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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. The CEO of Target and his wife each donated directly to homohating Emmer's campaign as much as MN law allows [$2300 each, as I recall], so none of you self-loathing queens try to give us any bullshit about how the corporate donation was as pure as the driven snow.

    No matter what the corporation has done before or still is for LGBTs, ZERO TOLERANCE for helping advance the career of a guy who not only wants to ban marriage equality in the state constitution, not only was against helping gay couples create families with surrogacy, but voted against the Final Wishes bill which would provide same-sex partners the automatic right to control their partner's remains after death, eliminating the need for costly and ineffective legal documents to ensure the right to make after-death decisions, and allow a surviving same-sex partner to sue the person responsible for a wrongful death -- such as a drunken driver -- to recover medical and funeral expenses.

    How much of the Target CEO's donation was a part of the $250 Emmer's campaign donated to the rabidly antigay "Christian punk rock group" YCR whom he describes as "nice people" even after their lead said on his radio program:

    “Muslims are calling for the executions of homosexuals in America. This just shows you they themselves are upholding the laws that are even in the Bible of the Judeo-Christian God, but they seem to be more moral than even the American Christians do, because these people are livid about enforcing their laws. They know homosexuality is an abomination.”

    “If America won’t enforce the laws, God will raise up a foreign enemy to do just that. That is what you are seeing in America.”

    “The bottom line is this...they [homosexuals] play the victim when they are, in fact, the predator. On average, they molest 117 people before they’re found out. How many kids have been destroyed, how many adults have been destroyed because of crimes against nature?”

    Posted by: Michael @ | Aug 20, 2010 4:22:41 PM

  2. Who even considers HRC relevant anymore? I love how anytime there is a story about gays, the MSM trots out Joe from HRC as if he is the official spokesperson for gays. Did they have ANYTHING to do with the fight against prop 8? No. Wake up people, HRC would not be building 20 million-dollar buildings if they wanted to end the "mission" anytime soon. HRC spends 90% of its time fundraising and putting on fab cocktail parties in Washington while bragging about "access" to politicians. The actual goal of changing things for the better for LGBT folks is NOT a priority..

    Posted by: Scott | Aug 20, 2010 4:29:09 PM


    This letter reads like this:

    Dear Fags,

    We tried to get target to promise to NEVER EVER do anything like this again! And then when we asked that they run donations by us and that they needed to give a ton of money to the people we like, THEY GOT MAD! Can you believe these HOMOPHOBES?

    Well anyway since we don't actually research anything we put on our lists, we are like TOTALLY embarrassed that people fond out how shitty and lazy we are, I mean who would have thought to look into the political donations of a huge multi national company? Anyway, our bad! I mean Targets BAD!"

    Fuck the HRC, I will accept Targets apology and hopefully they wont do it again. Mostly because I am an adult.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Aug 20, 2010 4:34:21 PM

  4. Thank you, Ricky, for the response. I absolutely agree that one should not patronize businesses that shame, disparage and actively work against the GBLT community (or any community, for that matter), so I do try to shop local businesses, particularly those that offer tangible support to the local gay and lesbian community. I just think it's vitally important that specific suggestions are offered when avenues are closed. Shopping "less" is a good suggestion. Better suggestions would be to offer free publicity to those stores and shops that you've found to replace.

    What frequently gets forgotten in boycott situations is that, people still need goods and services, so instead of just saying "Don't shop," a more powerful message is, "Shop here instead because they have better prices/have better merchandise/have better business practices/contribute more to my community of interest." Then, not only does the offending business lose revenue, but local businesses see upticks and you may just find places that you like better.

    And Zach, please feel free to bugger your bunghole bloody with your enormous sense of smirking superiority, you effete meatsack full of monkey cum. I asked a logical follow-up question as to where one SHOULD shop now that Target and potentially every other business listed in one of the larger sources of "GBLT-approved" shopping has become verboten and you went all screechy queen. Way to represent, dipshit.

    Posted by: Quakerjono | Aug 20, 2010 4:45:53 PM

  5. Highly paid HRC VP Fred Sainz is relatively new to the group, but there's still no excuse for his having claimed yesterday that the Equality Index is ONLY about workplace policies, or an another HRC rep saying weeks ago that corporate political donations are irrelevant. CEI rating criteria #6 clearly states:

    "Employer exhibits responsible behavior toward the LGBT community; does not engage in action that would undermine LGBT equality. Employers found engaging in activities that would undermine LGBT equality will have 15 points removed from their scores."

    Even IF there was no evidence of Target having engaged in such activity before [which others claim there were, and is questionable in any case given HRC's history of ignoring such actions by the Coors family when it was still a standalone company], HRC is aware of it now, and could easily update such information. For instance, all that would be required would be inserting a new first page in the PDF of the 2010 CEI linked to on the HRC site that explaining that their 100% rating [and, thus, BUY recommendation] is no longer valid.

