The North Face stands strong amidst backlash for featuring Drag Queen in 'Summer of Pride' campaign

May 27, 2023 09:00 PM IST

The North Face defies criticism, embraces inclusivity with Drag Queen in 'Summer of Pride' Ad campaign.

Outdoor clothing and supplies company, The North Face, is facing right-wing criticism after featuring a drag queen in an online ad as part of its "Summer of Pride" campaign.

The North Face. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
The North Face. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

The ad, which is showcased on Instagram, features Pattie Gonia, a prominent drag queen, who encourages viewers to embrace their true selves in nature with The North Face's support.

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“I’m here with The North Face to help you come out…in nature with us,” says Pattie on the video.

The company also highlights its Pride Collection merchandise and announces plans to host outdoor Pride events in Atlanta and Salt Lake City.

However, the inclusion of a drag queen in the ad has drawn criticism from conservative figures such as Congresswomen Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, who called for a boycott of The North Face.

Greene took to Twitter, expressing, “Big name brands sexually targeting children makes me want to buy all generic brand clothing now,” while Boebert drew comparisons to past controversies involving Bud Light and Target. “Besides… we can save a fortune NOT wasting money on labels that are grooming our children.”

A spokesperson from The North Face responded to the criticism, stating, “The North Face has always believed the outdoors should be welcoming, equitable and safe space for all,” adding, “We are honored and grateful to support partners like Pattie Gonia who help make this vision reality….Creating community and belonging in the outdoors is a core part of our values and is needed now more than ever. We stand with those who support our vision for a more inclusive outdoor industry.”

In contrast to The North Face's response, other companies have faced similar controversies and reacted differently. Target, for example, pulled some of its Pride merchandise due to threats, while Anheuser-Busch, the brewer of Bud Light, responded with a mixed reaction to right-wing criticism.

The North Face's support for inclusivity and its refusal to bow down to pressure from critics highlights its commitment to shaping a more accepting future for the outdoor industry.

The company also took to Instagram to reiterate its values and commitment to an inclusive community, saying, “We recognize the opportunity our brand has to shape the future of the outdoors and we want that future to be more accepting and loving place. We’re partnering with Pattie because we believe the outdoors are for everyone. The North Face online community is designed to be a safe, positive and inclusive environment. It’s why we have a zero-tolerance policy against racist, discriminatory, threatening, abusive, harmful, vulgar, or attacking social media comments, which will be removed immediately.”

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis praised The North Face's decision, highlighting the importance of including LGBTQ+ individuals and standing by corporate values. Ellis pointed out that embracing LGBTQ+ people and their allies is not only the right thing to do but also a smart business move, especially considering the growing support for LGBTQ+ rights among Americans, including Gen Z. The North Face's unwavering support for the LGBTQ+ community sends a signal to other companies that inclusivity is not only morally right but also beneficial for their business.

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In a time when diversity and acceptance are increasingly valued, The North Face's commitment to promoting inclusivity in the outdoors resonates with a significant portion of the population.

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