Get the latest from TODAY
Hundreds of thousands of shoppers have pledged to boycott Target after the company announced its "inclusive" bathroom policy for customers and employees last week.
The American Family Association, a Christian activist group, has taken aim at Target since it announced that any transgender customers or employees in its stores can use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. The AFA's online pledge to boycott Target has received nearly half a million signatures in less than a week.
"Target's policy is exactly how sexual predators get access to their victims,'' AFA president Tim Wildmon wrote in the call for a boycott. "And with Target publicly boasting that men can enter women's bathrooms, where do you think predators are going to go? Clearly, Target's new policy poses a danger to wives and daughters."
The Minneapolis-based retailer, which has 1,793 stores in the U.S., released a statement on April 19 emphasizing its policy. The announcement comes amid controversy and debates in several states about limiting public bathroom access to the sex listed on a person's birth certificate.
"As a company that firmly stands behind what it means to offer our team an inclusive place to work — and our guests an inclusive place to shop — we continue to believe that this is the right thing for Target,'' the company said in a statement to TODAY replying to the boycott.
A North Carolina law that prevents transgender people from using bathrooms that align with their gender identity has led to everything from billion-dollar companies withdrawing investments from the state to Bruce Springsteen canceling a show in Greensboro in protest of the law.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump also weighed in on the issue during an exclusive town hall on TODAY last week.
"North Carolina did something that was very strong and they're paying a big price and there's a lot of problems," said Trump, who would have left things as they were. "There have been very few complaints the way it is. People go, they use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate, there has been so little trouble."
Follow TODAY.com writer Scott Stump on Twitter.