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Author Topic: Target...pro and anti gay?  (Read 1539 times)

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Offline alxnjshTopic starter

Target...pro and anti gay?
« on: July 27, 2010, 10:10:11 PM »
I'm just not sure what I think of this and was wondering if anyone had thoughts. I should note that I live in Minnesota, the birthplace and headquarters of Target. Target isn't a store here...it's a friggin' way of life.

Quote

Target Homophobia? CEO Gregg Steinhafel Defends $150K Donation To Anti-Gay Politician, LGBT Community Angered

First Posted: 07-27-10 03:30 PM   |   Updated: 07-27-10 03:38 PM

A campaign contribution to a well-known anti-gay politician in Minnesota has become a rather large public relations nightmare for Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel--and the store now faces boycotts and backlash from the gay community.

Target's Chief Executive Steinhafel said gay employees have been concerned about the money helping state Rep. Tom Emmer, who opposes gay marriage. Target gave $150,000 to MN Forward, a group staffed by former insiders from outgoing Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty's administration. MN Forward is running TV ads supporting Emmer.

The Associated Press reports that Emmer is a fiery conservative who lauds Arizona's strict approach to illegal immigration, once advocated chemical castration for sex offenders and wants to lower taxes. His profile contrasts with Target's moderate image in Minnesota, where the company is known for donating to public school programs, food pantries and the annual Twin Cities Gay Pride Festival.

Following the money trail, the Minnesota Independent has also linked Emmer to a Minnesota Christian "punk-rock ministry" that supports the killing of gays and lesbians.

Learning that Target would lend financial support to someone like Emmer angered many LGBT shoppers and gay rights supporters. The Human Rights Campaign, which previously gave Target a 100 percent approval rating for their treatment of LGBT employees, issued this statement Monday:

"Target has worked hard to create a fair and equitable workplace for its LGBT employees, and should be proud of its leadership in this area. It is for this reason that HRC is very disappointed in Target's significant monetary contribution to Minnesota Forward, a group supporting the most clearly anti-LGBT candidate for Governor in Minnesota. We have reached out to Target to express our concern over this contribution. While political contributions to support candidates are not a factor in HRC Foundation's Corporate Equality Index, HRC finds it puzzling that Target would take great steps to support LGBT inclusiveness while simultaneously helping a candidate who shamelessly rejects equality for LGBT Minnesotans."

In an email to Target staff, Steinhafel responded to the criticism.

"We rarely endorse all advocated positions of the organizations or candidates we support, and we do not have a political or social agenda," Steinhafel wrote. "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...Let me be very clear, Target's support of the GLBT community is unwavering, and inclusiveness remains a core value of our company." (Read Steinhafel's full response here.)

Meanwhile, some gay rights advocates are considering a boycott of Target over the ordeal. In Chicago, openly-gay state Rep. Greg Harris, who celebrated a Target opening in his district last week, told ChicagoPride.com he hopes Target will rethink their support of Emmer.

"Companies like Target need to understand that they can't have it both ways when it comes to issues of our basic rights, and that the facts will eventually come out. I hope that they will rethink this contribution and find a way to make it right," Harris said.

A Facebook group dedicated to boycotting Target has also gained momentum.

Money from Target's top executives has gone mainly to Republicans. Former Chief Executive Officer Robert Ulrich, who retired last year, gave $617,000 during his time as Target's leader, most of it to the state GOP. Current Chief Executive Gregg Steinhafel has donated about $25,000, almost exclusively to Republican candidates and causes, including at least $1,000 to Michele Bachmann's "Victory Committee."


Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/27/target-homophobia-ceo-gre_n_660990.html

Offline Jude

Re: Target...pro and anti gay?
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2010, 10:39:51 PM »
This is very amusing and almost exactly what I predicted would happen when the Supreme Court handed down their decisions on corporate donations to politicians.

Very few corporations cater exclusively to people of a unified political mind, so naturally if they make a donation (as they can now that it's legal) the consumers of differing political opinions won't have to look very hard to see the business that they were supporting financially contributing to things that they disagree with.  As a result, making political donations is going to be very toxic in most cases because of how polarizing political figures in the United States tend to be.  I think this is just the first round of many as we get closer to the November Elections.

More to the point however, I truly doubt Target donated to this guy because he's an anti-gay activist.  They did it because he's a Republican which is the party of big business.  That isn't to say that Target can't be held accountable, you can surely bet that if they donated to a liberal you'd have conservative Christians complaining about him supporting a pro-choice candidate.  If people choose where they're going to shop at largely based on these situations, it will affect the bottom line of businesses that decide to step into the lobbyist arena (and that close to Christmas Sales the financial impact could be devastating).

