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Human Rights Campaign to Remove Target and Best Buy from its Buyer's Guide in Response to Political Donations

Minnesota_targetThe Human Rights Campaign just sent over this statement in response to questions raised by radio host Michelangelo Signorile in an interview with HRC's Vice President of Communications & Marketing Fred Sainz about the Target boycott. 

In the interview, Signorile noted that HRC, despite Target's refusal to "make it right" with the LGBT community regarding its donations to anti-gay PAC MN Forward, continued to recommend that LGBT consumers shop at Target in its buyer's guide.

That is now changing, according to HRC's Press Secretary Michael Cole:

HrcThe recent political contributions by Target and Best Buy are cause for reflection on the criteria used for future editions of the Corporate Equality Index (CEI). While considering all of this, it’s important to keep in mind that the CEI has made a tremendous impact in the real lives of LGBT people in large part because it has been a predictable and transparent roadmap for companies to institute fair workplace policies. Instead of making capricious decisions about scoring criteria, we believe that a responsible consideration of all of the facts is the smartest way to move forward.

Already complicated, the Citizens United decision has made campaign finance issues even more complex. HRC is thoughtfully studying the many ramifications of political giving by companies in this new reality.

The CEI, upon which the Buyer’s Guide is based, was completed in June 2009. Under that set of criteria, both Target and Best Buy scored 100 percent. The Buyer’s Guide available on our website was released in November 2009 and is representative of the information known to us at the time. Because we understand the impact of leaving Target and Best Buy on the various products associated with the Buyer’s Guide, both companies will soon be removed from it.

HRC will not encourage people to shop at either store and believes that consumers should make their own decisions after careful consideration of all of the information available to them.

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  1. About time. I wasn't falling for the whole "we're not asking people to shop or not shop there, but we'll give them high marks on our listing that we call a BUYER'S GUIDE and expect it to have no effect on LGBT shopping habits" nonsense.

    Posted by: Joey Y | Aug 20, 2010 2:23:40 PM

  2. It's about time. So much for the HRC leading the way...

    Posted by: Dave | Aug 20, 2010 2:23:40 PM

  3. Typical of the foot-dragging apologists at HRC. Better late than never I suppose. This is the reason that all my contributions now go to Courage Campaign.

    Posted by: Timzilla | Aug 20, 2010 2:33:50 PM

  4. I will support the boycotts. I sent an email to Target telling them so. Here's the link for their email form:

    Posted by: Chal | Aug 20, 2010 2:39:35 PM

  5. HOGSHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reread that last statement:

    "HRC will not encourage people to shop at either store and believes that consumers should make their own decisions after careful consideration of all of the information available to them."

    TRANSLATION: They won't DISCOURAGE people from shopping with them either aka HRC is NOT supporting the boycott.

    The Hilary Rosen Champagne Fund—still frauds after all these years.


    Posted by: Michael @ | Aug 20, 2010 2:40:05 PM

  6. In short, it sounds like to me that HRC isn't recommending the LGBT community and its supporters shop at Target or Best Buy but isn't discouraging us either. That's what I'm getting from it.

    Posted by: Sam | Aug 20, 2010 2:41:22 PM

  7. Target has been very supportive of the gay community for decades; way before it was fashionable. Now they are being berated for contributing to a PAC that supports MANY points of view. Guess what? This queer is not a single issue voter! And I have to chuckle when people who haven't given to charity in a long time/ever threaten to donate elsewhere.

    I've researched the facts and have make an informed decision to continue to support Target. I suggest you do the same.

    Posted by: Jeff | Aug 20, 2010 2:41:27 PM

  8. What I cannot understand is why the Citizens United Decision, which allowed the sort of contribution Target made here, did not trigger immediately in the HRC a decision to review and change the criteria for the Corporate Equality Index. The Supreme Court changed the rules, and everybody else needs to adjust their game accordingly. I understand that the CEI is based on workplace practices, but donations to politicians who oppose basic protections for LGBT workers ARE a workplace issue.

