Thanks to Your Efforts and Lady Gaga, It’s Now OK to Shop at Target

Before Lady Gaga agreed to allow Target to release an exclusive edition of her  forthcoming album, Born This Way,  featuring cool remixes plus a trio of additional studio cuts, the multiplatinum-selling LGBT-rights advocate sat down with the mega-chain’s executives and told them to make amends for some very anti-LGBT behavior on their part in supporting conservative Minnesota candidates in the Novemeber 2010 elections. Gaga’s current #1 single “Born This Way” is the first chart-topping tune to feature the word “transgendered” in the lyrics. It’s also Billboard Magazine’s 1,000th #1 single.

Last July we reported news from–and thank you all for spreading the word via Facebook and Twitter–that Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel and his wife donated $5,000 each — the maximum allowable — to Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann’s campaign, and Target itself donated $150,000 to MN Forward, a PAC which is supported Tom Emmer’s (failed) run for governor of Minnesota. In response to the news, who knows how many thousands stopped shopping at Target and launched email and video campaigns protesting Target’s actions as well as staging flashmobs and picket demonstrations.

At that time Target had a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign for the their workplace environment and support of LGBT causes and–importantly for many consumers focused on budget style–the chain featured some great designers  like Alexander McQueen, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Zac Posen.

All of you who boycotted Target, emailed them and raised awareness of Target’s bad behavior made a difference, and Lady Gaga was beyond the icing on that cake. Earlier this week the Washington Blade reported:

Target Corp. has made changes to its political giving policy following controversy over contributions the retail chain made to a conservative political action committee in the 2010 election…[a] new policy committee will determine whether Target will make political contributions directly to candidates, political parties or to other groups such as 527 or 501(c)(4) committees…One source familiar with the changes, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Target consulted with some LGBT rights advocates on the change.

A spokesperson for Target told the Washington Blade:

These changes are really reflective of that perspective that we gained over the 2010 election cycle.

Perspectives gained from your actions and subsequent bad PR. Perspectives gained when Lady Gaga laid down what would be necessary for her to proceed with the deal. (And if Bruce Springsteen had been as aware regarding his 2008 greatest hits collection he wouldn’t have had to issue a mea culpa regarding the record’s release at Wal-Mart).

According to Target’s website:

During and immediately following the 2010 U.S. election cycle, the Corporate Responsibility Committee of our Board of Directors conducted a thorough review of Target’s policies and practices regarding public policy engagement. This review culminated in a clear and transparent framework for Target’s public policy engagement that was approved by our Board of Directors and is outlined below. Importantly, this framework has reaffirmed Target’s commitment to:

  • Align our public policy activities and business interests;
  • Employ a decision-making process to support ongoing compliance with our alignment objective; and
  • Maintain transparency to our guests, team members, shareholders and other stakeholders.

Target VP of communications Dustee Jenkins told Billboard Magazine:

she “didn’t think” Gaga’s feedback had resulted in direct policy change, but that she was one of many voices Target had considered in order to better understand issues concerning the LGBT community.

One of the many voices, including yours. OURS!

[HT: The Advocate]

[photo: Creative Commons, Naomi Lir]

10 Responses to "Thanks to Your Efforts and Lady Gaga, It’s Now OK to Shop at Target"
Teddy Partridge | Friday February 18, 2011 10:53 pm 1


Phoenix Woman | Friday February 18, 2011 11:10 pm 2

This is so fabulous. Target CEO Steinhafel is a tough wingnut to crack, and Gaga cracked him wide open!

Kelly Canfield | Friday February 18, 2011 11:13 pm 3


mzchief | Friday February 18, 2011 11:49 pm 4

Wow– that’s very good news!

mzchief | Saturday February 19, 2011 12:00 am 5

Tangential– I keep missing Margaret and wanted to share this great article with her. Here are a few snippets:

Tomás Gómez, the Socialist candidate for regional premier, announced on Monday that the actress and advocate for gay, lesbian and transsexual rights, will join him on the Madrid Socialist Party (PSM) slate, which he calls “the best one to represent the entire society.”

{ snip }

On Monday when her candidacy was announced, Antonelli, with a cellphone in one hand and the receiver of landline on the other, was fielding reporters’ questions while trying to think of a campaign slogan. “I’m not only a T,” she says, in reference to the first letter of the word transsexual. Antonelli hopes to become an example that will serve to “break stereotypes, and to encourage employers to hire without fear.”

(excerpt from “Carla Antonelli: Woman on a transformative mission,” ElPais.Com, by Emilio de Benito, Feb. 14, 2011)

mzchief | Saturday February 19, 2011 12:28 am 6

Tangential– Given that some folks really seem bent on taking the US back to 1819 or the days of New Spain in 1535, I’d like to mention former Italian Parliament member, Vladimir Luxuria, who served in office from April 10, 2006 – April 14, 2008 and still appears quite politically active in Europe. Here’s her website with a clunky Translate Google version so I would not take offense to what may appear in the titles as the site looks pretty kewl including the post about Italian human and civil rights activist, Marcella Di Folco.

Phoenix Woman | Saturday February 19, 2011 10:08 am 7

Uh-oh! Has Target really made any concrete actions to atone?

From a public relations perspective, the suits on the new Target Kingmaker Committee have a Mission Impossible. If the Committee is to support the tax avoidance policies Target’s corporate executives hold so dear, it will find it very difficult to find taxophobic candidates who aren’t also perceived to be homophobic candidates. For whatever reason, there is a strong correlation between candidates who are extremely anti-tax and anti-gay marriage. And if they do once again send money to an anti-gay rights candidate, there will be another firestorm.
And even when the new Target Kingmaker Committee does find that rare candidate in the sweet spot who wants to cut Target’s taxes but not gays’ rights, this problem remains: If that candidate supports Party or Interest Group X, Target’s customers affiliated with Party or Interest Group Y will be ticked, and vice versa.

Lisa Derrick | Saturday February 19, 2011 10:40 am 9

Thanks PW. I try to be happy and optimistic about change, but may lapse back into cynicism. Sadly despite “yay team!” tone I think this is mainly a PR move on Target’s part–they are a multi million dollar corporation and as such will continue to give in the ways that best benefits their stockholders and upper tier. However, by continuing ot keep track of this and weighing the good wiht the not-good (will Target increase their approx 2% LGBT spending and decrease their neo-con support?)

oddboyout | Monday February 21, 2011 05:16 am 10

This doesn’t change much. Target is the same as Wal-mart: low wages, no union, and kicks smaller businesses into the dirt. Target also allows their pharmacists to refuse to dispense emergency contraceptives. Target has not made a guarantee that they won’t donate to PACs in the future. Just because they’re selling Gaga’s new album doesn’t mean they’re suddenly a socially conscious business.

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