It could be that business will have no choice but to step out of the game of political influence peddling (or to become a very strange entity that tries to sell only to people of a certain political philosophy).
« Last Edit: July 27, 2010, 10:41:30 PM by Jude »

Offline Will

Re: Target...pro and anti gay?
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2010, 11:32:34 PM »
I really doubt Target's donation to Emmer had anything to do with his stance on LGBT equality.  If businesses (and people, for that matter) only donated to politicians that they completely agreed with, there wouldn't be many donations happening.

However, I think the problem here is more than that.  This guy seems particularly vile.
Quote
Following the money trail, the Minnesota Independent has also linked Emmer to a Minnesota Christian "punk-rock ministry" that supports the killing of gays and lesbians.
That's pretty extreme, right?  So extreme that I, personally, can't justify anyone donating money to him for any reason, no matter how much their other agendas might jibe.

I honestly think it was a boneheaded thing for Target to do.  I don't think they took a close look at who they were supporting.  Still, this guy is obviously a publicly divisive figure; why would they support someone like that?  I can only guess sheer ignorance. -_-

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Re: Target...pro and anti gay?
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2010, 11:33:58 PM »
It could be that business will have no choice but to step out of the game of political influence peddling (or to become a very strange entity that tries to sell only to people of a certain political philosophy).

So, if I understand this correctly, (I'm one of those rare voters who looks at the issues and not the shiny ads), the SCOTUS has said it's okay for businesses to donate, and now the possibility of backlash may make it unfeasible to donate.  Net gain of zero?

As for the boycott:  In order for a boycott to be effective, the consumers need to make a point of buying elsewhere, not just skip buying something THERE for a limited period of time.  The reason is that short term boycotts typically result in half-hearted participants actually making up for the 'lost sales' by buying extra stuff THERE as soon as the boycott is over.

(THERE can be replaced by any business of your choice - like the ever-popular 'one day gas boycotts' that show up every year.)

Offline Jude

Re: Target...pro and anti gay?
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2010, 12:23:06 AM »
I think I said it best (actually that sounds terribly smug, I don't mean it, I really just wanted to quote myself once in my life.  Give me this one thing, please?):
I actually love the idea of Corporations coming out swinging with political beliefs, so long as they have to identify themselves in the commercials.  Then I can spend my money in places which I deem politically responsible and punish corporations that back candidates I don't agree with.  This could turn into a PR nightmare for them and they may regret ever opening their mouth to begin with.

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Re: Target...pro and anti gay?
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2010, 12:30:24 AM »
*nods*  PR nightmare - That's about what it's looking like here. 

Offline BigBuckBob

Re: Target...pro and anti gay?
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2010, 01:11:12 AM »
At some point I skipped from read to skim, so it might be my own fault, but I didn't see the part about 'pro-gay rights'.

I'm assuming that it refers to the policies Target has in place that allow for same sex partners to be included in things like bereavement and family medical leave. cant think of everything now, but Target's was the most comprehensive of all the places I have worked.

Offline Brandon

Re: Target...pro and anti gay?
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2010, 01:35:01 AM »
Quote
Following the money trail, the Minnesota Independent has also linked Emmer to a Minnesota Christian "punk-rock ministry" that supports the killing of gays and lesbians.

This jumped out at me because it makes a claim that this ministry is linked to wanting gays dead, but they dont tell the reader who they are exactly. Without knowing exactly who they are talking about I tend to think this is made up.

That aside, another thing that jumps out at me is they likely didnt make the donation just because of the LGBT movement yet the article seems to make it out that that was the sole reason. More then likely the candidate was the one that worked toward the most of their goals.

Im thinking this is a bit slanted *shrugs*

Offline Jude

Re: Target...pro and anti gay?
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2010, 01:36:48 AM »
Was already doing a bit of research on that cause it bothered me too Brandon.
However, I think the problem here is more than that.  This guy seems particularly vile.That's pretty extreme, right?  So extreme that I, personally, can't justify anyone donating money to him for any reason, no matter how much their other agendas might jibe.
I didn't trust the article very much so I looked up with the Minnesota Independent actually did to link the two of them.  Turns out that in 2008 they donated $250 to the organization and Emmer has had public discussions with an important figure in the group on his radio show.  But what I found more interesting is that the summation of the quote the way the article did isn't really quite accurate (though I do agree what was said was reprehensible, just not as bad as it was painted -- I'm also pretty sure it was made after 2008 when the money was donated).
Quote from: Bradlee Dean in that Christian Punk Ministry Thing
Muslims are calling for the executions of homosexuals in America. This just shows you they themselves are upholding the laws that are even in the Bible of the Judeo-Christian God, but they seem to be more moral than even the American Christians do, because these people are livid about enforcing their laws. They know homosexuality is an abomination.
About the comment and connection this was said:
Quote from: One of Emmer's Staffers I think
Tomís position on social issues has been very clear and consistent. He is a supporter of traditional marriage, and he strongly opposes any kind of violence or unfair discrimination against any group.
Of course he hasn't denounced his connection to this group in spite of the comments either.  I dunno what to make of it; I just think it's fascinating how summations in articles can sometimes be shallow, inaccurate summations of rich information.
I honestly think it was a boneheaded thing for Target to do.  I don't think they took a close look at who they were supporting.  Still, this guy is obviously a publicly divisive figure; why would they support someone like that?  I can only guess sheer ignorance. -_-
Well, I think it's also important to keep in mind that Target didn't donate to him, but to MN Forward, which then donated to Emmer.

