As two “Boycott Target” groups sprang up on Facebook on Tuesday, the giant retailer defended its $150,000 donation to a group helping a Minnesota Republican gubernatorial candidate who opposes same-sex marriage.
Chief Executive Gregg Steinhafel assured employees at the company's Minneapolis headquarters that the retailer’s support of the gay community was “unwavering.” He said employees, some gay, had raised concerns that the money was helping state Rep. Tom Emmer, a fiery conservative and the party’s likely nominee for governor.
Target’s money went to MN Forward, which is running TV ads supporting Emmer.
OK, you say, Target is STILL a big corporation, if not like Wal-Mart, so what’s the surprise?
The contrast between Emmer’s outspoken conservatism and Target’s moderate image is striking. Emmer lauds Arizona’s strict approach to illegal immigration and once advocated chemical castration for sex offenders. Target is known in Minnesota for donating to public school programs, food pantries and the annual Twin Cities Pride gay festival.
Monica Meyer, interim head of the gay rights group OutFront Minnesota, said that the gay community had long viewed Target as a supportive employer, and that many are surprised by the donation. The group posted an open letter urging Target to take back its money.
“A lot of people feel betrayed,” she said.
The two “Boycott Target” Facebook groups together had more than 3,000 followers by Tuesday evening. Some people posted business phone numbers for Target and Steinhafel, who individually also gave Emmer $2,000, the maximum under state law.
Ruh-roh. So why again did Target donate to this guy?
In an e-mail to employees, Steinhafel said Target’s political donations are intended to support business objectives such as job creation and economic growth.
He said the company doesn’t have a social agenda or necessarily agree with all of the positions of candidates it supports. “Let me be very clear,” he said, “Target’s support of the [gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender] community is unwavering, and inclusiveness remains a core value of our company.”
As of Tuesday, Target was the largest donor to MN Forward, which had raised more than $1 million from industry trade groups and companies including Best Buy Co., Pentair Inc., Hubbard Broadcasting Inc., Davisco Foods International Inc. and Polaris Industries Inc.
Oh, I see, they’re ignoring the homophobe part to get the corporate shill part, is that it? Well, good look getting those of us who believe in equal rights for all citizens to go along with that.
And I was just getting excited about the renovation of Target on Colonial, so much for that now…