    Posted by: Landon Bryce | Aug 20, 2010 2:41:50 PM

  9. Jeff - your continued support of Target is your business - but your assertion that Target has been very supportive of the gay community for decades is based on what - you continue to make this assertion - without ever providing any facts - WHAT HAS TARGET CORPORATION DONE TO SUPPORT THE GAY COMMUNITY FOR DECADES -- other than take our hard-earned money under the lie of "unwavering" support of the gay community while top executives gave to some of the most anti-gay candidates in American politics. How much did Target - or even the Target employee PAC give to Al Franken - zero dollars - but they had no problem contributing to Norm Coleman - who has a horrible record on gay rights.


    Posted by: ricky | Aug 20, 2010 2:52:00 PM

  10. Ok, dilemma. My husband and I got "married" last month. We received gift cards to both Best Buy and Target. They already have their money from the purchaser of the card and they were given to us so we could get something for ourselves. I want to support the boycott. Do we use them? Do we walk into the respective stores and fling them across the service desk? Do we stick them in my wallet until the boycott has ended or until the monthly fees drain the balance? What would you do?

    Posted by: Kerry | Aug 20, 2010 2:54:30 PM

  11. I boycotted TARGET years ago because of their evil business practices. It is no surprise to me that they contributed to the Republicans on the basis that the Party would help them screw the consumer.

    On "Black Friday" a couple years ago, I bought a discounted GPS there & was offered additional savings if I opened a TARGET CHARGE ACCT. When I got their credit card, I found out the interest rate was 27%. I paid it off in full, cut the credit card in half, and never shopped there again.

    Posted by: JONNY NYNY2FLFL | Aug 20, 2010 2:56:06 PM

  12. Hey Ricky! Check out A.I.D.S.'s walks all over this Counttry for the last 25 years. I could list them, but you'd probably call me a liar so check them out YOURSELF!

    Posted by: Jeff | Aug 20, 2010 2:56:06 PM

  13. KERRY: Use them - they already have your money. By not using them, you are allowing to them to sit on your credit. Using them hits their bottom line.

    Posted by: David | Aug 20, 2010 3:06:16 PM

  14. Kerry,
    I think you should look at the gift cards just like you would a gift that was bought for wouldn't return a gift to Best Buy or Target that someone bought for you would you?
    Congratulations on your union... and I say go enjoy your gift cards.

    Posted by: Grant | Aug 20, 2010 3:10:03 PM

  15. Hey Jeff - Target gave to AIDS Walk across the country - gosh, are they the only company to give to AIDS Walk -- does every company that has ever contributed to AIDS Walk get to support rabidly anti-gay candidates - or just Target - what percentage of Target's routine charitable contributions went to AIDS Walk - do you know - do you care - or are you just glad to crawl after them because they put their ubiquitous logo on some charity swag?

    Crawl on your belly after your corporate Master Target all you want - grateful for any crumbs they will throw to you - but the rest of us will gladly walk by a Target and spend our hard-earned money at a business that does not secretly work against our fundamental rights at every opportunity they get - while claiming "unwavering" support.

    The only thing Target has ever really done for the gay community is take our money.

    Posted by: ricky | Aug 20, 2010 3:15:07 PM

  16. . Way to go HRC! Right on top of things....uhm, well, the train departed a couple weeks ago.

    Posted by: Peter | Aug 20, 2010 3:32:00 PM

  17. "the rest of us will gladly walk by a Target and spend our hard-earned money at a business that does not secretly work against our fundamental rights at every opportunity they get - while claiming "unwavering" support."

    Fair enough, Ricky. Seeing as how the HRC buying guide is now suspect (and perhaps always was), where SHOULD we shop? Point to the store, present nationwide (unless, of course, this is only an east/west coast thing), that sells the same quality of merchandise as Target at the same pricepoint that has, in your estimation, shown unwavering support for the gay community and made substantial, unequivocal positive contributions.

    I'm serious about this. I have no problem boycotting Target, but unless they open a Unicorn-Mart somewhere near me, this business that I "should" be shopping at doesn't seem to exist.

    Posted by: Quakerjono | Aug 20, 2010 3:33:28 PM

  18. In developing news Rosie O'Donnell continues to defend Target and its donations.

    Posted by: Pete | Aug 20, 2010 3:34:44 PM

  19. Target has already lost well more than the $150,000 it donated, and will lose more. It will take a great deal of courage for them to capitulate. Right now, they are acting in a cowardly, fearful and greedy manner.

