Despite ongoing customer boycotts against Bud Light and a new controversy with Target’s latest Pride Month push, outdoor sports gear brand The North Face just debuted an over-the-top “Summer of Pride” promotion on social media.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Instagram comments were still turned on for the post. The video clip features drag queen and self-described environmentalist and community organizer Pattie Gonia. The influencer co-founded the non-profit organization The Outdoorist Oath.
The video promo boasted that the event “Summer of Pride” would include “hiking, community, art, lesbians” and “lesbians making art.” The company sponsored the same event last summer in multiple cities.
This year, Summer of Pride will be visiting Atlanta and Salt Lake City.
“Nature lets you be who you are, so, for the second year in a row [North Face] is hosting Summer of Pride together with [Pattie Gonia] (they/she) to celebrate you and all the beautiful ways you get outside,” the post caption says.
“And because we believe that exploration can take many shapes and forms, we’re making these events so much more than just a hiking tour. We’ll have workshops, panels and activities for all individuals who love to be outside,” it says.
Commenters had mixed reactions to the video.
“Sexual preference doesn’t need to be showcased in every single brand to sell stuff,” one person wrote.
“Y’all gonna learn reallllll quick. You push an agenda that goes against THE MAJORITY OF your customers values, you gonna lose customers. You’re digging your own grave that’s what doesn’t make sense to me,” another user wrote.
An official North Face Instagram account, The North Face Trail, addressed the negative comments in the thread.
“We recognize the opportunity our brand has to shape the future of the outdoors and we want that future to be a more accepting and loving place,” the statement said. “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,” it continued with a link to the company’s zero-tolerance policy.
The video subject, Pattie Gonia, also addressed the backlash in the thread. “i realize for some of y’all this might be the first time you’re seeing someone in drag so i thought i’d explain a little,” the influencer wrote.
“you might be thinking to yourself- why do you do this? well, drag is an art form i use to celebrate femininity, have FUN and bring community together. i do what i do to diversify the outdoors and make the trails a more welcoming space for everyone- especially people who have been left out and don’t feel welcome. i don’t expect you to understand what i/we do but i do ask that you respect it.”