Friday, August 20, 2010

Target Shareholders Speak Out: Donation to Rabid Homophobe Harms Target's Brand

And speaking of long-term damage: the fallout from Target's $150,000 donation to rabidly homophobic Minnesota Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer is far from over.  Martha Lohn reports today--again at HuffPo--that several shareholders filed resolutions yesterday with both Target and Best Buy (who also contributed to Emmer) noting that the choice of these companies to make these donations undercuts values these companies claim to honor in their corporate life, and harms their brand.  Those filing the shareholder resolutions were Walden Asset Management and Trillium Asset Management Corp. of Boston and Calvert Asset Management Co. of Bethesda, MD.

The more the Target story breaks open, the more strongly inclined I am to think that the Target official who called me from their national customer service office early this year, to insult me when I asked a question about the company's purchasing policies, had profiled me prior to calling me.  And that he fully intended to be insulting.  No sane business treats long-time good customers as this customer service team member treated me, unless that business's approach to customers is seriously off-kilter due to something like prejudice.

I'm convinced, in other words, that Randi Reitan and others who detect a strong homophobic current running through the corporate culture of Target right now are, well, right on target.  And until that culture is exposed and challenged, it will continue undermining the Target brand for many customers who once saw this business as decent and admirable, in its commitment to socially progressive causes.

P.S. Current membership of the Boycott Target group at Facebook:  68,300.

Addendum, later the same day: this helpful article on the same topic has just popped up at the Yahoo news site.