Target’s CEO: Please STFU About Our Anti-Gay Donations

Gregg Steinhafel’s $23.9 million salary isn’t enough for the Target CEO to put up with your annoying-ass questions about his company’s donations to a Minnesota anti-gay candidate. When repeatedly asked about their anti-gay endorsement during this week’s annual shareholders meeting, Steinhafel said, “Does anybody have a question relating to our business that is unrelated to political giving? I would love to hear any question related to something else.”

Then, when asked about their stance on Minnesota’s ballot amendment banning same-sex marriage, he said, “Our position at this particular time is that we are going to be neutral on that particular issue, as we would be on other social issues that have polarizing points of view.”

Neutral. How very Swiss.

Is neutrality even possible in a nationwide civil rights battle? Could any business or person stay neutral during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s? Either you think all races should be equal or you don’t—the same goes for queers.

So… Target won’t be making ANY political donations then to ANY candidates ever again so as not to endorse pro or anti-gay political stances, right? And Target doesn’t care if its gay-coupled employees get financially screwed during tax season, just so long as they purport to be pro-LGBT by providing benefits to their queer employees under their own roofs, right?

How very moderate. How very pro-nothing. How very… neutral.

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  • Cam

    Neutral isn’t neutral, if you are staying neutral on a civil rights issue, then you are opposed.

    As for him not wanting to answer questions…I find it interesting that this CEO feels he shouldn’t have to answer for a decision that he himself made. How terrible that he is being questioned for his bigotry.

  • Steve

    This is so not a big deal. Let it go.

    Target is a responsible company that does a lot of good for various communities. I agree with Steinhafel: STFU already.

  • Mac McNeill

    Steve either you’re straight or you just don’t give a crap about gay rights. Personally until Target mades a donation to gay rights for the same amount they donated to the loset then I’ll gladly and “gayly” shop somewhere else. And I’ll stfu but they won’t see a dime from me


    [email protected] Giving money to people who oppose my equal rights is a big deal to me. I am not going to spend my money in an establishment that does not grant me simple respect.

  • JamesL

    There was some poor judgment with their donation — if nothing else, the donation wasn’t well-researched. But it was just $150K, and it only happened one time. It’d be one thing if Target was being consistently irresponsible in their philanthropy efforts and didn’t actively embrace diversity. But because Target has a strong record of donating to various positive causes totaling hundreds of millions of dollars, I think it’s time to let the issue go. Sure, you can hang onto the knee-jerk reaction of being horrified, especially if all you care about centers on gay rights. But at least acknowledge their strong points.

  • Allen D.

    Target can continue to fuck itself. I haven’t shopped there since the original donation came to light. Used to shop there all the time. Fuck this guy.

  • tinkerbell

    @JamesL: If I don’t care about anything but gay rights, I care about my life. I am stripped of first class citizenry based solely on the fact that I am gay. We are denied so much simply because of who we are. The rest I have worked for with my education, but some things we can’t overcome by profession.

  • J.

    Steve, take your own advice and stfu.

  • Stacy

    I have boycotted Wal-Mart for years for LOTS of reasons, and Target over this, so thank goodness K-Mart (owned by Sears) gets high marks from the HRC.

  • Jeffree

    It’s easy to overlook that people at the shareholders’ meeting DID grill him on the issue. Whoever asked those questions deserves our thanks, because those meetings don’t always get that kind of vocal participation.

    CEO-dude’s stance on “neutrality” is a two-faced lie, because the co.’s actions haven’t been neutral.

    BigGayInc. seems to have dropped the ball here, or I am I missing something?

  • Rainfish

    @JamesL: No, JamesL, I do not care only about “gay rights”. I do, however, care very much for Human Rights. And since gays are human, then I make that also my top priority. If gingerphobia (fear/animus of red-headed people) got every hater and every political exploiter of hate all worked up enough to pass vile legal prohibitions relating to job protections and marital rights against red-headed people, I would not support businesses nor politicians who did not fully embrace the unimpeachable, constitutional right of red-headed people to be treated, without exception, as coequals in society.

    If Target remains “neutral” on human rights out of some misplaced fear of alienating toothless bigots who don’t shop there anyway, then I suggest that they really don’t know much about the majority of their customer base. Perhaps they think they are now Walmart maybe? If so, then lose the phony, edgey, genX commercial propaganda and adopt the Walmartism style of just pushing adult diapers, polygrip, bengay and Chinese slave labor plastic goods, accouterments, and attire.

    While we all know, but hate to admit, that Target is not much better than Walmart in regards to pushing job-stealing off-shore foreign products, at least they tried to make us believe they took the spam out of the can first before putting it on the dinning room table. But class, like corporate integrity, is often just a self-serving charade. Still, one might expect that Target could at least pretend to like us a little while they’re screwing us out of a good portion of our weekly paychecks; instead, they demand we overlook their infidelity, and then they act all dismissive when we don’t.

    Target has lost their cool factor; I doubt that they will ever get it back. Has anyone else noticed the demise of those kitschy commercials with the red and white little snacks of man-candy that Target used to incorporate in their TV adverts? I guess they realized that ambiguously gay market ploys are a waste of airtime for now.

