Here’s How Lady Gaga Is Rationalizing Her Get Rich Quick Scheme With Target

With an exclusive deal with Target and 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.

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  • Qwerty

    I disagree. Gaga wouldn’t sell out her fans for cash. It’s likely that they sweet talked her into believing they were going to change, because she’s been offered money to do lots of things in the past that she turned down (Playboy, 3D movies, acting parts). She doesn’t really need extra cash, and this deluxe version is also selling on iTunes (from what I’ve read in press releases) and in all Canadian retailers, and more than likely from her official website. So 1) you don’t have to buy from Target, 2) She is not selling out the gay crowd for dough, and 3) she’s being manipulated. Does it look like she has enough hours in the day to find out every business deal Target has ever made? She probably genuinely believes that, because of her, they will change. And when she finds out they won’t, I’ll take I wild guess that she’ll pull any sort of partnership out. Seeing as the entire album is an ode against prejudice, it would be all sorts of ironic if she didn’t, and more than that, incredibly improbable.

  • Kev C

    Lady Gaga repealled DADT by annoying John McCain. And now she turned Target into an all gay corporation. Huzzah!

  • kernelt

    I Love her no matter what, but I still don’t think it’s best of her to associate with Target [a bunch of assholes who shit where they eat]. I say, let them suffer and know how strong our community is when messing with us…

  • Crabby

    Again, who cares about why why why? She lost 2 monsters in this haus. Dumb bitch can’t even stick to what she says she stands for.

  • Red Meat

    You guys a queerty are just bitter gays. Lady Gaga had everything to do with it, Target is just trying to give credit to all gay activist that they had meetings with to please them. In the end, Lady Gaga has the money and power. You are trying to somehow call Lady Gaga a liar because you have doubts on if this changed anything and implying that Lady Gaga only cares about money. Which is such a lie since everyone knows her tour and performances are so expensive she makes almost no profit at all and she is fine wih that.

  • Shannon1981

    I kind of think that perhaps her label and/or management leaned on her for this deal. I think GaGa herself really is pro gay, but she is not immune to having to play the industry game and do as her label and management say or risk being dropped. At the end of the day, she had to make a choice. I admit to not being happy about said choice-I don’t trust Target and their gay insiders as far as I can throw them- but its been made. Shes a multi million dollar icon in the making. I don’t think anyone in that position would risk pissing off their management, including the people here who trash her for what she is doing.

  • reason

    Smart move by Target, the gay youth most of which only have cash, will have to head to target to get the album. The majority of them will not have any idea that Target has been involved with a GBLT controversy. Plus, bringing them into the store when they are young will likely result in them shopping there when they are older. Even those that have a means to purchase on the internet may not want their parents to know that they are listing to GAGA.

  • Riker

    Here’s how this works so far:

    Target gives to a pro-business candidate (who also happens to be antigay)

    Gays call them out on it

    Target: “Yeah, we screwed up, we’re going to look into how it happened and what we can do to fix it.”

    Gays: “Liars!”

    Target: “Okay, we reviewed, and here’s what we’re going to change.”

    Gays: “Liars!”

    Target: “We’re meeting with GLBT groups, we really do care about you guys”

    Gays: “Liars!”

    Lady GaGa: “I talked with them and they really are changing, I made it a condition of my deal with them.”

    Gays: “Liar!”

    See how repetitive that sounds? The more Target tells us they’re changing it, and the more shrill we get, the more untenable our position will become. What will it take or you to believe them?

  • Crabby

    @Riker: A public apology would have done it for me.

  • Red Meat

    @Shannon1981: I would believe you if the artist in question was not Lady Gaga, she has complete control over her label. One of the advantages of coming from inside the label and not outside, don’t forget she wrote music for other artist before she became famous, because we all know Britney can’t write shit.

  • Eric

    I wonder if Queerty editors relentlessly heckle their grandparents for donating to the GOP.

