This week a number of LGBT blogs were quick to cry homophobia when it turned out Target wasn’t going to be carrying Frank Ocean’s debut, Channel Orange, which drops July 17.
The idea was Frank’s admission of a same-sex relationship was out of line with the store’s ideology.
Sorry, but that’s gotta be one of the dumbest things we’ve heard all week. (And you wouldn’t believe how much shit flies across our desk.) Yes, there was some question about a group the company donated to once, but Target carries music by plenty of gay and lesbian artists—Melissa Etheridge, Elton John, Adam Lambert, Ricky Martin, etc. They’ve sold Pride T-shirts. Hell, they even carry Brokeback Mountain on Blu-ray.
But the word went out and, once an allegation like that is made, it’s almost impossible to unmake it. Leading the charge was Ocean’s manager, Christian Clancy, who tweeted that it was “interesting” the big-box store wasn’t carrying the album, “since they also donate to non-equal rights organizations.” Ocean himself tweeted that you could blame the decision “on a generational gap”
But Ocean’s team decided to release Channel Orange on iTunes a week before brick-and-mortar stores like Target could carry it. That’s why it decided not to order the record: Target’s pissed, and it’s fighting back. (A similar maneuver was made by Barnes & Noble last year when DC Comics announced it wasn’t releasing graphic novels through B&N’s Nook device.)
Clancy knew that, but this makes for good publicity. As does Ocean’s revelation days before the big push for the album and an appearance on Jimmy Fallon. Is this just a case of an artist and his people being anxious after a controversial move, or are we looking at an orchestrated media blitz fueled by a conveniently timed coming out?
It’s happened before.
Target stepped in to defend itself in a statement that clarified “the claims made about Target’s decision to not carry the Frank Ocean album are absolutely false. Target supports inclusivity and diversity in every aspect of our business. Our assortment decisions are based on a number of factors, including guest demand.”
Clancy either regretted his charge, or realized he got the attention he wanted, and recanted his original statement: “My response was simply an emotional knee jerk reaction,” he said. “I apologize for my comments about Target,” he tweeted. “They are not carrying Franks album because it went digital first. Not for ANY other reason.”
Still, you just know those morons at Focus on the Family are going to claim some kind of “victory.”