Target faces boycott after man exposes himself in women’s bathroom

  • Target is facing calls for a boycott after a man exposed himself to a girl in the women’s bathroom of one of its stores.
  • In a widely shared Facebook post, the evangelist Franklin Graham blamed the incident on Target’s bathroom policy, which allows transgender customers to use the bathroom or fitting room that matches their gender identity.
  • A previous boycott against Target’s bathroom policy led to declines in shopper traffic.
  • Target says the man who exposed himself was drunk. There’s no indication that he is transgender.

Target is facing widespread outrage and calls for a boycott after a man exposed himself to a girl in the women’s bathroom of one of its stores.

The evangelist Franklin Graham slammed Target for the incident in a Facebook post on Wednesday and urged his more than 6.7 million followers to boycott the company in response. In the post, Graham blamed the incident on the company’s bathroom policy, which was changed two years ago to allow transgender customers to use the bathroom or fitting room that matched their gender identity.

Though a suspect has not been named and there was no indication the man was transgender, Graham’s post has been shared more than 58,000 times and has generated more than 17,000 comments, most of which expressed support for a Target boycott.

Target says the man who exposed himself was drunk when he entered the women’s bathroom at one of its Chicago stores and pushed into a stall that was being used by a young girl, pushed her out of the way, and used the bathroom before leaving. The police are still searching for the man, according to the Chicago NBC affiliate WMAQ.

“At Target, the safety and security of our guests is critically important to us,” a Target spokeswoman, Danielle Schumann, told WMAQ. “Immediately after a guest notified us of this incident, we called law enforcement and provided them with video footage from our store entrance to help with their investigation.”

Target’s change to its bathroom policy two years ago triggered an immediate backlash. Shopper traffic declined for the first time in years, and the company installed more single-occupancy bathrooms in all of its stores to give critics of the policy more privacy. The new bathrooms cost Target an estimated $20 million to install.

The resurrection of this issue could end up again costing Target lost sales, if people take the call to boycott seriously.

In his post, Graham encouraged people to sign the American Family Association boycott pledge that was started when Target announced the policy change. The online petition has more than 1.5 million signatures. Graham also urged people to comment on Target’s Facebook page and call the company’s headquarters to “let them know that you think they should change their decision and make their restrooms safe again.”

“Boycotted until things change,” Susan Kay wrote in response to Graham’s post. “Tired of such an awful decision by them to continue this policy. I pray they will come to their senses and change their policy.”

Connie Lilly wrote: “This is sick! Turning in my CARDS!”

“Target is too proud to admit they were wrong,” Joseph Lao wrote. “How many children have to be traumatized before Target will learn? Go shop elsewhere and save your children.”

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