The designer behind the brand Abprallen claims she is not a Satanist following Target severing ties, despite the fact that the brand sells an array of items modeled after the Satanist figure Baphomet and writing about what Satan means in a post on Instagram.
Target originally included a few items from the U.K.-based brand Abprallen in this year’s extensive pride collection. Three of the items offered were a top reading, “Cure Transphobia Not Trans People,” a tote bag reading, “Too Queer for Here,” and a case reading, “We Belong Everywhere.”
However, a further look into the designer showed an array of items featuring a design of the Satanic figure Baphomet, disturbing many who turned their complaints to Target for partnering with such a designer. While Target was not selling the Baphomet designs, the individual behind the brand made it very clear in an Instagram post that the Baphomet design, which states that “Satan respects pronouns,” largely gave the brand its “proper footing and direction.”
The post reads:
Coming up with this phrase really helped make Abprallen what it is today. 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.
The designer, a gay, transgender man — a biological woman attracted to males — who goes by Erik Carnell, then explained that 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. 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.
The designer used hashtags including #satan, #baphomet, #satanictemple, and #thesatanictemple.
Target, which has been under fire for a range of issues associated with this year’s pride collection — from transgender swimsuits to children’s apparel labeled as “Thoughtfully Fit on Multiple Body Types and Gender Expressions” — eventually severed ties with the designer due to the backlash.
“Given these volatile circumstances, we are making adjustments to our plans, including removing items that have been at the center of the most significant confrontational behavior,” Target stated.
Now, however, the designer associated with the Satanic apparel is denying that she is a Satanist.
“For starters, I don’t believe in Satan,” the designer said, according to MSN. “If I believed in Satan, I’d have to believe in the Bible — and I consider myself an atheist.”
Carnell previously stated that Satanists do not actually believe in Satan anyway. Notably, the Satanic Temple itself states that it does not believe in Satan “or the supernatural” either. Rather, it also views Satan as a symbol — namely one of “the Eternal Rebel in opposition to arbitrary authority, forever defending personal sovereignty even in the face of insurmountable odds.”
According to MSN, the designer opted to use “satanic imagery in some of his art to subvert a homophobic narrative that queer people are sinful, evil or otherwise ungodly.”
“It’s no different to people reclaiming slurs and trying to remove the power from it to try and use it to benefit them,” Carnell claimed before appearing to fall to victimhood.
“I think that the issue is there’s always going to be a scapegoat. There’s always going to be a figurehead,” the designer said, blaming those on the right for what has happened and expressing disappointment in Target.
“And I have fallen into that trap because a couple of right-wing people have, in bad faith, taken artwork that I have created from my own site, nothing to do with Target, and have spun a narrative to fit what they and their followers will be able to enjoy getting riled up about,” the designer added.
“At the beginning, I was a bit more lenient in understanding that their priorities were in keeping their staff safe,” Carnell continued. “And whilst I agree that it’s still the priority, it’s been a number of days now, and I would appreciate just a generic email clarifying that they’ve taken my things down and why.”
Carnell also claimed to have received death threats following the backlash, but the designer also said she has been “completely inundated with orders and every single time I get to a chunk of them, I’ve got another chunk more coming.”
Carnell also posted a lengthy statement on the matter on Instagram over the weekend.
“Whilst all brands who partnered with Target this Pride season have been impacted I feel as if I have been dealt the worst hand,” the designer wrote in an Instagram post.
“My work was likely pulled following false accusations of being a Satanist and of marketing my work to children, both claims have been debunked numerous times but members of the religious right refuse to back down,” the post continued.
“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 statement continued, as the designer said one of Target’s distributors informed her that the collection was removed “after the fact.”
“At the time of writing I am unaware of what will happen to the rest of my collection’s stock, as well as the enamel pin set and tank top I designed that were due to be launched by Target in due course,” the designer added, stating in the post that Target has not made contact.
In another post, the designer, who claims she is not a Satanist, promoted an iron-on patch of the Baphomet design again.
“I couldn’t tell you the amount of news articles, TikToks, YouTube videos, tweets, opinion pieces, hate mail, and drama that this design has generated. I mean, it totally destroyed my opportunity with Target despite it having nothing to do with them,” the post reads.
“A sensible person might disengage with a product that proudly and unashamedly declares ‘Satan Respects Pronouns’ after such an intense backlash, but someone who wants to stand by his art? He’d make an iron-on patch that can be displayed and worn proudly,” it continues.