bad for business

No Gilt-Free Shopping When You’re In Bed With Target: Spenders Revolt Against Designer Sale Site

Is everything Target touches turning to garbage? Already facing the wrath of America’s gays, the retailer’s disease is spreading to other companies teaming up with it. Just this week we saw protesters outside Andre Balzas’ Standard Hotel in New York City, which was hosting Target’s “kaleidoscope” fall fashion preview, furious over the corporate dollars flowing to Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer. Now they’re sinking their fangs into the designer sale site Gilt.

Gilt Group, which runs “members-only” (i.e. enter your email address to sign up) sales that help designers unload inventory, offered a pop-up Target sale that promises “early and exclusive sneak-peek access to three exciting new Target collaborations with the likes of Tucker, Mulberry and John Derian.” It also invited the wrath of those furious with Target to unload on its Facebook page.

These are just some of the comments posted in the last couple hours:

Responded Gilt chief Susan Lyne: “Some of you have noted that Gilt benefits from the efforts and talent of the LGBT community — and you are absolutely right. We consider ourselves lucky to work in an industry that flourishes precisely because it embraces diversity and change. As a company and a community we are better, more creative, more successful because of the contributions of our LGBT colleagues. The sale we are doing with Target today is the result of many months of work on the part of Gilt employees and Target team members far removed from decisions about corporate political contributions. I am grateful to both groups for the care and effort they put into bringing something special to our respective customers. Whether you visit the sale today or not, please know that we will continue to celebrate the contributions of our LGBT employees and vendor partners and to support their events wherever we can. As always, thank you for engaging with us, today and every day.”

Huh. Doesn’t that sound exactly like Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel’s own initial remarks after the furor began over the company’s MN Forward donation? Yes, yes it does. Last month, Steinhafel thought this would ease the criticism: “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.”

So that should totally take care of things, Gilt.

[Above clip: Behind-the-scenes at Gilt’s Target product shoot]

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  • Ian

    Reminds me of both POTUS Obama & the Democratic Party in general talking out of both sides of their mouths and thinking if they give some hollow platitudes of kindness it will get the gay community to simply “shut up and again get to the back of the bus” on our demands for our equal rights, and our calling out when either corporations or political parties fall far short of their promises of acceptance and belief in our equality, when the color of green $$$ makes those promises false real fast.

  • Michael

    I’m getting tired of being told where to shop. The advertising industry is simply being replaced by special interest groups.

  • The Milkman

    Michael, no one can make you stop shopping at Target. Read the facts, weigh your options, and then make your own decision.

    I, for one, will likely shop someplace else. Anything Target sells can be had at a host of other retailers for comparable prices.

  • CJ

    Another target story? It’s becoming a daily thing here.

  • Gregg

    @Michael: You are absolutely right. Thanks to the court’s decision to liberalize corporate political spending, advertising agencies are now at a real disadvantage. Although Target’s $150,000 was spent the wrong way, look at the results – nationwide awareness, for chump change. As if print media isn’t already suffering enough, this is yet another nail to the coffin.

  • Pip

    job growth isn’t a policy proposal. its a cause. also, ‘job growth’ isn’t a partisan issue. that’s like saying you support happiness and sunshine. does target give money to democratic politicians who support job growth as well? how does target feel about universal health care? how about taxes? should rich people be taxed more, so that the poor don’t have to go into foreclosure because they can’t afford their hospital bills?

    in short, don’t expect to enter the political arena and not get called out on it.

  • Stenar

    We should start TARGETting designers who sell their wares at TARGET to stop their associations with TARGET.

    Michael Graves, Sean Conway, Mossimo, Zac Posen, Thomas O’Brien, Napoleon Perdis, Jean Paul Gaultier, Christiane Lemieux, Petra Strand, Cynthia Vincent, Jemma Kid, Eugenia Kim, Liz Lange, Jaye Hersh, Sonia Kashuk, Rachel Ashwell, Isabelle de Borchgrave, and Giada De Laurentis

  • HeroQueero

    Wow. Am I awake? I mean, are some of you really worried about where you’re gonna shop now because standing up for equality is inconvenient? I’m sure when Matthew Shepard was being beaten to death he worried that it might put a monkeywrench in his mom’s department store selection. Or maybe if Harvey Milk would’ve just let everything be then we’d have even more places to shop for crap made in China. Fighting for equality as a homosexual in this current version of the world is by far ONE OF THE HARDEST THINGS you can do! And we have to become so present everywhere that it’s not even considered to be an issue anymore. And we have to do this by showing the world that WE. ARE. EVERYWHERE. That we are part of this world like everybody else and deserve the right to live our lives. We have to show these corrupt corporate elitists that greed does not, and will not anymore, shape our culture. They wanna support people who promote division and stereotypes? Fine. But count me out. I’ve seen too many of us sacrifice ourselves just to say to the world, “I am free to be who I really am and I am not afraid!” I remember what it was like to grow up thinking that I would have to live in hiding all the time. And be afraid all the time. NOT ANYMORE! I’VE HAD ENOUGH! I have stepped back and seen the greater picture. I KNOW what this fight is worth. It’s worth so much more than mass produced products made without conscience or passion. If you want more options then shop locally! Support your local gay and gay-friendly businesses. Or start one of your own. Give the money to those whose actions reveal them to be true compassionate beings who are aware of what discrimination and intolerance can destroy and what equality and community can create. So next time you get upset because Target is having a really good sale and you promised not shop there, remember this:

    “Cowardice asks the question – is it safe?
    Expediency asks the question – is it politic?
    Vanity asks the question – is it popular?
    But conscience asks the question – is it right?
    And there comes a time when one must take a position
    that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular;
    but one must take it because it is right.”

    ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Scotty B

    @Pip: Don’t for get about targets newest designers Tucker, Mulberry and John Darien (who I also gay)    
    6 East Second Street
    (Between 2nd Avenue and The Bowery)
    NEW YORK NY 10003
    [email protected]
    [P] 212.677.3917

  • Michael

    @Stenar: Be sure to let us know when any of these people decide to stop doing business with Target.

  • Bubba in TX

    OK, HeroQueero–your point is well-taken. But I just want to know where I can shop for clothes, groceries and other household items. There are no gay businesses near me, and I’m not sure how to find out what businesses are gay-friendly.

    I’m just looking for a little guidance here. Are there any national department store and/or supermarket chains that HAVEN’T given (directly or indirectly) to anti-gay groups or politicians?

    Can we go back to trusting HRC’s shopping guide now that they have removed Target? Is there another source to find out this kind of information?

  • Bubba in TX

    OK, HeroQueero–your point is well-taken. But I just want to know where I can shop for clothes, groceries and other household items. There are no gay businesses near me, and I’m not sure how to find out what businesses are gay-friendly.

    I’m just looking for a little guidance here. Are there any national department store and/or supermarket chains that HAVEN’T given (directly or indirectly) to anti-gay groups or politicians?

    Can we go back to trusting HRC’s shopping guide now that they have removed Target from their list? Is there another source to find out this kind of information?

  • Frank

    Who the fuck shops at Target?

  • Tomas

    This is absurd. On issues like marriage equality, the message is; “we are no different from you.” On issues that involve money, the message is; “if you want our money, you have to be just like us.” What exactly is it, that somebody is trying to do for me with my donated money?

  • Tomas

    @Bubba in TX: You should only trust the AARP. People over 50 know what’s best.

  • Ian

    @Frank: You mean as opposed to the bottom of the homophobic barrel like Walmart, or are you being urban elitist and refering to those types of overpriced fancy stores that only exist in major cities on the coasts?

  • John Smith

    Enough with these boycotts and the internet fascists leading virtual lynch mobs. This is no way to be taken seriously. If we don’t shop at Target, do Walmart or Kmart or any other large corporations have a different political agenda? I don’t think so. Pick your battles. The point has been made.

  • Frank

    @Ian: The latter of course – DC/LA….

  • Dan

    That health care law rocks. It has already saved me $2200 dollars.

  • Scudder

    Beware of those who urge you to end this boycott. They probably have a hidden agenda in support of Target.

    I urge you to write Target (if you haven’t already) and tell them why this is important to you. True, you’ll get a form letter response, but they need to know we are a force to reckon with.

  • Jim Stone

    I wonder if Target was around in the 1930’s if they would have donated money to the Nazi party??? It is kind of the same thing!! Hitler was all about job creation and strengthening the economy…social issues were just a “little part” of his agenda…

  • JC

    I am all about a boycott against Target, but I am sure not going to boycott manufacturers or designers who sell to Target. I mean geez, somewhere we need to say when does the boycott become ineffective and counterproductive.

  • L.

    That’s 27 articles about Target in the last month only (or as many as Davey Wavey posts since the *beginning of March*.)

    So, either Target is the most homophobic company around, like, *ever*, or you may want to target (haha) worse offenders.

  • reason

    Normally I would say this is ridiculous, granted that Target has had a pretty good track record most likely better than any other store your going to find in suburban sprawl. There is something much bigger taking place here though, and that is corporate spending in politics. Money makes a huge difference in politics just as it does in justice. The corporations have a new tool to stomp out the voice of the average citizen and push government official further in to their hands. Well I hope that real damage is done to Target to send a message to the other companies, keep your greedy noses out of politics. I say attack everyone related to Target.

  • WalkderDC

    @John Smith:

    John, please stop pretending that this is just because of a job growth polticial agenda. Targets CEO’s son attends the Institute organized and run by Focus on the Family. The politician who was supported by the donation is tied to a group that believes in killing gays. This was not an accidental donation.

    Also, does anybody else notice that whenever some group does something, like donate money to politicians who believe in killing gays, they always try to say that they have lots of gay employees and love them? Yeah, and lots of racists have black friends.

  • Kurt

    Let’s be clear. When Target says “jobs growth” they less rights and benefits for employees, including gay employees. Boycott them!

    That being said, I tend to think secondary boycotts are not productive.

  • ousslander

    doesn’t target offer benefits to domestic partners?

  • Markie-Mark

    This boycott is very important. The punishment for corporations who get involved in politics should be swift and sever. Corporations should stay out of politics. If Target goes out of business (and I hope they do) maybe it will be a good lesson to other corporations that they should stick to their business. And this is the perfect way to tell the Specious Court that voters do not approve of their crappy decision which allows corporations to buy our elections.

  • PatrickJh

    Just thought you’d also appreciate that GILT is now taking down all the Target-related comments on their Facebook page, in all but the thread by Susan Lyne, the GILT-y CEO.

    They’ve also set up “GILT + Others” filters to keep public comments of their front page, and they are also banning users from posting (myself included).

    So while Ms. Lyne says she wants to “celebrate the contributions of our LGBT employees and vendor partners and to support their events wherever we can.” apparently she wants us to do it quietly, and from the back room.

    Same tactics Target took on its own “social networking” page.

  • PatrickJh

    @John Smith: John: The most lynch mob imagery, and language, has been coming from the radical anti-Gay movement. Oh yeah, and the peopel supporting Target on their own Facebook page.

  • PatrickJh

    @ousslander: They have, which makes this donation such an act of community betrayal and overwhelming hypocrisy.

Comments are closed.