08/17/10-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
MoveOn.org has ramped up the campaign against Target Corp with calls for a boycott being delivered to shoppers via a TV ad. The boycott is in response to Target’s unwillingness to support LGBT friendly candidates or causes in the wake of a $150,000 donation made to a Minnesota PAC supporting anti-LGBT gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer. In addition to being opposed to full equality for LGBT Americans, Emmer is closely associated with a Christian band which advocates violence and death to lesbians and gays.
Target has maintained that they made the donations out of economic self interest given that Emmer is advocating tax cuts in order to stimulate the economy even though that has been proven to be ineffective in practice. The company’s representatives have also maintained that it fully supports lesbians and gays in its workplaces and through corporate sponsorships. However, they want to keep their options open “given the current political and emotionally charged environment.” In other words, Target would rather give the bully its lunch money than resist the bully in the form of the Tea Party and actually do something noble and sane. Additionally, they have shown that they have less interest in the LGBT Community being equal than they do in just staying neutral.
The first explanation was better, honestly. Target went on to say in a statement “We believe that it is impossible to avoid turning any further actions into a political issue and will use the benefit of time to make thoughtful, careful decisions on how best to move forward.” Actually, it seems unlikely that it will be too huge of a political issue, but it could rectify the damage done to the company’s reputation.
The thirty second ad hits Target hard. It calls Target “one of the very first companies to take advantage of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision allowing unlimited corporate cash in elections.” It also cites a poll showing that the majority of voters do not like corporate spending on political campaigns.
Justin Ruben, the Executive Director of MoveOn.org said in a statement: “Target’s refusal to acknowledge its customers’ outrage at their attempt to buy elections is scandalous. Americans have spoken: we don’t want corporations meddling in our democracy. Corporate money in elections is nothing more than political bribery and we’re not going to stop targeting Target until they stop trying to buy our elections.”
Joe Solmonese, Executive Director of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement that went out today:
“If that initial donation was a slap in the face, Target has now delivered a punch in the gut.
With your signatures in hand, HRC has been talking directly with Target for two weeks. In a shocking development, Target just told us that they won’t be taking ANY corrective action to repair the harm they’ve caused.
The stakes are too high in Minnesota to just sit back. The next governor will likely have the opportunity to either sign or veto marriage equality legislation – so HRC will devote $150,000 of our own resources to elect a pro-equality governor and lawmakers in this critical state.”
Of course, why the HRC is not devoting that money anyway, and not devoting a lot more, has not really been answered. The two groups, along with other LGBT groups have been pressuring Target regarding the company’s support of Emmer. The HRC had hoped to get Target to donate to pro-LGBT groups and causes.
The explanation that Target supports Emmer because of his supposedly pro-business credentials actually makes more sense than the statements from them regarding the current political climate. The money to MN Forward, which is backing only Tom Emmer, came from the company’s business account rather than from its internal political action committee. In the wake of complaints from both employees and outside groups, Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel issued memos to the company’s workers to explain his motivation in donating to a man who is known to be anti-LGBT, anti-choice, and anti-contraception.