Target stores are facing bomb threats in response to its decision to remove or relocate some of its LGBTQ+ merchandise from stores.
According to The Washington Post, Target stores in at least five different states were forced to evacuate this past weekend due to bomb threats. Target stores in Oklahoma, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Louisiana received threats on Saturday.
Recently, Target stores in Utah, Pennsylvania, and Ohio also received bomb threats, according to USA Today.
Reports have indicated that most of the bomb threat instances involved “unknown individuals” emailing the threats to local media outlets.
The FBI and regional Joint Terrorism Task Force have assisted with the bomb threat investigations in various jurisdictions. No explosives have been found in any of the incidents.
After an investigation into bomb threats made against multiple stores in the Oklahoma City region, Target provided an official statement regarding the incident.
“The safety of our team members and guests is our top priority,” a Target spokesperson said. “Law enforcement investigated claims regarding several stores in the Oklahoma City area today and determined these stores are safe. Our stores are currently open and operating regular hours.”
In Lafayette, Louisiana, an email was sent to multiple news organizations, claiming that bombs had been placed inside the local Target store. The email also included an explanation for the threat.
“You have betrayed the LGBTQ+ community,” it said. “You are pathetic cowards who bowed to the wishes of far right extremists who want to exterminate us…We will not tolerate intolerance nor indifference. If you are not with us then you are against us. That is why we placed a bomb in each of your locations, evacuate now as this is only to cause economic damage.”
Prior to the beginning of Pride Month, Kayla Castañeda, a Target spokeswoman, announced that the company would be removing some of its LGBTQ+ merchandise in response to backlash from conservatives that the company said was threatening the safety of its employees.
“Given these volatile circumstances, we are making adjustments to our plans, including removing items that have been at the center of the most significant confrontational behavior,” she said.