    Posted by: Gay Florida | Aug 20, 2010 3:38:59 PM

  20. "Point to the store, present nationwide (unless, of course, this is only an east/west coast thing), that sells the same quality of merchandise as Target at the same pricepoint that has, in your estimation, shown unwavering support for the gay community and made substantial, unequivocal positive contributions."

    Is your country solely composed of Wal-Marts and Targets now? And are you really that greedy and inept that you can't locate and spend an extra couple of bucks on a company that doesn't use its retail position to choke its competitors out of business? Or is too much trouble to do more than waddle over from the Cheesecake Factory to shop for lawn figurines?

    Posted by: Zach | Aug 20, 2010 3:43:07 PM

  21. quakerjono - What I would say to you or anyone wrestling with this - is that if you can't replace your Target purchases entirely with other stores in your area - then only buy the bare minimum you need to at Target until an alternative presents itself - or until Target takes responsibility for their actions in funding rabidly anti-gay candidates and promises to never do it again - two things they have yet to do.

    I live in Los Angeles - and it has been a challenge for me even living in a large city - but I have not set foot inside a Target or a Best Buy since this news broke - and since I wrote a letter of protest to both CEOs - nor will I ever buy at either again until they take full-responsibility for their actions and assure me it will never happen again - period.

    I like good design, cheap prices, and consumer goods like anyone else - but I will not give up my fundamental civil rights to any for-profit entity just so I can purchase nice things - no, I will not.

    Posted by: ricky | Aug 20, 2010 3:50:09 PM

  22. Target has been supportive....that's what's so bizarre Certainly, it's positioned it self as the more urban, cooler,hipper alternative to Wal Mart. That's what makes this so shocking. Not that their rich board would choose to donate to a conservative politician (power corrupts), but that when revealed, they have foolishly dug in their heels and refused to appease a huge audience they're tried to cultivate for years. If I was a target marketing, pr or diversity person, I'd be freaking out right now as stubbornness is eroding all that they've built. Will I boycott Target? Nope. Few other options for good health/beauty purchases but I certainly may restrict my spending there.

    Posted by: William | Aug 20, 2010 3:58:12 PM

  23. Jeff, you've used this AIDS example on another thread. While that's noble, it was years ago, and AIDS isn't just an LGBT issue, it effects many communities, including the impoverished area's in Africa in which women are raped by HIV+ men. So suggesting that Target is LGBT friendly for AIDS walks is a strawmans argument.

    Target has donated money towards individuals who want to take away our rights, to politicians who would rather SPIT on us than make a difference in equality for EVERYONE. I don't care if Target employees donate 50% to LGBT causes, the EXECUTIVES have made continuous donations to people who HATE YOU. Does funding AIDS walks, that are not specifically for the LGBT community and are simply a PR ploy to push a corporate image, make up for the horrendous actions Target has done against you? If you believe so, then that's your right, but you're deluding yourself.

    Posted by: Cory | Aug 20, 2010 4:14:04 PM

  24. Gosh, Kerry. That's a tough one. Target already has the money, so letting it sit there isn't an option.

    If it were me, and if I were truly conflicted about it, I'd likely spend the entire card amount (and not a penny more) on supplies that could be donated to a local GLBT organization or charity. Do you have a local group that does political advocacy, or one that supports homeless GLBT kids? I bet they could use a little help.

    Hopefully, if we keep the pressure on our fellow citizens and the businesses that surround us, you guys will be able to one day be married instead of "married". :)

    Posted by: The Milkman | Aug 20, 2010 4:15:49 PM

  25. I posted this on another Target thread, but it rings true here:

    "What depresses me most is that this thread is a great a true reprentation of why the LGBT community is FAILING at making change: we are CATTY, BITCHY and MEAN to each other. Do you think this is how other civil rights movements in the past succeeded? Do you think MLK had to constantly fight with others in his community to unify? NO. They worked TOGETHER, they set aside their personal differences and realized UNITED WE STAND.

    Instead, it's daily anonymous bitching, hatred and catty comments on Towleroad, or on the street, or at gay bars and venues. We're all so insecure and fed up, we're alienating each other. AND THIS IS HOW WE WILL LOSE THE BATTLE.

    WAKE UP."

    Posted by: Cory | Aug 20, 2010 4:16:12 PM

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