  • Crabby

    @Yuki: According to documents filed with the FEC in October 2010, Target continued donating to a bevy of anti-gay politicians even after Steinhafel apologized and committed to reforming the review process for future political donations. These donations even included some of the same anti-gay politicians the company had already been criticized for supporting.

  • Crabby

    @Yuki: After Steinhafel’s August 5 letter, Target’s Political Action Committee, helmed by the former right hand of Senator Thune, Matt Zabel, recorded $41,200 in federal election activity. Of that total, $31,200 went to anti-gay rights politicians or PACs supporting those candidates.
    Supporters of gay equality did get some money. In September, Target PAC gave $1,000 to Chuck Schumer. It also sent a whole $500 to Keith Ellison, the Minnesota Congressman that anti-gay leader Bradley Dean accuses of supporting LGBT rights as a way to bring Sharia law to America.

    But donations such as $1,000 to Kelly Ayotte (reported on September 22), who resigned her state post in protest of the legalization of gay marriage and same sex adoption, are far more the norm.

    That same day, there is a record of a donation by Target PAC to Spencer Bachus, who voted to ban same-sex adoption. Michigan’s David Camp, who, in addition to supporting a Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage, voted against protecting gays from job discrimination based on sexual orientation, also reported money. Through October, Target PAC thousands of dollars in donations were recorded to Michael Crapo and Dave Reichert, both supporters of anti-gay Constitutional amendments, and Rob Portman, a supporter of banning gays from adopting. Portman’s position on other gay rights won’t surprise. On October 4, a donation was reported: $2,000 to David Dreier, whose position on gay rights is quite a bit of theatre.

  • Shannon1981

    @Red Meat: IDK anything about GaGa’s label or her relationship with them, or what power lies where. All I know is that often artists have to bend to look out for the bottom line, and that is what this seems like. GaGa just devoted an ENTIRE ALBUM to anti prejudice themes. I just don’t see her being anti gay. That being said, though, youtube will do just fine for me listening to what she has to say and enjoying her music. No Target for me.

  • Matt F

    In all these years of being in business, I smile because I have never heard the word “thoughtful” used in any context.

    I like GaGa but won’t be going to Target to buy her music. The CEO should go…he has cost the company millions. Target has probably picked up a few gay hating christians along the way, who make it a point to shop there now. However, I don’t think they have come anywhere near making up the cost of lost business from the GLBT community and their gay friendly straight friends.

    Still, I will not be darkening the door way of any Target. The support in the past to GLBT rights does not eclipse the damage they have done with the corporate donations “right here and now”.

  • SKOC211

    Yes, because Gaga – who, according to Forbes, is on track to make $100 million this year and, also considering that the majority of her earnings do not come from record sales – really needs this get rich quick scheme. Yep. Totally makes sense.

  • Justin

    @Yuki: You said they did apologize months ago, and gave a link. It was not an apology to you or to me. It was an “I’m sorry” ONLY directed at those Target employees who had bitched about it.
    The public has yet to receive an apology, and as other posters point out, THE DONATIONS CONTINUE. So much for their being sorry!

  • Stan

    This is ridiculous. All of you uppity, organic food consuming, latte-sipping, gay men (& lesbians, transgendered folks, etc) living in gay neighborhoods of New York City & San Francisco can do all of your general merchandise shopping at LGBT-owned (or friendly) businesses, pound your activist fist & scream about boycotting Target.

    But for gay people (particularly gay youth coming to terms with being gay) in “Red State America” or the “flyover states”, Target may be probably one of the most LGBT-supportive major retailers (& employers) around. Where do you think Wal-Mart stands when it comes to supporting LGBT issues?

    Ordering & shipping products online with credit cards may not be feasible for some gay people (especially closeted or young teens). I wouldn’t be surprised if Target would be the only major retailer selling Lady Gaga’s “Born this way” in Republican-heavy, medium sized towns in the Midwest & South.

    Encouraging in positive dialogue with Target is the answer. If you think boycotting Target is the answer, please ask Pepsi & Home Depot how effective AFA & conservative Christian boycotts against them have been.

