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Target shareholders pepper CEO over donations to anti-gay politicians

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Target Corp. Chairman Gregg Steinhafel on Wednesday faced some unexpected questions at the company’s annual meeting from shareholders who wanted answers about the company’s funding of anti-gay politicians.

Steinhafel was peppered with questions about a $150,000 donation Target made in 2010 to MN Forward, a group that supported gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer. Emmer, who lost the race to Gov. Mark Dayton, supported a proposed amendment to Minnesota constitution to ban gay marriage.

Several shareholders and shoppers were disappointed after Target donated money to the group. Musician Lady Gaga, who supports gay rights, walked away from plans to sell a special album at Target in early 2011.

Bill de Blasio, New York City public advocate and trustee of the New York City employees retirement system, which holds about $50 million in Target shares, said on Tuesday that he is “deeply concerned” when he sees those pension investments used unwisely.

A number of shareholders at Wednesday’s meeting echoed his comments, repeatedly asking Steinhafel about the donation. Target has changed its review process for donations since the MN Forward donation, but some shareholders would like to see a more explicit apology and broader change from the company.

Target’s donation led to nationwide boycotts of the retailer among LGBT consumers and allies, and the retailer continued to fund anti-gay politicians after Steinhafel issued a public apology.

Sales at Target stores open at least a year rose 2.8 percent, at the low end of the company’s expectations; Target’s stock plunged 21.7 percent from the beginning of 2011 through Tuesday.

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Filed under: National Headlines

16 more reader comments:

  1. still not shopping there..

    Posted on Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 7:18am
  2. Why does the article say nothing about how Steinhafel answered the questions?

    Posted on Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 7:20am
  3. I think that this is blatant prejudice. My wish is that Target goes into the red and fails rapidly. I will not purchase anything there…ever!

    Posted on Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 7:31am
  4. I’m over Target but lets not forget Best Buy gave money too but nothing ever went too far with them like with Target.

    Posted on Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 7:38am
  5. Nice to see other gay people still boycotting Target and not just because it was the in thing to do for 2 weeks and move on.

    Posted on Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 7:39am
  6. Its hard to stay away from Best Buy though I know I did it successfully for a couple months but wasn’t able to fully say bye!

    Posted on Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 7:40am
  7. I do not shop there either..my rights are far more important to me then shopping there.

    Posted on Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 7:42am
  8. i dont shop at either store.

    Posted on Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 7:56am
  9. The bigger picture is that we pay more taxes thank everyone else if you are in a relationship. That is batant discrimination.

    Posted on Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 8:34am
  10. This is so blown out of proportion. I work at Target and the stores are hardly anti-gay. Have you guys ever considered maybe they supported these candidates for other reasons. Not everyone like the GLBT community votes strictly based on who likes gays or not.

    I work with a openly gay manager and others who I would hardly consider conservative. I have also have to say this place is a very liberal workplace.

    Seriously though. Grow up. I sometimes wonder why as a Transsexual I associate myself with the GLB community anymore. Grow a thicker skin. Whining because of political donations will not get Gay Marriage legallized.

    Posted on Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 8:40am
  11. Also those of you boycotting Best Buy… I know a friend who is Transsexual they hired her knowing she was trans. They does not sound like the evil company you act like they are.

    Go on regardless Boycott… You can shop at Wal-Mart instead. Oh, wait I forgot Wal-Mart is blatantly in bed with Family Values donations to groups that only deal with Family Values.

    Posted on Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 8:49am
  12. this is why I don’t shop there

    Posted on Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 9:47am
  13. I agree with Danya. Although supporting a foundation that supports Anti-Gay Politics is deplorable, I highly doubt the sole reason for making the donation was because of the groups Anti-Gay activism. I may not know the whole story, and I may be a tad naive, but it seems silly to me that our community assumes that if one company or foundation doesn’t outwardly support us, it must be vehemently opposed to us.

    Posted on Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 10:11am
  14. Nicholas, exactly. Like I said I work at Target. It is by far the most liberal place I have ever worked, and it is in Texas. They actually CARE about their employees. They do not care if you are white or black straight or gay (and yes we have several out gay employees, one being a manager.) Target’s insurance pays for sex reassignment surgery even. Does this sound like the demon you are painting them out to be?!?! No.

    They probably endorsed those senators for lower taxes. It was more than likely nothing to do with them being against gay marriage. In fact they probably did not think about that until they were put on the spot.

    I am proud to say I work at Target and buy from Target. The rest of you need to stop believing everything you hear. If you want to know of a company that treats their employees bad look at Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart supports Family Values groups that care about nothing other than oppressing gays.

    Posted on Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 10:32am
  15. I won’t shop there.

    Posted on Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 1:36pm
  16. I miss shopping at Target but honestly have been able to find everything I used to buy there in other stores and online. If Target doesn’t want my business, and apparently they don’t, I’m OK with that. If I had Target stock, I’d sell it. Just sayin’.

    Posted on Monday, June 13, 2011 at 9:20am