What’s Behind the Target Boycott: The Gatekeeping of Politics, Power, and Profit

Analyzing the concerted effort to turn Target into a cautionary tale

Yael Wolfe
7 min readJun 7

AP photo (Seth Wenig)

Pride Month has started off with a bang. According to Elon Musk, Target will (allegedly) soon be facing a massive class-action lawsuit from its shareholders. Why? In Musk’s own words, “…for destruction of shareholder value.”

Target’s stock value has plummeted by over $13 billion. It’s lost nearly 1/5 of its value just in the past few weeks, alone. The nosedive is so bad that JP Morgan downgraded the stock from Overweight to Neutral.

Based on media coverage, you might think you know the reason why: because of Target’s Pride Month merchandise.

But maybe, like me, you have been shopping at Target for most of your life and find yourself a little befuddled by this. Haven’t they been selling Pride merchandise for a long time now? Yes, according to their own official statement, they’ve been doing this for more than a decade.

And while it’s true, transphobia is at an all-time, fever-pitched high, is it really at that point where a Pride display will cause the downfall of a multi-billion dollar corporation, up to and including the class-action lawsuit that Musk predicts?

Or are we witnessing a new trend in capitalist strategy?

The Politics of Boycotting

Conservative commentator Charlie Kirk believes Musk’s prediction should become standard practice. “Ninety-seven percent of Americans would prefer depoliticized corporations to the hyperpolitical ones of today,” he tweeted in response to Musk. “Shareholders should organize to make this happen.”

Yael Wolfe

Writer, photographer, artist, and big, bad wolf. | Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gleDcD | Email: welcome@yaelwolfe.com