  • John

    Big biz plays BOTH $ide$ against the middle to ensure profits?!
    A recording artist NEEDS to earn a living?!
    LGBTQ AND Str8 kids groovin’ to Lady Gaga?!
    Those who are bright enough to make up their own minds, WILL?!
    Those who aren’t NEVER will?!!!

    The shards of shattered illusions once again litter the landscape of life…

    If Target starts to fund THEN I’ll be outraged.

  • Kev C

    @Stan: I never saw a big difference between Tar-Mart or Wal-Get. I know some housewives are adamant about shopping at Target because they have less blacks, mexicans and WT, but really, it isn’t some gay paradise. And people can shop for quality products online without mingling with the hoi polloi.

  • justiceontherocks

    @Yuki: That’s no apology your moron. That’s a suit saying “I’m sorry what I did hurt your feelings.”

    An apology is “I did the wrong thing.” He NEVER said that.

  • Red Meat

    @Shannon1981: Thank you for pointing out the sleeping fact here: you guys don’t know. Just so you understand how much creative freedom gaga has, no one in her record label had heard born this way until it was release. If you knew anything about the music industry, you would know this is unheard of, the Beatles, Madonna, Whitney, no one does that because they are not part of the whole production.

  • Stan

    @Kev C: So Kev C, that’s your solution for gay youth & gay people living in the Bible Belt? Just be forced to do all of your shopping online because no local stores or establishments are “gay paradises”?

    If you live in a place like New York City or San Francisco, perhaps you have the luxury of being able to do all of your shopping at LGBT-owned businesses, eat only at LGBT-owned restaurants, and only associate with people who are openly gay, or at the very least, politically liberal.

    But that’s not feasible for gay people who live in medium-sized towns in the Midwest or South. Target may not be a “gay paradise,” but at least it’s more supportive of the LGBT community than a LOT of other kinds of businesses in the Midwest, South, and Alaska.

    So for that gay teenager in a small town in Tennessee who hears his pastor say that gays are an “abomination,” his father use the word “f****t,” and his congressman say that “gay marriage will never be allowed,” having a local store like Target that does sell a Lady Gaga CD, and that does publicize that it does provide benefits for domestic partners, etc — can be a small yet powerful thing.

  • Shannon1981

    @Red Meat: actually, I do know a little something about the industry, and I realize that is unusual. My mom demo sang before I was born, and I followed suit in my early 20’s. So, yes, while I am no expert…I do know a little something, and simply *assumed* that GaGa’s label had her by the balls.

  • Kev C

    @Stan: People living in big cities aren’t exactly shopping in gay land either. They go basically to the same stores unless they have extra money. Maybe cities like NYC were gay meccas in the 80s, but it’s pretty much working-class people who shop at malls and call people faggots. If people have money, they can have nice things, including nice lives with fun, supportive people. But they aren’t going to automatically find it by going to a big city or by going to Target.

  • thematics

    The real answer is to just stop buying ANYTHING from a US-based retailer until the US overturns DOMA and passes ENDA.

    That’s not practical, of course, but that’s where this logic of boycotting Target goes. Do we really want to increase WalMart’s business or support Amazon?

  • John B

    I always knew Lady Gaga was homophobic. That is why she supports the remake of her song by a 10-year old with the gay references stripped.

  • AFruit4Thought

    @Stan: I think the intention of the Target boycott was to do your best to not to shop in the store. I’ve been in small towns where Walmart is the only place to get items, and if you need the items, you shop there.

    By do your best to boycott, I don’t mean shopping at Target because you refuse to walk a few blocks to another store, or shopping at Target if you think it’s too difficult to go to multiple stores for your purchases.

    I recently had to shop at Target because it was the cheapest place to get the essentials that I needed. But, like before my current economic situation, I will continue to do my best not to shop at Target. And yes, for me that means going to three different stores to get what I need. I proudly do this (and use a bike to not waste gas).

