By Katherine Dean
Target Corp. is attempting to dodge bullets after defending its $150,00 donation to MN Forward, a group running TV ads supporting Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, a Republican who opposes gay marriage. Though CEO Gregg Steinhafel on Tuesday declared that “Target’s support of the GLBT community is unwavering, and inclusiveness remains a core value of our company,” thousands have joined Facebook groups calling for a boycott of the retail giant.
Former Target shopper Randi Reitan, whose son is gay, even posted this YouTube video, in which she cuts up her Target card and explains that her family members wouldn’t want her to purchase items from a store that supports a candidate with anti-gay views.
In an e-mail to Target staff members, Steinhafel claims that the donation was made because MN Forward seeks to “advance policies aligned with our business objectives, such as job creation and economic growth.”
Gay rights activists have cited that the donation clashes with Target’s hip and tolerant image. Monica Meyer, interim director of OutFront Minnesota said, “A lot of people feel betrayed,” explaining that the gay community views Target, which donates money each year to the Twin Cities Gay Pride Festival, as an ally in their fight for equal rights.
Target is able to give money to MN Forward because of a controversial U.S. Supreme Court ruling in January that changed campaign finance laws in 24 states. The ruling, which was lauded by republicans and lambasted by the Obama administration, allows corporations and unions spend unlimited amounts on television ads leading up to an election. Best Buy has also donated $100,000 to MN Forward.