Erik Carnell of the U.K.-based brand Abprallen partnered with Target to create apparel designs for Target’s 2023 “Pride” collection. Then people found out that Carnell is a Satanist and freaked out. What drew particular shock and scorn was an Abprallen post in which Carnell said that Satan is pro-pronouns and infamously added, “we’ll hand with Satan instead.” in response to that outrage, Target removed Abrallen’s apparel from its Pride collections and is now facing backlash from Carnell for doing so.
Carnell, after describing the horrifying, devil-like design in the picture, explained the reasoning for it by talking about pronouns and Satan, saying, “Satan loves you and respects who you are; you’re important and valuable in this world and you deserve to treat yourself with love and respect. LGBT+ people are so often referred to as being a product of Satan or going against God’s will, so fine. We’ll hang with Satan instead.“
Continuing, Carnell attempted to redefine Satan and Satanism, describing Satan not as the epitome of evil and the Dark Lord of the damned, but rather as a good thing that represents “passion, pride, and liberty.” In that portion of the post, Carnell said, “Satanists don’t actually believe in Satan, he is merely used as a symbol of passion, pride, and liberty. He means to you what you need him to mean. So for me, Satan is hope, compassion, equality, and love.“
Then Carnell got to the other infamous part of the post, describing how “Satan respects pronouns” and why the being in the design, an evil-looking goat’s head, was chosen because of its being a mixture of different genders and other categories, thus destroying, in Carnell’s view, the idea of a binary. “So, naturally, Satan respects pronouns. He loves all LGBT+ people. I went with a variation of Baphomet for this design, a deity who themself is a mixture of genders, beings, ideas, and existences. They reject binary stereotypes and expectations. Perfect,” Carnell said.
So, many parents saw that and were very concerned and called on people horrified by Satanism to boycott Target. Target then removed Abprallen’s designs as part of a shake-up in which it moved the Pride collections to the back of some stores.
Carnell was furious about that, telling Reuters that it is a “dangerous precedent” for a company to retreat from “the LGBT community” over consumer outrage. “It’s a very dangerous precedent to set, that if people just get riled up enough about the products that you’re selling, you can completely distance yourself from the LGBT community, when and if it’s convenient,” Carnell said.
Continuing, he demanded that Target and others stick by “the LGBT community” regardless of what outrage results, such as the outrage over Satanism. “If you’re going to take a stance and say that you care about the LGBT community, you need to stand by that regardless,” he said.
In a separate interview, Carnell claimed that Target knew about the Satanist designs before the Target-Abprallen partnership, saying, “When I was approached to create products for Target they told me that my work such as ‘Satan Respects Pronouns’ wouldn’t be a good fit. They were observant enough and had the necessary critical thinking skills to realize that my use of occult imagery is as harmless as any horror movie targeted towards adults but wanted my collection for adults to be a bit less gothic.”
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