North Face Boycott Calls Grow as Company Defends Pride Range—'Unacceptable'

The North Face is the latest brand that conservatives are calling people to boycott after it launched a Pride Month campaign featuring a drag queen.

The outdoor apparel brand released an ad for its "Summer of Pride" campaign—now in its second year—featuring Pattie Gonia on Instagram on Wednesday.

"I'm a real-life homosexual. I'm here with The North Face to help you come out... in nature with us," they say in the ad.

Some complained about the post in the comments, while others took to Twitter.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia, tweeted: "Big name brands sexually targeting children makes me want to buy all generic brand clothing now. Besides.. we can save a fortune NOT wasting money on labels that are grooming our children."

Robby Starbuck, a former Republican congressional candidate, wrote: "Can anyone explain how the heck this ad helps @thenorthface sell outdoor clothes? They're screaming at you to not buy their products if this violates your values. Accept their challenge."

Stew Peters, a far-right commentator, tweeted: "Add The North Face to the list."

Another Twitter user wrote: "Please boycott Marxist North Face. This is unacceptable."

In a statement to Newsweek, The North Face said: "The North Face has always believed the outdoors should be a welcoming, equitable and safe place for all. We are honored and grateful to support partners like Pattie Gonia who help make this vision a reality. The Summer of Pride series, now in its second year, has helped foster a more accessible and welcoming environment for individuals from all backgrounds to gather and experience the joy of the outdoors.

"Creating community and belonging in the outdoors is a core part of our values and is needed now more than ever. We stand with those who support our vision for a more inclusive outdoor industry."

The latest controversy comes after Target faced criticism for its Pride Month marketing, with customers angrily ripping over displays and railing against the retailer's inclusion of "tuck friendly" women's swimsuits in the range. Target then faced a second backlash for caving to anti-LGBTQ+ customers by removing some products and relocating the displays.

Meanwhile, Bud Light is continuing to deal with the fallout over its partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

Mulvaney posted an Instagram video of herself cracking open a Bud Light as part of a promotional contest in early April, igniting a backlash. Conservatives called for a boycott, and Bud Light saw sales fall slightly in subsequent weeks.

The beer brand also received criticism for its handling of the backlash. The country's largest advocacy group for LGBTQ+ rights has suspended its benchmark equality and inclusion rating for parent company Anheuser-Busch.

The backlash to Target and Bud Light illustrates how companies are struggling to cater to different groups of customers at a time when anti-transgender sentiment is growing in the United States, with bills targeting the rights of transgender people sweeping through Republican state legislatures.

The North Face indicated it does not plan to bow to similar pressure, posting a message on Instagram in response to criticism.

"We recognize the opportunity our brand has to shape the future of the outdoors and we want that future to be a more accepting and loving place," the message said.

"We're partnering with Pattie because we believe the outdoors are for everyone.

"The North Face online community is designed to be a safe, positive and inclusive environment. It's why we have a zero-tolerance policy against racist, discriminatory, threatening, abusive, harmful, vulgar or attacking social media comments, which will be removed immediately."

Update 5/28/23, 9:40 a.m. ET: This article has been updated to add a statement from The North Face.

The NORTH FACE sign hangs
The North Face sign hangs in front of their store at the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets shopping mall on August 26, 2018 in Central Valley, New York. Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

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