Hit the Target

[Trendzilla] Forget the awesome merch, the politics stink

Just as I was admiring preview images from Target’s latest designer collaboration—Dolce Vita footwear for fall 2010—news came that Target Corp., along with Best Buy, had contributed six-figure donations to political organization MN Forward . . . which also happens to fund advertisements in support of vocal anti-gay rights Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer.

Hey, most of the time, these big-box stores donating boatloads of money toward hateful causes isn’t really news (hi, Wal-Mart!), but for some reason, we were made to believe Target was different. With its contemporary, clean aesthetic. Its awesome merch. Affordable price points. And its support and sponsorship of events such as the Twin Cities Gay Pride Festival. It even provided domestic-partner benefits for team members, helping earn a 100 percent rating on the 2009 and 2010 Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index.

While other giant chains are not welcomed in most neighborhoods, Target was totally okay. We thought Target cared. We liked Target.

And that’s why the $150,000 donation to Emmer is especially troubling.

Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel has since responded to the criticism raining down from consumers and LGBT employees alike:

“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. MN Forward is focused specifically on those issues and is committed to supporting candidates from any party who will work to improve the state’s job climate. However, it is also important to note that we rarely endorse all advocated positions of the organizations or candidates we support, and we do not have a political or social agenda. . . . Let me be very clear, Target’s support of the GLBT community is unwavering.”

Which translates to: “It was a good business decision.”

And this isn’t just the LGBT community raging against an opponent—it’s raging against a dangerous man. According to the Minnesota Independent, Emmett has loaned his support to fucking scary groups such as You Can Run But You Cannot Hide, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit ministry fronted by punk-rock musician Bradlee Dean that spews rhetoric praising Muslim nations for holding to a higher moral standard than America because they support killing gays and lesbians.

“Muslims are calling for the executions of homosexuals in America,” Dean said on a May 15 You Can Run But You Cannot Hide radio show. “This just shows you they themselves are upholding the laws that are even in the Bible of the Judaeo-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. If America won’t enforce the laws, God will raise up a foreign enemy to do just that. That is what you are seeing in America.”

And now Target is facing boycotts from groups that were once behind it. Human Rights Campaign has launched a petition for Target to “Make It Right,” available at hrc.org. Meanwhile, a Facebook group, “Boycott Target Until They Cease Funding Anti-Gay Politics,” is also gaining momentum, with 29,383 members at press time.

vchang@ocweekly.com

 
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