Entrepreneur Kevin O’Leary responded to Target’s Pride merchandising controversy after suffering a hit in market value and threats of boycotts.
O’Leary said that although Target wants to sell to everybody, its marketing decision to roll out the Pride merchandising line was a “huge mistake.”
“When Bud happened, I can’t believe that boards didn’t wake up to that decimation market cap… Budweiser was the American beer. It took decades to build that brand and they blew it up in 30 hours,” O’Leary told guest host Rachel Campos-Duffy on “Jesse Watters Primetime.”
Bud Light’s sales plummeted since April after teaming up with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney. The American beer giant continues to grapple with the backlash from its marketing decision.
Target and Anheuser-Busch lost around a combined $28 billion in market value as of Friday, FOX Business reported.
The “Shark Tank” star said companies like Bud Light and Target “cannot be partisan in any way” when selling consumer goods and services.
“Let me give you an example,” O’Leary said. “Do you ever hear a CEO that represents a company ever talking about abortion? Never. Because that is an issue that will never be resolved. It’s a personal issue, it’s a family issue, it’s a religious issue. It’s partisan forever. You don’t touch it. Same thing with politics, same thing with gender identity. Everybody has a personal opinion about it. When you actually get involved in a fight like that, you lose 50% of your constituency.”
Fox News Digital first reported Tuesday, citing a Target insider, that some stores were told by the company to move LGBTQ Pride merchandise into store sections “a third the size” after customer “outrage.”
“I think given the current situation with Bud Light, the company is terrified of a Bud Light situation,” the source said.
Additionally, Fox News Digital reported that the Target Corporation collaborates with a K-12 education group called GLSEN, which focuses on gender ideology integration in classrooms.
“Fixer Upper” stars Chip and Joanna Gaines, who have a home and kitchen line at Target, have been met with criticism for not speaking out on the company’s merchandising controversy.
O’Leary warned that the couple “can’t win” by getting involved in this fight, and their sales would drop 30%.
“That’s what would happen. They’d eventually not have the margins that they need to stay on the shelf, they’d get kicked out. You stay out of it,” O’Leary said.
He pointed toward social media because it “turned everything upside-down,” describing it as a “giant polling system.”
“When something goes viral, it can be a good thing, but mostly it’s negative, and it’s decimated these brands very quickly.”
Fox News Digital’s Brian Flood and Hannah Grossman contributed to this report.