Old video of Target store being ransacked shared with false link to LGBTQ+ collection

By: Ishita Goel
June 1 2023

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Old video of Target store being ransacked shared with false link to LGBTQ+ collection


The Verdict False

The store was ransacked in May 2020 amid protests in Minneapolis over George Floyd's death. The attack was unrelated to their LGBTQ+ collection.

Claim ID 7fda1d3b


A video showing a store being ransacked has gone viral on Twitter has gone viral, with users claiming that it was a Target store being attacked for promoting its LGBTQ+ collection ahead of Pride Month. A user wrote, "Violent mob ransacks Target store over LGBT merchandise sales in Philadelphia." Another user tweeted that a group of MAGA extremists looted the Target stores over anger about Pride merchandise being sold.

In May 2023, retail store Target unveiled an LGBTQ+ collection to celebrate Pride Month, which is observed annually through June. Target has been releasing products to celebrate Pride Month for over a decade. However, following the release of this year's collection, the company received backlash and threats. According to a report by AP, this comes amid increasing legislation targeting LGBTQ+ people across the U.S. Conservative media attacked Target's Pride collection, and critics of their merchandise took the backlash to the physical stores, attacking displays and targeting Target employees as well, according to a report by USA Today. Some stores also received bomb threats over the collection. Among the items part of this collection, a 'tuck-friendly' swimsuit garnered the most negative attention, and several false and misleading posts about the company and its new collections have gone viral on social media.

However, an old video is being linked to the LGBTQ+ collection at Target stores. 

In Fact

Through a reverse image search, we traced the video back to 2020. On May 28, the Washington Post reported on the video and said that on May 27, 2020, a Target store was looted near the site of a protest in Minneapolis, U.S., over the death of 2020 death of George Floyd. 

The video was credited to Max Nesterak, a Minnesota reporter. Similarly, on May 28, 2020, Reuters published a video on YouTube and captioned it "Minneapolis Target looted as protests turn more violent." They reported that the store was looted as a part of the second day of protests and demonstrations over the deaths of African Americans.

We tracked down the tweet by Nesterak on his account as well. On May 28, 2020, he shared the viral video and wrote, "It's a wreck." In another tweet in the thread, he shared a photo of people leaving the store with shopping bags and wrote, "Target being looted rn."

We compared different angles from the viral video and the original video and noted the same Pride umbrella on a shelf and the same people making their way around the store, signifying that this video was from 2020 and not 2023. 

In a recent development, Target has removed some items from its LGBTQ+ collection. In a press release on May 24, Target said since the release of the 2023 collection, they had experienced threats while at work. "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." However, they asserted that they still commit to standing with the community and celebrating Pride Month. 

The Verdict

The viral video doesn't show a Target store being ransacked over its LBGQT+ merchandise. It is from 2020 when a store in Minneapolis was looted during a nearby protest over the death of George Floyd, the Minneapolis man who died in police custody in May 2020. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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