I’m pretty much a clothes horse. I spend a decent amount of money on colorful clothing that expresses my moods — Hey, I’m a colorful person.
And too, my vacuum cleaner bag is getting full, and I need to buy some more bags pretty soon.
Normally, I’d just head off to the local Target at the Mission Valley Mall and grab some hangers and vacuum cleaner bags. Not now though. I’ve had one of those “stop and think” moments about where I spend my pink dollars.
Target and Best Buy have now joined McDonalds and Denny’s as businesses I choose to avoid, when possible. This is because the parent company of Target and Best Buy donated $150,000.00 to a political PAC that is working anti-LGBT gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer (Republican, Minnesota) elected. (Target/Best Buy made that donation to MN Forward.)
Quoting The Daily Beast‘s Target’s Political Agenda?:
Is the $10 you spend on a shirt at Target going toward anti-gay groups? Target gave $150,000 to MN Forward, a political group that has endorsed and pays for ads for Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, a fervent opponent of gay marriage. Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel denied any political agenda in an email to staffers, and insisted the Target’s support for the GLBT community is “unwavering.” Despite Target’s defense, a Facebook group called “Boycott Target Until They Cease Funding Anti-Gay Politics” already has 5,000 members. Best Buy also defended its $100,00 contribution to MN Forward, and said the corporation supported the group because it makes “jobs and economic issues a top priority in this election.” Corporations only recently became allowed to donate money to campaign advertising following the Supreme Court’s January ruling reversing campaign finance laws that had prevented their involvement.
Some “unwavering support” by Target, eh? Donating to a candidate who has not exactly been a friend to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. To quote Abe Sauer at The AWL:
Emmer says marriage “is the union between one man and one woman” and he supports the constitutional marriage amendment defining marriage as such.
The AWL has given us even more information on Emmer’s position on LGBT civil rights (as well as a take on the choice Target has made in choosing a “pro-business” candidate over LGBT community members and allies) in their piece Real America: Target CEO Chooses “Business” over Gay Rights:
Some of the details about Emmer’s anti-gay positions are only now getting more attention. For example, while his position against gay marriage was well known, his direct support for a group that advocates the execution of homosexuals overseas is just now receiving wider exposure (even though his possible finance violation associated with this group was known back in May).
There’s more in that articles from The AWL about how anti-progressive Tom Emmer is that you may want to read up on, but this gem from the first The AWL piece I linked to kinda sums up where this guy Emmer is coming from:
Emmer is popular with the Tea Party and has its “official” support, as much as anything is official in the party’s terrorism-cell-like structure. Not surprisingly, he also has the support of Sarah Palin. She endorsed him as a “hockey dad.”
Target’s CEO sent out an internal memo to their staff that’s included below the fold:From the internal memorandum from Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel, as reported by The AWL:
Dear Target Team,
In the past week I’ve heard from some of you, including our GLBT team members, regarding your concerns with Target’s recent contributions to MN Forward, an independent expenditure committee that is supported by a broad coalition of large and small businesses throughout the state, including the Minnesota Business Partnership and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.
As you know, Target has a history of supporting organizations and candidates, on both sides of the aisle, who seek to advance policies aligned with our business objectives, such as job creation and economic growth. MN Forward is focused specifically on those issues and is committed to supporting candidates from any party who will work to improve the state’s job climate. However, it is also important to note that we rarely endorse all advocated positions of the organizations or candidates we support, and we do not have a political or social agenda.
In the context of this contribution, some of you have raised questions regarding our commitment to diversity, and more specifically, the GLBT community. Let me be very clear, Target’s support of the GLBT community is unwavering, and inclusiveness remains a core value of our company. Some current examples of that support include:
• Domestic Partner Benefits
• Sponsorship of Twin Cities Pride
• Sponsorship of Minnesota AIDS Walk
In addition, Target’s rating of 100% on the 2009 and 2010 Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index further demonstrates the reputation our company has earned.
As CEO, I consider it my responsibility to create conditions in which Target can thrive, and I promise to do so with the best interests of our guests, team, shareholders and communities in mind. I appreciate your input and understanding.
Well, Gregg’s explanation isn’t washing with me. The Human Rights Campaign CEI score isn’t going to factor in my decision to shop at Target at all because Target is politically supporting a candidate who is against equality under the law for LGBT community members. They’re supporting a “pro-business”/anti-LGBT candidate. That isn’t atoned for with their internal corporate policies that favor LGBT community members — to me, that makes their political donation to Emmer look like the act of an untrustworthy and duplicitous corporation.
I’m going to find a different store to buy my notched clothes hangers; I’m going to find a different store to buy my vacuum cleaner bags. And, of course, whatever else I’d normally go to Target or Best Buy for, I’ll be looking for some other store to buy those goods and services from.
Target needs to fix this soon, but if they don’t…well, I’m sure I’m not the only LGBT community member/customer they’re going to lose over their $150,000.00 political donation.
If Gregg Steinhafel and Target want to know how bad it can get, they need to start thinking in terms of “Manchester Hyatt.”
* MoveOn May Join Target Boycott