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 TheAWL.com–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]