Friday, July 30, 2010

Target Responds

So, Target has been in the news lately and on this blog a couple of times [HERE and HERE] for their $150,000 donation to Political Action Committee [PAC] called Minnesota Forward.

Minnesota Forward took some of that money and gave it to Republican gubernatorial candidate, Tom Emmer, who is virulently anti-gay.

Bad enough, right?

But then comes news that Emmer donated some of his money to a "Christian" rock band, fronted by one Bradlee Dean, who believes that killing gay people is the moral thing to do.

So, if you follow the money, it goes from Target to Dean, and stops in anti-gay candidate's coffers along the way, but Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel announced that Target's support of the LGBT community is "unwavering".

Really, Target? Really?

So, naturally I got a little angry and wrote a letter to Target corporate headquarters and, lo and behold, yesterday I received a response:

Dear Robert *******,
Target has long believed that engaging in civic activities is an important and necessary element of operating a national retail business. What's more important than any one candidate's stance on a particular issue is how we nurture thoughtful, long-term growth in the state of Minnesota.
To continue to grow and create jobs and opportunity in our home state, we believe it is imperative to be engaged in public policy and the political process. That is why we are members of organizations like the Minnesota Business Partnership, the Chamber of Commerce and many others. And that is why we decided to contribute to MN Forward.
MN Forward's objective is to elect candidates from both parties who will make job creation and economic growth a top priority. We operate best when working collaboratively with legislators on both sides of the aisle. In fact, if you look at our Federal PAC contributions year to date, you will see that they are very balanced between Republicans and Democrats. For more information please visit www.target.com/company, and view the Civic Activity page.
Target has a large stake in Minnesota's future, which is why it is so important to be able to provide jobs, serve guests, support communities and deliver on our commitment to shareholders. As an international business that is proud to call Minnesota home, it is critical that we have a business environment that allows us to be competitive. Our guests, team members, communities and shareholders depend on Target to remain competitive.
Thanks for taking the time to share your feedback.
Sincerely,
Jennifer Hanson
Target Executive
Offices

guest.relations@target.com

Interesting, no? Espeicially since Ms. Hanson, like Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel, never actually addreses the issue at hand: Target's money going directly into the hands of anti-gay politicians. So, I decided to write back

Dear Ms. Hanson,
I understand that target is free to donate money to any organization, or political candidate, or party, of its choosing. My problem, however, is that, as a gay man, when I see you giving money to a PAC that then funds an openly anti-gay politician, who then uses his money, and his praise, on a group that wants to "Kill The Gays" it leads me to question Target's alleged unwavering support for the LGBT community.
You say you want to do what is best for Target and your employees and your stores, but what about doing just what's best? What's right? What's equal? What's fair? You believe that "more important than any one candidate's stance on a particular issue is how we nurture thoughtful, long-term growth in the state of Minnesota," but I wonder how thoughtful Tom Emmer's stance on gay rights is, and how nurturing is his belief in a "Christian" rock band who wants to "Kill The Gays."
The answer is, it is neither thoughtful, nor nurturing. It's hatred and bigotry and intolerance plain and simple, and Target helped to fund it.
And, that, as you say is your right.
Well, it's my right to say I won't fund Target if Target wants to fund these types of candidates, of either party. It's my right to tell my LGBT friends and family to stay out of Target, and to write to Target and tell you why we're staying out of your stores.
You imply that it's just good business, doing what's best for the company, but you efforts at maintaining a good business could cost members of the LGBT community their lives.

Sincerely,
Robert *******

I would ask that every member of the LGBT community write to Jennifer Hanson, and let her know that, while we believe in being able to sponsor, and support, any group, candidate, or party, on their choosing, they cannot support people like Tom Emmer, and then still profess to be gay friendly.
Because they aren't.

4 comments:

Miss Ginger Grant said...

Better yet: just don't shop at Target!

R.J. said...

I stopped shopping at Target and I pleasantly discovered how cheap I can buy filet mignon and fresh fruits and vegetables at one of the local markets in my area.

Mike, Studio city said...

Do you have any information on how much they donate to gay charities, amd other gay organizations??

lacochran's evil twin said...

I wrote to Target and got a similar (identical) response. Before you send people to Target's competitors, consider doing similar due diligence. If you suggest Walmart, for example, what is Walmart's record of giving? You may be sending folks to do more damage if you don't provide the same level of analysis.