Metro Weekly

Candace Owens: ‘Do Not Shop at Target or Else You’re Gay and a Pervert’

Right-wing podcaster Candace Owens has embraced boycotting Target and making it uncomfortable for Americans to be associated with the brand.

Photo Illustration by Todd Franson – Original photo: Candace Owens, by Gage Skidmore

Candace Owens has jumped on the bandwagon of conservatives attacking Target over its Pride-themed merchandise and relationship with an LGBTQ clothing designer.

On Tuesday, the retail giant announced it was pulling some Pride-themed merchandise from store shelves and removing the items from its website after conservatives began a trend of filming videos for social media showing them ranting over items in stores, aggressively confronting store employees, and even destroying Pride displays.

Many conservatives subsequently accused Target of seeking to “indoctrinate” or “groom” children into either being LGBTQ themselves or being supportive of LGBTQ people.

Citing threats it had received from irate shoppers, and a desire to protect their employees from potential violence, Target decided to pull Pride-themed children’s merchandise from stores, especially items incorporating rainbows or that use colors that traditionally have not been associated with a certain gender, such as boys’ clothes in pastel colors, notably pink.

The store also pulled a line of adult swimsuits marketed for its ability to “tuck” genitalia for transgender women. Some right-wing outlets had previously reported that the “tuck-friendly” swimsuits were marketed to children, but the Associated Press later confirmed the swimsuits were only for adults.

During the May 24 episode of her self-titled podcast for the Daily Wire, Owens asserted that Target was pushing an agenda through its Pride-themed merchandise, and encouraged conservatives to boycott the big box store.

“[J]ust in case you think that conservatives are wrong or are joking when we say this stuff is satanic, Target actually hired a satanic designer,” Owens said, referring to another aspect of the Target controversy. “I’m not kidding. This designer identifies as a Satanist.”

Owens referenced that Target had partnered with the U.K.-based brand Abprallen and its designer Erik Carnell, who designed some Pride-themed merchandise for the retailer. NBC News reports that Carnell, who identifies as a Satanist in his personal life, has received death threats for his Pride-themed designs, as well as other designs — not sold in stores — incorporating Satanic symbolism.

Owens at least acknowledged that the Satanic-themed merchandise and other controversial pieces designed by Carnell were sold only on his own website and never appeared in Target stores. But she maintained that Target’s choice to partner with Carnell was a deliberate choice — and, as such, the retailer must accept the negative attention that comes with having made such a decision.

She also sought to link transgender identity with Satanism.

“What I can appreciate, at the very least, about someone like Eric Carnell, is that at least he’s acknowledging that transgenderism is, in fact, satanic. It is a perversion of the truth. It is meant to harm people. It is meant to target — pun very much intended — children with this harmful ideology, it is meant to convince them to commit to decisions that will ultimately ruin their lives,” she said referring to gender-affirming treatments, including surgery, that some transgender people may choose to undergo.

“You do not get your private parts back once you start to experiment with them,” said Owens. “There’s no way that you can reverse those sorts of trends, and they are aware of that because people are conscious about that.”

Owens also trumpeted the boycott of Target, comparing it to a similar backlash against Bud Light, and its parent company, Anheuser Busch, after the beer giant partnered with transgender TikTok influencer Dylan Mulvaney for an online promotion in April. 

“The CEO and other directors on [Target’s] team met because they are concerned that…they might become Bud Lighted, which is to say that they can completely sink their company because they have committed to this ideology,” Owens said.

“And now, I am imploring every single person that is watching this to double down. Okay? We have them nervous, we have them cornered, it is very simple for you to commit to never shopping at Target again. There is nothing that Target has that you cannot get somewhere else. Okay?

“We cannot just be the individuals that lament and complain and try to explain that the world is all going into a horrible direction and yet we do nothing about it in our personal capacity. We cannot continue to be those individuals.”

Quoting fellow right-wing provocateur Matt Walsh’s own calls for a boycott, Owens said the point isn’t just to demand people stop shopping at Target, but to make it so that individual people — those who do not want to be associated with left-wing ideology or do not want to be accused of being “groomers” or supporting “mutilation,” as right-wingers refer to gender confirmation surgery — are uncomfortable even being associated with Target and refuse to shop there. 

“I think that my colleague, Matt Walsh, probably said it best in this tweet. He wrote, ‘The goal is to make “pride” toxic for brands. If they decide to shove this garbage in our face, they should know that they’ll pay a price…’  And he is absolutely right. It is making progress. And it’s absolutely right that we have them scared.

“As I said, we have them backed into a corner, and now is absolutely the time for us to pounce,” Owens said. “So do not shop at Target, or else you’re gay and you’re a pervert. And that’s all I have to say about that.”

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