After she was publicly ridiculed after the video of her rage over rainbow-branded goods at Target was posted online, a dubious television speaker’s outrage gained widespread attention.
On conservative network One America News (OAN), Alison Steinberg, who has previously appeared as an analyst, videotaped herself on her phone as she walked through the store looking for items she believed shouldn’t be sold to customers. When she came saw apparel, swimwear and greeting cards in Target’s Pride line, which caters to LGBTQ+ customers, she looked to become very enraged.
Her response to the items and the response to her comments online coincide with a social debate in the U.S. about the rights of gay and transgender people, as well as numerous well-known brand name efforts to demonstrate their inclusivity, such as the Bud Light beer project with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney, which caused the company’s share price to drop amid reports of a customer boycott.
Target was also influenced by a response to the introduction of a new clothing line supporting LGBTQ+ issues last month, and there had been demands for the seller to be given “the Bud Light treatment.”
Steinberg’s video was shared on Twitter on Sunday afternoon by an account called Patriot Takes, which describes itself as a channel of “scientists keeping an eye on and exposing conservative extremism and other hazards to democracy.” It is unclear where Steinberg’s video was first published or when and where it was recorded. By early Monday morning, the video had been seen more than 300,000 times, retweeted more than 400 times, and had more than 1,500 comments.
Steinberg begins the 45-second tape by saying she stayed in “the queer area at Target” and adding, “It’s really even worse than I ever thought of.” She walked over to expose a rainbow-colored swimsuit while holding out a hoodie with the slogan “QUEERS Take Care of Each Other,” saying: “The tuck-friendly building thrives and well. As you can see, they have a lot of options, thus it is obvious that they are choosing not to perform well. Simply said, this is out of control. She subsequently concentrated on a pair of butterfly-patterned socks. She questioned, “Really?” “Really?”
After that, the film turned to a screen of greeting cards. Steinberg says, “We’re in the kid’s aisle. Just come by to the card area.” She pointed to another section of cards labelled “2 papas” and held up a card that read, “You’ll be such fantastic mothers.” “There are more cards congratulating two parents who are the same sex than there are typical male and female parents. Then we go on to the location of the wedding ceremony: “Hers and Hers, Mrs. and Mrs. This is completely out of control!”
The vast majority of the comments underneath the video that Patriot Takes uploaded ridiculed Steinberg’s response. “Don’t buy the card if you don’t have two parents, either parents. Seems quite basic,” one user tweeted. Another was, “Damn, going to the store must be exhausting for these people.” One analyst wrote on Twitter: “Weird, it almost seems like a private corporation decided they could make money by marketing to people who are becoming marginalised. What are the possibilities?
One Twitter user agreed with Steinberg’s assertion and advised “groomers” to keep children out of their care.
Newsweek contacted Steinberg and OAN via its website to obtain additional information and comment.
Other businesses who have supported the LGBTQ+ community in recent weeks, in addition to Bud Light and Target, have also experienced a severe backlash.
While chocolate company Hershey’s battled with complaints in Canada over its decision to use a transgender activist’s face on special marketing packaging for International Women’s Day, bourbon maker Jack Daniel’s sparked outrage after working with three drag queens. Adidas, a manufacturer of athletic gear, is facing boycott demands after using a “biological male” to create women’s swimwear. Additionally, the children’s television show Transformers: EarthSpark sparked controversy by featuring a non-binary character.