Erik Carnell, the self-identified transgender artist who runs the company Abprallen and was hired by Target to make designs for a “Pride Month” collection, asserted that the retail behemoth was aware of the designer’s Satanic imagery before the deal was official.
Conservatives launched a boycott effort against Target after the retail behemoth hired Carnell to make various designs for the company. Carnell said earlier this week in a series of Instagram stories reviewed by The Daily Wire that Target knew about the controversial designs, which included a shirt with the phrase “Satan Respects Pronouns” and an image of a skeleton draped in rainbow colors that said “Trans Witches For Abortion,” but declined to sell them.
“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 in the stories, which are automatically removed by the platform after one day. “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.”
Target, which has suffered on the stock market in the days since a conservative activist uncovered the Satanic imagery sold by Carnell, solicited three designs from Abprallen: a mini messenger bag with the slogan “We Belong Everywhere,” a tote bag with the phrase “Too Queer For Here,” and a sweatshirt emblazoned with “Cure Transphobia, Not Trans People.”
Carnell meanwhile asserted that the “religious right” manipulated the narrative such that the public now believes the Satanic designs were meant for children. “Trans people do not want to make your cis children trans, we want your trans children to survive,” the artist contended.
The artist said in another statement on Friday that the “religious right” levied “false accusations” that she is a Satanist. The stories on Instagram affirmed that Carnell thinks that “Satan, pentagrams, skulls, ghosts, and the occult are cool and interesting.”
“It is unfortunate that the religious right have as much power as they do, but it will not last,” Carnell added. The designer encouraged activists to devote their energies toward bars, clubs, queer cafes, and “your school’s GSA,” a reference to the Gay-Straight Alliance clubs present in many schools: “This is a far, far better use of your time and energy than directing it towards retail conglomerates.”
The controversial move to hire Abprallen for the designs came one year after Target boasted in a corporate sustainability report that the company would source 59% of items for “Pride Month” from “LGBTQIA+ creators and brands.” Target has worked to strengthen ties with the National Minority Supplier Development Council and the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
Target also generated backlash for the promotion of a female swimsuit marketed as “tuck-friendly” and with “extra crotch coverage,” permitting men who identify as women to wear the item. The firm’s market capitalization, which refers to the total value of a publicly traded company’s outstanding shares, has fallen from $70.4 billion to $64.2 billion over the past week as consumers react strongly to the various controversies.