite and most popular designs, and the one that gave Abprallen its proper footing and direction. Coming up with this phrase really helped make Abprallen what it is today,” he captioned the image of a “Satan respects pronouns” item.
“Satan loves you and respects who you are; you’re important and valuable in this world and you deserve to treat yourself with love and respect. LGBT+ people are so often referred to as being a product of Satan or going against God’s will, so fine. We’ll hang with Satan instead.”
“Satanists don’t actually believe in Satan, he is merely used as a symbol of passion, pride, and liberty. He means to you what you need him to mean. So for me, Satan is hope, compassion, equality, and love,” the post continued.
“So, naturally, Satan respects pronouns. He loves all LGBT+ people. I went with a variation of Baphomet for this design, a deity who themself is a mixture of genders, beings, ideas, and existences. They reject binary stereotypes and expectations. Perfect.”