With an exclusive deal with Target and Target.com to move deluxe editions of Born This Way, Lady Gaga appeared to be throwing her little monsters under the bus in exchange for a quick paycheck. But the singer insists that when the deal was first offered to she and manager Troy Carter, they were both wary — until she met with “the entire executive staff” at the company and they wooed her. (Is this the same executive staff that funnels money to anti-gay candidates?) So how did they manage to smooth things over so Gaga could maintain her pro-gay image while making deals with a sometimes anti-gay corporate giant? By promising they were gonna be nice to gays. Uh huh.
“That discussion was one of the most intense conversations I’ve ever had in a business meeting,” Gaga tells Billboard as part of the magazine’s cover story. “Part of my deal with Target is that they have to start affiliating themselves with LGBT charity groups and begin to reform and make amends for the mistakes they’ve made in the past…our relationship is hinged upon their reform in the company to support the gay community and to redeem the mistakes they’ve made supporting those groups.”
Oh really? Then let’s make those terms of the deal public. No, we don’t need to know how much money Target is paying Gaga to carry her deluxe album exclusively, although I’d take that information too. But let’s see the deal sheet that lays out what steps Target is taking to revamp its giving policies, and what Gaga had to do with it. Because while Gaga says “part of my deal” was for Target to make good, the company’s own chief spokesflack Dustee Jenkins says Target’s decision to change its policies was not directly related to the singer. “We very much appreciated the conversation and the dialogue with [Lady Gaga] and her team all along the way,” Jenkins says. “They’ve been a wonderful partner in this and they certainly shared their feedback.” But it was more than Gaga’s supposed demands — like meeting with unnamed LGBT groups, and seeing their brand affinity get shat on — that allegedly changed things.
Except, as we’ve noted exhaustively, Target’s policies haven’t changed. Like always, the company will donate money to LGBT causes. (Jenkins points to the “almost a half-million dollars” the company earmarked to give to groups like Out and Equal Workplace, Project 515 and Twin Cities Pride, which has its own Target-tinged problems.) Also like always, Target will find excuses to give money to anti-gay candidates that help its bottom line. Target will now, according to Jenkins, be more “thoughtful” with its political donations. Thoughtful? That word means shit in business. And you shouldn’t place any weight on it.
We can appreciate Gaga for discussing her Target deal somewhat openly. But in the end she made a business decision, not a moral one — the same sort of decision Target made in donating money to MN Forward to try to elect Tom Emmer governor of Minnesota. And despite what Gaga says, the company has not changed its ways. It still has a big anti-gay bullseye on its back. And it somehow managed to convince the world’s most influential pop star to shill for its message, giving her stamp of approval for you to end whatever boycott of Target you might be maintaining.
Everyone wins. Except for gay Americans.