Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Anthony Bass said he is “truly sorry” for sharing a controversial anti-LGBTQ2S+ video on Instagram.
“I recognize yesterday I made a post that was hurtful to the Pride community, which includes friends of mine and close family members of mine and I'm truly sorry for that,” Bass said while addressing the media Tuesday afternoon.
On Monday morning, Bass shared a video on his Instagram story from @dudewithgoodnews, a user who posts daily devotionals to his feed, which encouraged those of Christian faith to boycott Target and take no part in their business.
Tagging Target in the caption, the user says they will expose the retailer’s “works of darkness.”
“For those who don’t know, Target has begun pushing the message of transitioning to young people and teamed up with a Satanist to push pro-Satan clothing and pins to children. The enemy isn’t even hiding anymore,” the caption reads, calling the merchandise “evil” and “demonic” in the video.
After receiving a wave of backlash for sharing the video, Bass told reporters, “The ballpark is for everybody.”
“I just spoke with my teammates and shared with them my actions yesterday and apologized with them, and as of right now, I’m using Blue Jays’ resources to better educate myself and make better decisions moving forward,” he said.
Blue Jays Manager John Schneider said Bass’ actions don’t reflect the team’s views as an organization.
“An apology for one person goes so far and we're gonna continue to do everything that we have done in the past to help support the Pride community,” Schneider said on Tuesday.
He called Bass’ apology “remorseful” and said that he was “aware” of the hurt he had caused by sharing the video.
The Blue Jays also said in a statement they are proud to celebrate Pride month, including hosting their fourth annual Pride Weekend at Rogers Centre on June 9 and 10, and “demonstrations of allyship all month long around the ballpark.”
Bass made headlines in April after calling out United Airlines on Twitter, saying the airline forced his pregnant wife to “get on her hands and knees” to clean up after their two-year-old daughter while on a flight.
PRIDE MERCHANDISE BOYCOTT
Target’s Pride merchandise hit the stands earlier in May, ahead of Pride month in June.
One of the vendors, Abprallen, sold items like a “cure transphobia, not trans people” sweater, a “too queer for here” tote bag, and “we belong everywhere” fanny pack.
Target's Pride collection had more than 2,000 products for sale from home furnishings to clothes, but Abprallen was one of the few vendors so far removed from its website and stores.
The backlash on social media revolved around some of Abprallen's products that weren't sold at Target, like an enamel pin with a slogan that reads 'Satan Respects Pronouns.'
In an Instagram post, the designer, Erik Carnell, said he was accused of being a Satanist and marketing his work to children.
“It is a common trope to accuse LGBT+ people of immoral or illegal activities in order to discredit them, regardless of the truth behind the matter,” the artist wrote.
According to Target, customers have knocked down Pride displays at some stores, antagonized workers, and posted threatening videos on social media from inside the store.
“Since introducing this year’s collection, we’ve experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being while at work,” Target said in a statement to The Associated Press.
In response to the backlash, Target announced it would be removing some of its LGBTQ2S+ merchandise nationwide and moving its Pride merchandise to the back of some southern U.S. stores.
Target’s decision comes on the heels of Bud Light’s recent controversy with dropping its brand partnership with transgender influencer, Dylan Mulvaney. The popular beer brand has long marketed itself to LGBTQ2S+ drinkers – selling rainbow cans for Pride – but some consumers, including musician Kid Rock, lashed out.
All of this comes during a time where hundreds of anti-transgender bills in the U.S. were introduced, with the goal to strip or criminalize gender-affirming care.
With files from The Associated Press and Reuters