    Yesterday Coors, today Target — who else will be on the losing side of history?

  • Alex

    I unfortunately work at Target. I’m not sure how much of my experiences relate to work in general because it’s only my second retail job, but I do have some things to say.

    While there is one mildly flamboyant gay guy on the team (better described as high maintenance, lol) my impression is that the work environment is very conformist-rewarding and individuality-suppressing…at least from the higher ups. It starts with a strict dress code; red top, tan khaki pants, belt for men, plain shoes. Individuals seem cheery but when I try to talk about my interests no one really gives a shit. Most just feel comfortable talking about the work and I think that says a lot.

    It makes me feel like I sold out, the work robotic. I’ve got 7+ bosses and each has a different team leader “style” a.k.a. no consistency. They expect more from their employees and pay less. On paper they want us to take two breaks per x hours not counting lunch, but there is a lot of pressure to not take breaks and get the work done. For example, tonight I worked 4.75 hours and got one break near the end. We have to ask for breaks. I have been on my feet for hours “zoning” before and been denied a break until I finish a (big) section of the store. They keep mostly everyone part time under 31 hours so that they don’t have to give health benefits/insurance. Now they want me and other team members to sign up for some charity to garnish my wages when I hardly make anything to begin with ($8.25/hr). I don’t know of any full-time general team members. They are actively competing with Wal-Mart and redesigning store layouts as a result.

    Most of the non-expendable products like furniture, dishware, home decor…it feels like low quality, but that’s not it…it’s that none of it has any personality. If you buy this mass produced stuff you become a mass produced person on the conveyor belt of life. Please shop somewhere else and support small business (online and offline). Look that much harder to find a unique piece of furniture or decor for your home. Buy groceries at local grocery stores. Buy hardware and home improvement stuff from hardware stores. Buy furniture from furniture stores, or thrift stores, flea markets, craigslist, or garage sales. Don’t buy it from Target or other Made-in-China stores.

  • Alex

    I should also add that when us new Target hires were watching training videos, they had us watch one that was basically all about why unions are bad – cleverly disguised as being against a pending piece of legislation that would give employees power to unionize with simple majority. The thing is though…the video had nothing good to say about unions period. There was emphasis on union rules preventing colleagues from different departments from working together on the same tasks. “I’d love to help you lift that, but the new union rules don’t let me work in the warehouse at all.” The ending video message was something like “I want the power to choose whether to unionize or not, I want my voice to be heard, and this bill would take that away” all a bunch of buzzwords glossing over the fact that no Target employees are unionized at this time. Just another thing I found very telling of Target’s values – the bottom line!

  • Roman

    Target, Steinhafel and other executives at the top have given generously to the most rabid anti-Gay Industry leaders and politicians who are hell bent on passing every anti-Gay law they can possibly shove down all of our throats.

  • Cam


    Steve, the donation went to a guy with ties to a group that says countries where gays are killed are more moral than America. When asked to apologize or promise not to donate more to that guy the Target CEO refused until pressured. Then he said it wouldn’t happen again and made ANOTHER donation.

    If they had donated to a group that said women shouldn’t have the right to vote, would anybody be telling WOMEN that it was “No big deal”? And yet we are supposed to think it’s no big deal that they donated to a guy with ties to a group believing that gays should be murdered?!

  • SteveC

    The donations to these extreme right wing bigots by the Target board continue.

    Greeg Steinhafel and his henchmen on the Target board now donate to extreme bigots in the form of personal donations to avoid linking the donations to Target.

    Make no mistake, Target is a grossly homophobic organisation – they ‘inclusiveness’ is merely empty PR.

    Boyoctt Target. Shop locally.

  • MAP


    thank you for pointing out the fact that the Emmer donation of $150K turned out to only be the tip of the iceberg for Target, and their executives, pattern of donations to politicians like Michelle Bachman who think that all of us are expendable human garbage.

    I too haven’t shopped Target since the Emmer donation came to light–and I started shopping less overall and, as Alex suggested, shopping far more locally. My life is less cluttered, wallet less light, and my house smells a lot less like made in China plastic.

  • Shannon1981

    Yeah not believing and not going back. Target and Chik Fil A are at the very top of my no go list.

  • The crustybastard


  • pickles

    Target seems to sell things we need. Or justify. Or think we need. But we don’t. I shop, basically, for a living. I spend money for projects for companies. Before the Emmers bullshit donation, I spent, according to my AMEX, between $3000- $5000 a year at Target. Since then, zero. There is a simple act to walking the walk. Do it. There is no way I’ll spend a dime there again. Period. And as essentially, a professional shopper, it hasn’t been hard at all. Use less. Avoid the assholes and spend your dollars places where they don’t actively work to hate you. It’s pretty simple- and deeply satisfying.

    I am very grateful that the person or people who had the guts to bring it up again at the shareholders meeting, did. That’s the way to make change. Anyone want to check in with Gold’s Gym??

  • gregger

    @JamesL: Helloooooooooooooooooooo! This piece of shit also was going to donate monies to pro-gay causes and backed out. His company and their anti-gay horseshit was bad enough that Gaga terminated her agreement with them.

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