August 6th, 2010
03:54 PM ET
12 years ago

Retailer Target now the target of a boycott by, gays


 Retail giant Target is under fire for a campaign contribution. (PHOTO CREDIT: CNN)

Washington (CNN) - A liberal political group and some gays and lesbians have put a bulls-eye on one of the nation's largest retail giants, targeting the Target Corporation with a massive sales boycott despite an apology from the store Thursday night. is angry with Target over a political contribution the company made. sees the contribution as Target's attempt to "buy elections."

Pro gay rights groups are angry with Target because the political contribution went to a group that has endorsed a candidate who is staunchly against same-sex marriage.

On Friday, delivered a petition to the retailer's Minneapolis headquarters. The political activist group told CNN the petition was signed by over 250,000 people who have pledged not to shop at Target. The group also told CNN that members went out to protest at over 1,000 of the retailer's stores across the nation on Friday, dropping off letters to Target store managers.

The contribution at issue is Target's $150,000 donation to a group that backs a Minnesota gubernatorial candidate.

The group is MN Forward, which says it's focused on job creation. The candidate receiving its endorsement is Tom Emmer, who is running in the state's Republican primary as he hopes to become governor.

Target, other larger corporations and labor unions, are now allowed to freely contribute directly to political efforts following the Supreme Court's landmark Citizen's United v. Federal Election Commission decision that was handed down earlier this year. accuses Target of "trying to subvert the will of the people."

Its members have taken to Target's Facebook page. "It costs Target hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy politicians," a poster under the name Mark Fearing wrote.

Another poster, under the name Scott Fearing, borrowed the retailer's well-known slogan to blast the company, writing, "I 'Expect More' from Target."

Some Facebook users did, however, post messages of support for the company.

A member under the name Eamonn Knuff posted his "opposition to the boycott." And a member under the name Stephen Fox wrote, "Still a lot of strong conservatives coming by the page to support Target."

CNN contacted Target but a company spokeswoman said there would be no further response beyond a letter released on Thursday by the retailer's chairman, CEO and president.
In that letter, Gregg Steinhafel apologized to Target managers and other employees for the $150,000 contribution to MN Forward.

"I have heard from many of you, and our team members, over the past week regarding Target's contribution to MN Forward," Steinhafel wrote. "The intent of our political contribution to MN Forward was to support economic growth and job creation."

Meanwhile, pro-gay rights activists are angry with Emmer's staunch anti same-sex marriage stance. They cite Target's contribution to MN Forward, and the group's spending some $200,000 to help Emmer. Activists have gone online, also urging a boycott of the retailer, claiming that a company that prides itself on welcoming all people should not contribute to a group that endorses an anti same-sex marriage candidate.

OutFront Minnesota, a pro-gay rights group based in the state, has posted a letter on its website aimed at Target. While the group praises Target for being a "strong ally" of gays and lesbians in Minnesota, OutFront still urges the company to take back its donation to MN Forward.

"Target should recognize that its support of Representative Emmer's campaign supports his toxic social agenda, significant parts of which involve targeting GLBT [gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender] people…for discrimination and marginalization," OutFront wrote on its website.

In his letter, the Target chief also said that the contribution "affected many of you in a way I did not anticipate, and for that I am genuinely sorry."

The Target chief added: "We remain fully committed to fostering an environment that supports and respects the rights and beliefs of all individuals."

Emmer's campaign told CNN the candidate has not made gay rights an issue in his campaign and said the situation has been blown out of proportion.

"It's been turned into something else and that's unfortunate," spokesman Brian Walsh said. "The number one issue facing the state of Minnesota is job creation."

MN Forward did not respond to CNN calls for comment.

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soundoff (219 Responses)
  1. me

    Good for TARGET!!!!!

    August 6, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  2. regans debt

    Yes, lets make our laws based on religious BELIEFS. Just like Iran.

    August 6, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  3. malabar

    i'm gay. and i'm going shopping at target today. people really need to get hobbies. you all know that target employs gays too right? morons

    August 6, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  4. Nana5

    Thank God. I can now shop at Target in peace. You wierdos can shop at Wal-Mart or where ever. It is time we NORMAL people STOP BOWING DOWN TO THESE WIERDOS. Come on people, let's take America back and make it what it once was – a great nation instead of a bunch of pathetic wierdos. Anyone who does not like marriage as a man and woman, does not like our immigration laws and chooses to come here illegally, does not like our Constitution and THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE – there are boats and planes leading your way out of this country all the time. Don't let the door bump your butt on the way out. Oh, and no deposit/no return!! Bye-bye!! CNN do you have the guts to print???????

    August 6, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. Rob in Iowa

    Target will get more of our back to school spending for sure!

    August 6, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. rcasteel

    WOW! The group is against gays AND unions!!!! what group is this? I would like to dump a bunch of cash into their coffers.

    As far as Target goes...You are now my #1 department store.

    August 6, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. Linda C

    Never shopped at Target before but I WILL NOW TO SHOW MY SUPPORT!!!

    August 6, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  8. G

    I think there should be less rights for those who are opposed to gay rights.

    August 6, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  9. D. Bunker

    We need more of these economic boycotts. Hitting these corporations in the wallet is the ONLY thing they will understand and react to. It's time for us to give up a bit of convenience and start spending our money based on our principles. If we don't show these big corporations we means business, not only will they own our government, they'll also own YOU!

    August 6, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  10. Shucks

    And this is the same as the "Chistians" and all of their boycotts against the myriad of businesses, and organizations that they disagree with. This as a free country. Boycott whomever you want. I along time ago decided to boycott all religions and have never looked back.

