“Shark Tank” superstar Kevin O’Leary believes Target’s decision to embrace “Pride” for children was a “huge mistake,” and it appears he’s right.
Target lost $9 million in market value last week after angry parents started boycotting it over its rollout of a “Pride” collection for children featuring extremely inappropriate content.
Appearing on Fox News “Jesse Watters Primetime” late Friday, O’Leary seemed shocked by the “Pride” rollout given the Bud Light controversy had precipitated it by just a matter of days.
“When Bud happened, I can’t believe that boards didn’t wake up to that decimation market cap… Budweiser was the American beer. It took decades to build that brand and they blew it up in 30 hours,” he said.
As previously reported, Budweiser triggered a massive backlash after it sent transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney a special Bud Light can featuring his face on it. The backlash led to both its stock and sales plummeting.
Then only days after that controversy erupted, this happened:
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) May 15, 2023
Video footage showing everything from LGBT-themed t-shirts to LGBT-themed athletic apparel, backpacks, light bulbs, plushies, sandals, and more at one Target store went viral, spawning backlash against Target.
According to Leary, if companies want to survive in the modern age, they “cannot be partisan in any way” when selling goods and services.
“Let me give you an example. 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,” he told fill-in host Rachel Campos-Duffy.
“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% of your constituency,” he added.
He continued by warning influencers like reality TV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines to not get involved in the crisis, lest their sales plummet too. The couple reportedly have a home and kitchen line at Target.
“That’s what would happen. 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,” he said.
Even if that means putting up with criticism and pressure like this:
Isn’t it time speak out against @target and bring your brand elsewhere??
— Mistress B (@TheMistressB) May 26, 2023
Are you still using @Target? I won’t spend another dime with them. Please do the right thing and pull your merch. There are other distributors you can use.
— Mels Bells – extremist and TERF, apparently (@HoneyBadger_AF) May 24, 2023
— Tony Suarez (@revtonysuarez) May 26, 2023
They’re the biggest sellers in target, and they’re strong Christians.
Why have them been so silent? Is money more important to them? Are they ok with grooming kids?
— Gentry Gevers (@GentryGevers) May 27, 2023
The fact that @chipgaines @joannagaines @magnolia are silent about the horrendous atmosphere/decisions @Target (where employees must accept DEI or quit) tells me they are greedy and not the faithful people they purport to be. #Disappointed #NotSurprised
— Amy Beth (@absinbr) May 26, 2023
Now we Know Why @chipgaines @joannagaines Support #Target – Symbolism Will Be Their Downfall! Disgusting You don’t get to where these people are Without Selling Your Soul. Hey @bennyjohnson #BoycottTarget pic.twitter.com/hXErZifIkI
— The Real Write Angle 2 (@WriteAngle_Real) May 28, 2023
Not everybody is confident all this will work, though. Take Sen. Ted Cruz. Speaking on his podcast last week, he said he doesn’t believe the Target boycott will be nearly as successful as the Bud Light one, as reported by the New York Post.
“What really came to bite Bud Light is that wasn’t a hard boycott. It’s difficult for nobody on planet Earth, if you are going to order a Bud Light, to say, ‘I’ll have a Coors Light.’ That’s a very simple substitution. I’m not sure many people could go through a blind taste test and tell the difference,” he said.
To really hit home the point, he then compared Target to Disney, which has faced years of backlash over its opposition to the “Parental Rights in Education” bill, but which still stands as a successful, somewhat thriving company.
“You can be annoyed at Disney but if your kids really want to go to Disney World, that can be hard to say no to. There are not a lot of alternatives. There’s Six Flags but Disney World is a pretty unique offering,” Cruz said.
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