- Joe Raedle / Getty
Target is having a bad week.
The retailer is facing widespread backlash for two unrelated incidents at its stores that have outraged thousands of customers.
On Thursday, a transgender woman was arrested and charged with taking pictures of an 18-year-old woman changing clothes in a fitting room at a Target store in Idaho.
The incident has renewed outrage among opponents of Target’s new policy allowing customers to use the restroom or fitting room that matches their gender identity.
The policy’s critics had previously warned that it posed a “danger to wives and daughters” and is “exactly how sexual predators get access to their victims.”
— PostOfficeOpen.us (@PostOfficeToday) July 14, 2016
Target said it’s working with law enforcement to investigate the incident.
“At Target, our guests are at the center of everything we do and our commitment to creating a safe and secure shopping environment in our stores is unwavering,” the company told Business Insider. “As a part this commitment to safety, we have robust procedures, policies and trainings in place to ensure that our stores are safe places to shop and work.As soon as this incident was brought to our attention, we immediately partnered with local law enforcement.”
In a separate incident this week, a customer claimed she witnessed a Target employee in Ohio mock a woman with Down syndrome.
The customer, JoAnna Vaughn, recounted the story in a Facebook post that has been shared more than 30,000 times in the last 24 hours.
In her post, Vaughn wrote:
“I was walking down the main isle [sic] by the baby stuff there is a associate in her radio asking where the lady is who needed help with the car seats. Then out of the electronic area a male associate comes walking towards her and is saying to her in a very loud voice, well she isn’t hard to miss, she is the retarded fat woman with large ass bumps all over her face!!! As I turn down the isle [sic] I see a large lady that had Down syndrome with a couple of what looked like miles on her face. She was crying. I am assuming she heard the associate say what he did.”
Hundreds of customers have demanded an apology from Target via social media.
“As a loyal Target customer, I am very disappointed and sickened at hearing how employees at the Western Hills (Cincinnati) store treat people with disabilities,” Facebook user Joyce Green wrote on the company’s page. “Until I hear Target apologizing and make amends, I will take my business elsewhere.”
Another customer wrote: “Not only was this highly unprofessional, it was degrading and just mean!!! … I will no longer be doing any of my shopping at any Target stores either.”
Target responded to some of the comments on its Facebook account, writing:
“At Target, we want all guests to feel welcome and comfortable shopping in our stores. We are continuing to look into this incident further. And at this time, we have no record of this occurring in our store yesterday.”
The company said it has reached out directly to Vaughn to discuss the incident.