    August 6, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  11. AndyBlue

    I love how the hate filled anti-gay morons are chiming in as usual. Its almost always the most vocal who are actually lashing out at what they don't like about themselves.

    Also, isn't it great how easily they can be persuaded to buy. They bought up stockpiles of weapons, they sent so much in donations to the teabaggers and now they will spend even more out of nothing more than spite towards gays.

    Nothing makes me happier then watching them spend out of reactionary hatred and fear.

    August 6, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  12. BeverlyNC

    The only way to force corporations to act with any morality, humanity, or integrity is to go after their bottom line.
    Corporations only care about profit. Greed is their mantra and they don't care who they hurt, that they buy goods from slave workers overseas that used to be American jobs or that spill billions of gallons of oil into our Gulf and act like they could care less.
    It's time for the People to stand up to big corporations to take away their power over us. Although it would be difficult to find a company that hasn't betrayed their workers, we should all boycott goods not Made in America.
    What comes in from overseas is of sorry quality, costs way too much, and promotes slave wages and long hours for poor desperate people in Vietnam, China, and Indonesia. If it is not made in America, you can automatically assume it is junk and will not last.
    We should boycott companies who outsource American jobs, charge them huge export fees to punish them, and Republicans who are funded by corporations who buy their votes to betray our best interests.

    August 6, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  13. G

    To TEXAS – my god says you're wrong, so there.

    August 6, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  14. Joel

    To those on here who hate gays, your words strengthen the gay fight for equality. When you show that clearly your votes against us are motivated by your animus/hate towards the gay community, you make it much easier to prove to the Supreme Court that we need our rights protected. Keep shouting your hate. You help our cause like the men in white hoods helped the cause of African American civil rights.

    August 6, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  15. Dave from TN

    Thank God for Target. Now I wont bump into the gays and Lesbians there and explain to my kid why same sexes are hold hands when she is only 8 years old. This is the best news I have heard all day. Walmart who? I will shop with every dollar I have at Target now.

    August 6, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  16. Mickaroo

    Target won't let the Salvation Army ring at Christmas out in front of their stores so I thought the haters at Moveon would love them. I may just go back to shopping at Target if the Moveon thugs are absent.

    August 6, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  17. clisa

    Good for TARGET. Why do gays think everyone should think the way they do? All they do is whine......

    August 6, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  18. Omar

    The word of God says many things.. I'm sure there is not a person on this earth that lives by God's word all the time.

    August 6, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  19. Hillary

    This makes sick. I live in MN and believe Target is a good supporter of the community and especially gay events. I support gay issues and think the gay community should be more discriminating about whom they boycott. Dear God, why are they giving Obama a pass!

    August 6, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  20. Nelly

    Unfortunately, Target apologized for making this contribution.

    Since when is any political race about one issue. Do any us of agree with every issue a candidate brings to the table? The candidate that Target was supporting is for smaller government. Not raising taxes. Target as a company felt that he would provide a better business environment. One in which the company could grow and employ more people. Target did not donate funds in reference to social issues. The other point is that the contribution was given to an organization that is running positive, family value ads. Unlike the other "democratic" organization that is running bashing, false information ads geared to scare people. They are horrible. I am sure that Target looked at that also. Why be associated with that?

    Gay and Lesbians Communities–Target is a wonderful place to work. They give benefits to significant others. Shame on you for not seeing past one issue. You should be judging a company as a whole entity.

    August 6, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  21. Truth Squad

    Wow, it's tuff to please the left.

    Due to their Christophobia, Target wasn't doing ANY Christmas themed stuff around, you know Christmas because of the left's disagreement with 90% of the population.

    Target then disses supposedly 90% of the population of celebrates Christmas by not advertising using the word Christmas, no signs or music that evoke thoughts of Christmas and the cashiers can't say "Merry Christmas" for fear of losing business to less than 10% of the US population.

    So, I actually stopped giving Target my business because without Christmas they probably would either not be in business or would be doing really badly during this poor economy.

    So now Target hates Christians AND gays? Who are they trying to please?

    August 6, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  22. Duck Fallas

    This would only be a meaningful boycott if Target carried Prada.

    August 6, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. Heterosexual Gay Rights Supporter

    At issue:
    The donation Target made to gubernatorial candidate Emmer is awful. Emmer is not only anti-gay and anti-gay marriage but has donated to and is supported by a conservative Christian group who advocates death and violence to gays. In fact, the group has stated that "Muslim countries calling for the execution of gays and lesbians are ‘more moral than even the American Christians’” (

    So by default, Target has given money that could be used to exterminate gays. If boycotts aren't useful why has Target issued an apology? Now they must rescind their donation and denounce Emmer. Minnesota if CNN readers don't know have social liberal leanings, support gay rights and universal healthcare. Target is based in Minneapolis.

    August 6, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  24. Reese

    Ok so you boycott target, only other store there is to go to is Wal-Mart. I don't endorse walmart because they treat their workers like dirt. How about boycott electing the officals that sit on the courts that made a ruling that you don't agree on. It's not the money that gets a person elected, it's the message and values that they put forth.

    August 6, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  25. Tyler

    This is stupid. I'm sick of LGBT making a big deal out of EVERYTHING. Dear God. Marriage literally means a man and a woman coming together. Just because a political figure is sticking with his "old fashioned" beliefs that are VALID doesn't mean it's a personal attack on everyone who is gay. Stop whining. Stop protesting.

    August 6, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
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