  • jason

    Why would a gay person be automatically attracted to Lady Gaga? I know gay men who would rather listen to AC/DC than Lady Gaga. Stop making the assumption that all gay men love the music of divas and that all gay men must therefore love Lady Gaga. Doesn’t work that way.

    As for her arrangement with Target, it just proves that, at the end of the day, all that Lady Gaga cares about is money.

  • Lvng1tor

    @Qwerty: Exactly IRONIC!

  • Lvng1tor

    @Eric: So if my grandparents were all like “We love the gays! I stand up for you. I love you gay gay GAY GAY GAY. Buy my old people stuff cause I love the gays” and then partnered with a company like Target who has NEVER apologized for hugely insulting, damaging campaign contributions in the name of corporate greed simply cause they said “sure we’ll do a good job Old Grand Parent People. We wont say how but here’s an insainly huge check! Yes I would check them in public BIG TIME!

  • kwool

    Maybe some of you in the big cities don’t realize this:

    for those of us living in rural areas, this is ALL we have. This is our most gay-friendly retailer, this is a company that supports our local economy, this is a place that is better than all of the alternatives, this is a place that gives me a good value (I’m a student). I don’t have your favorite “gay” stores to choose from. I live in Iowa, for God’s sake.

    I CAN’T go to Whole Foods, or wherever you go. This is the place. It IS unfortunate that the donations were made, yes, but in reality, this is the most friendly place I can go.

    Stop whining for once. All large corporations have their own interests in mind.

  • OneOfTwins

    That’s a very good point, Kwool. And, though I myself live near one of the major “glamorous” cities and can shop there, I do have to watch my money (like most people) and do shop at Target (and walmart) for all kinds of things. And I also hate the way those stores are destroying the traditional “main street” USA with its variety of stores, but……Target and the like do have the best value for most of the same things you’d buy elsewhere.

  • alan brickman

    The ten year old removed the gay from her song…and she’s ok with that???? What gives?…..

  • Cam

    @Red Meat: said..

    You guys a queerty are just bitter gays. Lady Gaga had everything to do with it, Target is just trying to give credit to all gay activist that they had meetings with to please them.”

    Give me a break, if Target had funnelled money to David Duke, NOBODY would be attacking black groups for boycotting them, and if a celeb like GaGa then made a deal with them, nobody would be saying that the black groups were just being “Bitter”. So put away your little fangirl pathetic obsession. She made a deal with the devil, and I won’t be buying anything of hers coming through Target. Sorry for being “Bitter” I guess people giving money to politicians with ties to groups that think gays should be killed makes me lose my sunny smile….how silly of me.

  • Owen

    If I know Gaga, if they support just ONE more anti-gay candidate she will publicly come out AGAINST the store and its products. She could be sued, but she’s got more money’n God anyway, she could care less. Target better watch themselves, and Queerty better watch and make sure so Gaga knows! She reads this blog, right?

  • Shannon1981

    @kwool: While I do understand that unless you live in some gay mecca, you can’t do everything all gay all the time. Believe me I know. I live in homophobiaville,SC. But luckily I sort of have the means to shop around, and set foot in a Wal Mart once a year, and haven’t set foot in Target or Chik Fil A since the stories on them broke. So do what you can, is all I am saying.

    However, I disagree that it is whining. If you know something like this about a company, if you can boycott them, do it. Its hardly whining when a corporation the size of Target funds people who advocate gay genocide.

  • John B

    So, Lady Caca approves a ten-year old removing “gay” from her song. It shows what a sell-out she is. I’m only 23, but just started listening to Madonna and watching what she did. It’s far more groundbreaking.

  • TJ

    Whats really sad to me is that adult men and women on this forum have an obsession with Gaga that is profound enough for them to give her the benefit of the doubt for supporting a homophobic company. If there were ever evidence of the psychological trauma gay youths face it is found in the unfounded straight female pop star worship. “Gaga can do know wrong… We must worship her because she doesn’t think we should be discriminated against… unless she’s getting paid for it….”
    Blech. Anyway Gaga is a fraud she is basically using the gay community to promote herself.

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