We’ve written at length about the pickle the folks running major U.S. retail chain Target seem to be in, mainly how they managed to alienate many of their loyal customers when the company decided it would be a good business decision to partner with companies that sell LGBTQ+ merchandise.Target recently removed the products from its shelves. But the issue didn’t end there, as an avalanche of complaints from LGBTQ+ activists hit Target about the items being taken down from displays.
As the Memorial Day weekend was set to begin on Friday, the company continued to reel from the backlash on both sides of the controversy.
Earlier on Saturday, our colleagues at Twitchy caught the disturbing story about a Cleveland, Ohio, television station receiving a bomb threat made against five, area Target stores,
WOIO (Cleveland 19 News) reported about the threat it received on Friday:
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) – Cleveland 19 News received a bomb threat Friday afternoon against five Target stores in the area.
The threat, received at 12:26 p.m. via email, centered around Target’s LGBTQ+ merchandise.
Immediately jumping to action, our staff made reports with each local police department as well as the Cleveland Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
It was not immediately known if the threats were legitimate, though precautions were quickly taken to ensure no one got hurt.
The threatening email was aimed at Targets in Jackson Township, Boardman, Stow, Niles, and Monaca, Penn.
But as Twitchy noted, it doesn’t appear the threats were sent by people upset with Target over the woke duds they had tried to sell: it was (allegedly) someone upset that Target had taken down the products. A producer with WOIO shared details and a screenshot of the emailed threat via his Twitters account:
BREAKING: 19 News received a tip involving bomb threats to 5 Target stores between Northeast Ohio and Pennsylvania following this week’s LGBTQ+ controversy.
The threat said the bomb threats wouldn’t stop until Target brought back its LGBTQ+ merchandise.
— Alec (@alecsapolin) May 26, 2023
— Alec (@alecsapolin) May 26, 2023
In what may or may not be a connected story, two media outlets near Salt Lake City, Utah, also received bomb threats on Friday for Target stores there:
A Target in Layton was evacuated after officials said they were informed of a bomb threat to multiple Utah locations.
An employee of the Panda Express located next to the Target at 815 West 2000 North confirmed that multiple officers were on scene with a K-9 team by 1 p.m. on Friday. […]
Sgt. John Ottesen with Layton Police said bomb threats were made to Target stores in Layton, Salt Lake, Taylorsville and Provo.
Officers began the investigation after two local new stations received emails alerting them about the threats.
They said Target’s Pride merchandise displays were referenced in the emails.
The threat was three sentences long and came from a “bogus email address,” according to Sgt. Ottesen.
KUTV did not receive comment from Target, but the Salt Lake City Police Department shared in a statement that, thankfully, they “determined there is no credible threat to the Target stores” in the area:
Officers have worked with the Target Corporation throughout the morning and have determined there is no credible threat to the Target stores in Salt Lake City. Officers will continue neighborhood patrols around the Target locations in Salt Lake City out of an abundance of caution. We encourage anyone who sees anything suspicious to immediately call 911.
But it was the reaction to KUTV from one local, LGBTQ+ activist group that caught my attention. Equality Utah wrote in a statement:
Efforts to threaten, bully or frighten LGBTQ Americans and our allies will never prevail. We will not be intimidated back into the closet. In a pluralistic society we must find non-violent means to settle our political disagreements. We call on Americans from all walks of life to speak out against extremism and violence. We can and must live together in peace.
I need to state, so there isn’t any question about it: no threats of violence are acceptable—ever. The KUTV story doesn’t make clear how much of the threat message, if any, from the Utah incident was shared with Equality Utah before they commented
But let’s keep something in mind: after any crime is committed (and a bomb threat counts as a crime), facts are often scant. Very little is known about either the bomb threats in Cleveland and Utah right now. For anyone—no matter who they represent—to jump a conclusion like this, when police are still working to find the culprit, is disgraceful. You would hope they might issue an apology, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.