Retail giant Target has been in the headlines over the past week amid furor surrounding controversial bathing suits as well as the creator of some LGBTQ-themed items reportedly included in the company’s annual Pride collection.
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At the center of the latter debate is a designer some claim has spoken favorably about Satanism.
A Washington Examiner headline reads, “Target Pride Month partner boasts about satanism: ‘Satan Respects Pronouns.’” According to the associated story, “a self-proclaimed gay, transgender man known as Erik” runs a brand named Abprallen, and that company purportedly has a partnership with Target.
Why did @target hire a Satanist to design pieces for their recent “Pride” clothing line?
WTF”Satan loves you and respects who you are… LGBTQIA+ people are so often referred to as being a product of Satan or going against God’s will, so fine. We’ll hang with Satan instead.” pic.twitter.com/FLsNZNzHNa
— Scarlett Johnson (@scarlett4kids) May 20, 2023
The products reportedly sold as part of that collaboration include a sweatshirt, tote bag, and other messages imploring people to “cure transphobia not trans people,” among other LGBTQ-affirming proclamations.
“This has been so hard to keep quiet but I can now proudly announce that you can buy Abprallen in US Targets!” a May 9 Instagram post from Abprallen reads. “When they approached me to design a range for Pride, I realized that I had an opportunity to create something huge, I was given a chance to make work that would be seen by countless people and I wanted to ensure that any young people who saw Abprallen in Target would know that who they are is beautiful, purposeful, and worth expressing.”
Target’s Pride collection, on its own, attracts debate, but the consternation kicked into high gear when some pointed to past messages on Abprallen social media channels.
One such Instagram post, in particular, drew the ire of critics. It’s a colorful image of what looks like a Baphomet of sorts. The post accompanying the artwork explains the image was “difficult to draw” and was “emotionally hard.”
It was reportedly sparked by an email Erik, the artist behind Abprallen, received calling the artist “evil,” a “groomer,” and a “demon.”
“This one was difficult to deal with as it referred to me as a groomer,” the post read. “It’s a right-wing, transphobic word that is currently being used against trans people who stick up for trans youth in the same [way] it was used against gay people for sticking up for gay youth.”
(Demonic art posted to the AbprallenUK Instagram page)
Due to some personal trauma, the artist was purportedly working on the “trans demon piece” of art to process the use of the word “groomer.”
“Being called a demon is something I can cope with, and the idea of a trans demon is pretty damn cool,” the post continued. “Most of my work [focuses] on gothic or dark and satanic imagery juxtaposed with bright colours and LGBT+ positive messages.”
In a separate post this past March, Abprallen shared the image of a product that reads, “Satan respects pronouns.”
“One of my favorite and most popular designs, and the one that gave Abprallen its proper footing and direction,” the message read. “Coming up with this phrase really helped make Abprallen what it is today.”
The message continued, “Satan loves you and respects who you are; you’re important and valuable in this world, and you deserve to treat yourself with love and respect.”
The Abprallen message noted that many claim LGBTQ people are a “product of Satan” or that they go against God and said these individuals might, thus, choose to “hang with Satan instead.” The note also stated, though, many Satanists don’t believe in Satan and see him as a symbolic figure (a form of atheistic Satanism CBN’s Faithwire has covered before).
“I went with a variation of Baphomet for this design, a deity who themself is a mixture of genders, beings, ideas, and existences,” the text continued. “They reject binary stereotypes and expectations. Perfect.”
It should be noted Target didn’t appear to be selling any Satanic-themed imagery as part of the purported partnership; the artist’s past work, though, has been getting increased attention.
On Monday morning, none of Abprallen’s products showed up on Target’s website, though the sweatshirt and another product did later populate on the Target site for online sale.
CBN’s Faithwire has reached out to Abprallen and Target for comment.
The retailer has also been under fire for reportedly selling trans-themed bathing suits and products for children and adults.
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