Wednesday, June 8, 2011

An Apology from Target's Anti-Gay CEO

The Supreme Court pretty well turned the American system of government on its head with its ruling that corporations are people recently, but it looks like the market is making some adjustments corporations hadn't expected. My friend Pete Krull handles "ethical" investments for people and one of the stategies that makes putting your money where your ethics are is using your vote as a stockholder to influence political giving--among many other things.

I'm not certain that Target can be specifically pointed to as a company that has been influenced in this way, but it's looking a whole lot like it is. The Minnesota-based company has made gay rights support noises recently, even as its CEO was propping up political candidates who are markedly anti-gay with hundreds of thousands of dollars. The CEO, a guy named Gregg Steinhafel, has apologized for making the contributions.

That's not him speaking. It's the bottom line and the corporate board telling him to get the hell out of the limelight. Target has been the, uh, target of picketing and swirling Internet chatter all week and it can't help but suffer from the boycott. Being anti-gay marriage is being anti-marriage and Target encourages engaged people to register there. Not a good PR move to hate gay people, who are about 10 percent of the population and whose rights as individuals--including the right to marry whomever the hell they want to marry--are supported by most of us.

It's fun to watch people take control of corporations and regardless of what the hyper-partisan right-wing Republican Supreme Court says, corporations are not people, but they can damn well be run by people.


  1. First, I want to thank you, Dan, for you words of support for LGBT equality. I do want to point out the although Target may be "apologizing" for supporting anti-gay politicians, they still have a long way to go to win back the LGBT community and end our boycott.

    When asked by a reporter at the company's annual meeting today where he stood on Minnesota's pending anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment, CEO Gregg Steinhafel had this to say (via

    "Our position at this particular time is that we are going to be neutral on that particular issue, as we would be on other social issues that have polarizing points of view," Steinhafel said.

    "We're a retail store, we welcome everybody," he added. "We have a broad team-member base, every shape and size and color. And so we are a very inclusive organization...We're going to continue to monitor, we're going to continue to assess, and see how that develops."

    First of all, by supporting anti-gay politicians like Tom Emmer, the retail giant has been anything but neutral.

    Steinhafel thinks he can wash away his sins by claiming neutrality now, when what he really needs to do is make a firm statement against homophobia. The LGBT community is not happy with this latest development. The boycott continues.

    Thanks for covering this story.

    Steve Publicover,
    Rev. Steve's Cyber-Pulpit

  2. Steve:

    I think it is imperetive that you continue with whatever pressure is appropriate (and a boycott always makes sense; pissing on the front door of Target does, too) until the policies are in alignment with the constitutional guarantees we all must have without pause or question. My point was to separate the CEO from the board from the stockholders. The latter in that triumverate is beginning to understand its own power and to exert it.

    I don't imagine Target came to the conclusion that gay people are equal without being pressured by stockholders and customers. That's the power. Let the Supreme Court legislate "people" all it wants, but real people will counter those ignorant, soulless bastards in the end.