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.

Filed under: • Popular Posts
soundoff (219 Responses)
  1. jeff jackson, alabama

    So ???
    What if Target had given money to a pro gay group ?
    Then they would have been boycotted by alot of straight
    people and conservative political groups.
    It's getting sad in America when businesses are tied
    into politics.
    If I'm the C.E.O. at Target I would only donate money to
    REAL charities and stay the hell away from political groups....
    This country was built by capitalists and that's who financed
    all our wars that have kept us free.
    Leave politics to the professional liars in Washington D.C.
    Move on . org is all about money and fund raising for politicians.
    They have alot of gall to say they will boycott anybody.
    Hey,, go out and produce a produce or go out and
    sell a product someone else produced. Just go out and do
    something for America.

    August 6, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  2. Chuckles

    Everyone saying they will now shop/not shop at Target because of a political contribution? Bizarre! if you looked in to who or where these contributions actually come from, you would be boycotting much more places than just Target. Also, all the immature name calling here...hiding behind your little laptops, smartphones and computers...bah! The internet has turned our society into a bunch of hateful zombies.

    @Dave at TN...irony would be your 8 year old daughter growing up to be a lesbian.

    BTW, conservative, married, straight Texan here who supports equal rights for EVERYONE.

    August 6, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  3. Wanda J. Brown

    The majority of the posts on this subject seem to be more vile and insult than any substance. Those who will shop at Target out of spite seem to not have a clue that this is only the tip of the iceberg for elections being influenced by corporations rather than voters. The wall street lobbyists can rest easy now because most of these bloggers will choose to allow corporate money to do the voting instead of human beings. This is why the country is in a ditch now
    thanks to the corporations and the very rich (Bush's base)!

    August 6, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  4. inofritzn

    Oh NOOOOO mad at something? Go yell at the President who is also against gay marriage. Selective anger much? I'll increase my shopping at Target now.

    August 6, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  5. Jim

    Damn – there goes Target's market share of Trojans!

    August 6, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  6. O H I O

    Now I will stop and buy something on the way home from work from Target – even though I don't need it – just to show support. Stick to your guns Target.

    August 6, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  7. NosuchthingasGod

    Linda Johnson August 6th, 2010 4:49 pm ET
    Just think...if your boycott is successful you will be responsible for people losing their jobs. But of course you don't care about that...just what directly affects you.

    Well you think the same thing when crazy religious "family" groups ask us to boycott huge stores like Home depot and Sears and Disney? I didnt think so.

    August 6, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  8. Tom

    On to Target for my new clothes for the season!

    August 6, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  9. Lesdire

    Did GOD call you up and say he wanted you to make a comment on his behalf. Did you ever actually meet god? All you are stating is what you read from an ancient book that has been passed down changed over centuries and it has absolutely nothing to do with this. Don't put your beliefs on someone else. GOD did NOT create the AMERICAN Constitution, the forefathers did. GO read your history books. IT SAYS ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUALLY it does not say ONLY THE WHITE/CHRISTIAN/Heterosexual/6'0/MALE! If we kept on going what the so called BIBLE says Women would have no rights and Blacks would still be chained into slavery. Some book your reading.

    August 6, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  10. Mark from Wisconsin

    Really? I feel almost 200,000 could have hired a few unemployed, maybe fed a few starving kids or help those without school supplies for the upcoming school year.

    Target doesn't want to be taxed just like the rest of the major corporations in this country. Wake up people, they rule us, not government.

    I will never shop at that store again period. But will infact shop at one that loves all americans!

    August 6, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  11. KMAN821

    Kevin from CO

    Read the article before you post dimwit ... they didn't give money to THE GAYS!

    August 6, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  12. WES

    That's the problem with Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and the evil nut case Alito. Here they pass a law that allows rich corporations to buy elections when the United States is in the worst possible scenarios due to rich corporate greed. These right wing nuts don't have a judicial brain cell left, all they think about is greed and how to take from the working and middle class and give to the rich. Time to clean house. Throw these bums out, they do NOT deserve any respect. They throw away their laws at their whim, remember when they threw out states rights when they made Bush president over Gore in 2000. Now that was a low and they declared that a one time thing, yea, right. Why are all the SOBs Catholic and taking their orders from the Pope on abortion and gay rights. Didn't our nation fight a war to stop us from prostrating ourselves before stupid and insane European royalty and perverted popes? Kinda interesting that only Jews and Catholics get to sit on the Supreme isn't it? Our country in in the dark ages on most economic, social and spiritual issues thanks to politicians like these ignoranous morons and the Republican Party that will stoop to anything to stay in power and impoverish America.

    August 6, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  13. James

    I find it interesting that the gay and lesbian community preaches tolerance, but they refuse to tolerate the beliefs of people who disagree with them.

    August 6, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  14. Straight bob

    I am stopping at Target on the way home from work and spending as much as I can

    August 6, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  15. Michael

    It's days like these that I hope (actually wait) for religion to be proven true. Then God can boycott the GLBT community. Kick out some of the illegal immigrants from the store too Target, and I'll be there daily.

    August 6, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  16. brad

    This whole gay marriage issue can be resolved with a simple manipulation of language.
    First, "homosexual" was changed to "gay". It followed that "heterosexual" became "straight". Well, why not rename the word "marriage" to say "harness" or "happy"? Then, marriage can be what it has always been, between a male and female. When two gay people make a committment we'll say they got "harnessed" or "happied" . That way, the people in robes at the courts don't have to pontificate infallibly about what marriage really should be.

    August 6, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  17. NosuchthingasGod

    Tom August 6th, 2010 4:53 pm ET
    On to Target for my new clothes for the season

    LOL I wouldnt admit that bro...

    August 6, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  18. get real

    Oh, how I'd hate to be managing a Target store in the state of Arizona right now.

    August 6, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  19. t22

    So is mad because people contribute to people and foundations other than A political action committee is concerned about competing contributions? This is news?

    As for the gay boycott, this is why they always lose public sympathy – stop crying. You can only earn respect, acting childish won't get you any support.

    August 6, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  20. commonsense

    It's creepy in America when a business suffers because
    that business supports marriage between a man and a woman.
    Has anyone ever considered if everyone in the world became gay
    tonight, the human race would cease to exist in roughly 85 years

    August 6, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  21. Jim from Columbus

    The right can;t have it both ways neither. It sucks doesn't it.
    The right wants to cram religious beliefs down our throats , what make you right wing nut jobs superior? You have no right to tell gays or anyone else how to spend THEIR money. If you want to be ovulating on statehouse lawns for right to life religious garbage , go ahead. I for one am tired of subsidizing religion through tax breaks.

    August 6, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  22. RobertAtl

    You ask why boycott? Because all Target cares about is the pocketbook, of course. What would you rather we do, send emails that say "Naughty, naughty?"

    No Target for me. I don't support bigots. 'Nuff said.

    August 6, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  23. FreedomBaby

    I am definitely a Target shopper now!

    August 6, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  24. PeterV

    So it is OK for to influence politicians, but nobody else? What vile, anti-democratic bunch of fools.

    August 6, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  25. NosuchthingasGod

    brad August 6th, 2010 4:55 pm ET
    This whole gay marriage issue can be resolved with a simple manipulation of language

    Brad if you think for a moment its about the word for most anti gay marriage folks you are mistaken.. its not about the word its about gays given rights they dont agree with. You think all these people really like gays they just care about the definition of marriage? Be serious.... its not about about discrimination

    August 6, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9