eating cake

Can Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel Defend LGBT Commitment While Backing Bigoted Politicians?

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.

—Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel, in an internal memo to all employees released publicly, assuring everyone Target still loves the gays despite financially supporting at least one political candidate, Tom Emmer, who believes they should be discriminated against. And as Steinhafel — who’s personally donated to Rep. Michele Bachmann! — mentions, “Target’s rating of 100% on the 2009 and 2010 Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index further demonstrates the reputation our company has earned.” It further demonstrates the meaninglessness of HRC’s quantitative scores. [AP]

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #business #campaigns #election stories and more


  • greybat

    I see. So in lieu of a Boycott, we’ll just shop there less often, and buy fewer items.

  • That Bitch Téa Delgado

    Shopped at Target today. The cashier and I bonded over our mutual dislike of Sarah Palin.

  • Noah

    One important fact the article fails to mention is that Emmer supports a Christian group that literally wants to kill gay people. Seriously. So, it’s not just that Target gave money to a PAC that supports Emmer who is blatantly anti-gay, Emmer is also giving money to said Christian douche-bag group that wants gay people cured or killed. If this is in the best interest of Target’s business, then it is a greedy corporation that will throw the GLBT community under the bus to secure profits. Target can kiss my ass. At least Wal-Mart is honest about their hatred.

  • Bill Perdue

    Companies that donate to obnoxious anti-gay candidates like the gubernatorial candidate in MN or Obama, who torpoeded same sex marraige in Califronia, should be boycotted.

    Boycott Target.

    Boycott Goldman Sachs and BP.

  • dfrw

    This story gets worse. First, Best Buy is on the list too. There are other companies on the list that donated to MN Forward as well. Also, not all states have the same strong disclosure law that is on the books in Minnesota, so no one knows the extent to which anti-gay organizations (MN Forward, Chambers of Commerce, and the usual wingnut organizations) are getting money from corporations.

    It would have been better for Target to stay out of it and donate nothing to any party or candidate.

    Companies wading into the fray under their new rights with free speech should be careful what they wish for…because they may just get what they want…with unintended consequences.

    Alas, just as Target has a right to donate to whichever causes it sees fit, including organizations and people that not only oppose gay marriage, but also oppose any rights for gay people, I have an equal right not to spend a dime at their companies.

    Gays are already pissed off, and this just makes it worse, and this revelation just makes Target well…an easy target.

  • dfrw

    Sorry, “…I have an equal right not to spend a dime at their companies” should read, “…I have an equal right not to spend a dime at its company.”

  • Pickles

    WRITE to this clown and let him know how you feel.

    Target may have a decent record with regards to domestic partner benefits and a few other issues, but that’s not good enough from a company that makes millions off gay names like:
    -Isacc Mizrahi
    -Thomas O’Brian
    -Alexander McQueen (R.I.P.)
    -Jean Paul Gaultier
    -Zac Posen

    -Not to mention the thousands of lesbian and gay Target employees that don’t need this kind of bigoted, hateful bull.

  • Steve

    A huge amount of good will can be destroyed in a day by a single bad decision. Giving lots of money to a politician who has stated clearly that gay people should be put to death, is a bad decision. It’s a bad decision on moral grounds, and a bad decision on business grounds. All of that good will is gone, completely destroyed.

    I don’t have any particular need to shop at Target this year. Everything that I want to buy is also available from other vendors. I may eventually shop at Target again, after some of those other vendors each do something to make me stop shopping at their stores.

  • tjr101

    This only shows that Target is GLBT friendly so long it helps their profit margin. Now we see what the conservative Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United gets us, corporations making unlimited contributions to bigots.

  • Hollie

    So basically, Target is financially supporting the anti-gay MN forward–oh but don’t worry-the money only goes to supporting the part that benefits the corporation financially, not the anti-gay organizations….We care about being supportive to the LGBT community, but ultimately, we seek the best economic choices (while trying to avoid making political statements).
    Ha. What a joke.

  • Mike in Phoenix

    Dear Mr. Steinhafel:

    As the CEO of one of the world’s largest retailers, I would hope that your personal political, moral and religious beliefs would not jade your corporate non-profit giving programs. I have read your response to your employees that question your disappointing treatment of the LGBT Community by donating $150,000 to MN Forward, and their anti-Gay agenda. You state that you (Target, since it really isn’t your personal money) donates to a wide variety of organizations. Your canned response by a PR lackey is frightening. Let me pose you a question: You claim Target supports diversity, OK, that may be true. But if you donate CORPORATE FUNDS to the United Negro College Fund AND the Ku Klux Klan, thats not diversity, its SICK! And that is exactly what you and your corporation has done to the LGBT Community. By supporting Gay Pride in Minneapolis or any other Pro-Gay cause, then making corporate funds available to political candidates that want to deny basic civil rights to a VERY LOYAL GAY CUSTOMER BASE, you have handed us a net lose. The figurative slap in the face to the Gay Community is quite evident to your employees, your customers, the press and the world. By issueing any statement trying to justify your monitary support of Anti-Gay political candidates and causes, you have negated ALL of your past good deeds in reference to Diversity and Civil Rights. I personally spend more than $400 per month at my local Target at 19th Avenue in Phoenix Arizona. Until you make an on-camera apology to the Gay community for your poor judgement, I will no longer be one of your customers. I am saddened that with one hand your corporation pats the Gay Community on the head, then with the other hand you stab us in the back. SHAME ON YOU MR. STEINHAFEL!

Comments are closed.