Target financial sponsors gay events in Minnesota alongside LGBT organizations, so that's what makes this especially baffling.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2010, 01:38:53 AM by Jude »

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Re: Target...pro and anti gay?
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2010, 01:44:55 AM »
It sounds to me that Target might do well to do their own research on candidates and donate directly to the candidates they support instead of trusting someone else to do it.  There are more moderate Republicans out there. 

Offline Will

Re: Target...pro and anti gay?
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2010, 01:46:03 AM »
That's why I'm inclined to believe it was just simple ignorance and/or laziness on Target's part.  So they didn't make the one step connection between MN Forward and Emmer? ::)  Damn, just try a little.

EDIT: I see now that MN Forward donated to Emmer AFTER Target donated to them. >.>  In that case, I'm in agreement with Oniya.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2010, 01:48:18 AM by Will »

Offline alxnjshTopic starter

Re: Target...pro and anti gay?
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2010, 01:33:27 PM »
It sounds to me that Target might do well to do their own research on candidates and donate directly to the candidates they support instead of trusting someone else to do it.  There are more moderate Republicans out there.

I concur. The other suggestion I would have is for Target to continue their donation policy and donate to communities and not elections.

Offline Wolfy

Re: Target...pro and anti gay?
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2010, 08:33:44 PM »
All that I know is..this is going to make Target lose a lot of money, and going to hurt their public image pretty badly.

Offline Serephino

Re: Target...pro and anti gay?
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2010, 09:39:02 PM »
I agree that Target was thinking more about its profits.  Conservatives seem to be for big business, little to no regulation, and many other things that would benefit such a large corporation.  They either didn't know about his anti-gay stance, or the perceived gain was enough that they didn't care.  This is just another example of how greed will bite you in the ass.     

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Re: Target...pro and anti gay?
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2010, 12:00:58 AM »
EDIT: I see now that MN Forward donated to Emmer AFTER Target donated to them. >.>

Or they didn't know MN Forward was looking to donate to him.

Offline Lyell

Re: Target...pro and anti gay?
« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2010, 08:07:39 AM »
It's common practice at the corporate level to support both sides of an issue. Making sure whoever the winner, whatever the isssue, is on your side is the most favorable outcome.

Offline Ryven

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Re: Target...pro and anti gay?
« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2010, 09:26:59 AM »
Or they didn't know MN Forward was looking to donate to him.

Wouldn't they have said as much to try and run damage control?

Offline Wolfy

Re: Target...pro and anti gay?
« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2010, 10:46:18 AM »
It's common practice at the corporate level to support both sides of an issue. Making sure whoever the winner, whatever the isssue, is on your side is the most favorable outcome.

Well yes, generally in confrontations it's best to play both sides of the fence and then say you were with the Winner the entire time..if you can, that is. o3o

Offline DrFier

Re: Target...pro and anti gay?
« Reply #18 on: July 30, 2010, 04:10:55 AM »
Target is a notoriously two-faced company.  What surprises me about this isn't that they don't care who their money is going to but rather that the HRC had given their approval, when it's rather well known that target treats all of its employees poorly.

Offline Lyell

Re: Target...pro and anti gay?
« Reply #19 on: July 30, 2010, 12:23:32 PM »
target treats all of its employees poorly.

Can vouch for this personally. I was held after 10 pm on a school night when I was under 18. Also pulled a 14 hour call-in shift for them on a weekend I was supposed to have off, cause the manager who called me in never indicated when I was supposed to be relieved.

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Re: Target...pro and anti gay?
« Reply #20 on: July 30, 2010, 02:33:53 PM »
Target is a notoriously two-faced company.  What surprises me about this isn't that they don't care who their money is going to but rather that the HRC had given their approval, when it's rather well known that target treats all of its employees poorly.


That is a very broad brush with which you're stroking. I worked for Target on two separate occasions for over a year each and I had nothing but good things happen while working there. Target, as a corporation, is just like any other big business in how they treat their employees. Some have good experiences, some have bad, and some are indifferent. But it is unfair to say that they treat 'all' of their employees badly as you don't speak for everyone who's worked there. :)

Offline Lyell

Re: Target...pro and anti gay?
« Reply #21 on: July 30, 2010, 02:59:35 PM »
I could speak for everyone who worked at a specific target during a specific summer and winter, but some of them deserved what they got.