Woolworths Defies Bigots with New Pride Month Campaign

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The Woolworths Pride campaign has returned to stores despite last year’s backlash

In defiance of last year’s hateful backlash and boycott, Woolworths is once again marking International Pride Month both in stores and online.

The company has unveiled a Pride capsule collection featuring t-shirts, a sweatshirt, and socks adorned with rainbow colours. These items are available in stores and online, and stores are displaying signage and displays acknowledging that June is Pride Month.

“It’s Pride Month, and it’s time to own, express and celebrate your identity,” reads a social media post shared by Woolworths. “Our Pride campaign is part of the Woolworths Inclusive Justice Initiative – acting against discrimination and marginalisation.”

While this year’s Woolworths Pride campaign seems more low-key, it has already raised the ire of intolerant members of the community, though to a lesser degree than last year. Notably, the company has chosen to disable comments on its social media posts.

On X, @Mokotedi_Mafora called for a boycott, accusing Woolworths of “overtly promulgating this LGBTQ/pride indoctrination agenda” and questioning why they prioritise a minority group at the expense of the majority. @JeremiahSoob claimed that “Pride is an evil movement with evil intentions,” and urged, “If you love your children, boycott Woolworths.”

Long-time homophobic pastor Errol Naidoo proclaimed on Facebook that “Woolworths is indoctrinating its customers with a false view of love.” In a video, he also accused the company of having an “anti-family bias,” of “social engineering,” and discriminating against Christians, despite the company marking Christian holidays like Easter and Christmas.

Members of the queer community largely welcomed the allyship from Woolworths. Loodewyk Hattingh wrote on Facebook: “WOOLWORTHS doing it again. Thank you for public support,” while Desirè Van Rooyen commented alongside a photo of a Pride store display, “I love that Woolworths went all OUT for Pride Month.”

One X user, @KayworxX, humorously questioned the drabness and joylessness of the Pride Month collection. “This is the second year that Woolworths is dipping their toe into rainbow capitalism and the offerings are so sad 😭😭 No one would wear any of these to a pride parade??” they tweeted.

In June 2023, queerphobic bigots targeted the retailer for celebrating and acknowledging the LGBTQI+ community in an unprecedented campaign of online hate and condemnation, calling for a boycott of its stores.

Critics accused Woolworths of “targeting children,” “going against the moral fibre of society,” and launching an “attack on good family values.”

The appalling backlash was one of the largest and most visible public displays of homophobia and transphobia seen in South Africa in recent years.

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