    And, now, they're pretending to be doing the right thing when all they're really doing is being the gay Switzerland, taking no side at all.



    Posted by: Michael @ | Aug 20, 2010 4:59:55 PM

  6. "And Zach, please feel free to bugger your bunghole bloody with your enormous sense of smirking superiority, you effete meatsack full of monkey cum. "

    My, my what a shock. Hit close to home, didn't I? Tell me, do you in fact have lawn figurines cluttering your front yard? Or are you one of those types who thinks it's acceptable to position ceramic dwarves in strategic corners around the living room?

    Your question was shit, was predicated on the belief that there had to be a national alternative to Target, and if one did not exist, one would be forced to choose Target. What, are they storming into your house, demanding that you choose one junky national proprietor over another?

    Newsflash: no one 'needs' what Target sells. You need food, water, and shelter. You don't need endless piles of plastic crap to wile away your time. I get it, all those third helpings at chain restaurants have drastically shortened your life (because like the Target scenario, there's no alternative to not pigging out on processed food), and you're looking to fill your meaningless existence with baubles. But try actually living for something beyond a stupid fucking corporation.

    Posted by: Zach | Aug 20, 2010 5:01:50 PM

  7. Kerry: You don't support the boycott at all because it's ridiculous. First off, you hurt LGBT employees (like myself) that work there. Secondly, I support Target in their contribution because it was done for business growth purposes, and in no way was it anti-gay. Too many of these people get their panties in a wad about things. This whole boycott is stupid, and if HRC supports it, makes me consider removing myself from the HRC site and not buying merchandise from them.

    Posted by: Eric | Aug 20, 2010 5:05:14 PM

  8. "You don't support the boycott at all because it's ridiculous. First off, you hurt LGBT employees (like myself) that work there. Secondly, I support Target in their contribution because it was done for business growth purposes, and in no way was it anti-gay."

    Throwing money at anti-gay politicians is anti-gay. If said politician gets elected, he'll no doubt try to obstruct equality. If said corporation's money contributed to that, then they're culpable.

    I honestly doubt this boycott will inflict much more than publicity damage, but if it actually led to you being fired, I'd say it was worth it, Quisling.

    Posted by: Zach | Aug 20, 2010 5:12:51 PM

  9. How depressing is it when so many gays are so incapable of doing the bare minimum and not shopping at a fucking store? Are we that shallow and materialistic that we'll deliberately damage our rights just because we're addicted to shiny things?

    Posted by: Clifton | Aug 20, 2010 5:15:02 PM

  10. Well stated Clifton. Even more interesting, many are taking this personally and getting bitchy towards each other. This is exactly what our enemies want: division. Only with respect and unity will we win our overdue respect and civil rights.

    This isn't just about boycotting, it's a test, a test of our community to determine if we can work together and fight. Boycotting Target and BestBuy may be a tear in a salty sea with regard to the "big picture", but like any good masterpiece, it's the little things that make the big picture happen. I applaud the individuals who stood up for their rights by personally boycotting Target. Some may not agree with their methods, but at least it's gotten attention to those who may be unaware of what Target and companies like it are doing. Small steps...

    And if you don't agree, do so civilly. This bag and forth banter is depressing and serves us no good.

    Posted by: Cory | Aug 20, 2010 5:20:17 PM

  11. Zach, you're right. Bitchy queen is bitchy does hit close to home. I really should never have indulged in that bit of name-calling. Sometimes it's very frustrating when the community I'm a part of and supposed to be supporting seems to itself not be very supporting. I let that frustration get the better of me and I apologize.

    However, my question was not "shit", it is a legitimate question: Once you've boycotted everyone (the merits of those boycotts aside), where DO you shop? And yes, if you're localized to a small community away from larger urban centers, the Target/Wal-Mart dichotomy may very well be the choice after years of having smaller business put out of business.

    So the question is legitimate and was used as a way to start suggestions of places where one COULD shop for whatever one considers a life necessity while still offering support for the GBLT Community. I'm sorry you think that's "shit", but I don't.

    Posted by: Quakerjono | Aug 20, 2010 5:25:30 PM

  12. I have a serious question for my L.A. homos. Have you noticed anyone saying that they are not shopping at the Target on La Brea and Santa Monica at anymore? If so, has it been a lot of people ,or, just a few?

    I'm just interested.

    Posted by: Derek Washington | Aug 20, 2010 5:28:01 PM

  13. Quakerjono: I do a lot of research on companies, and I've found shopping online not only saves you money, but allows you the freedom to pick companies other than BestBuy and Target. In fact, I try to shop with small local businesses as I want to support them rather than increase the support of indifferent and domineering corporations such as Walmart and Target. If that means I have to pay a little more for items as small businesses do not have the cash reserve to buy in bulk as Target, et all which means they pay charge more, I'd rather do that. At least I know where my money is going, what they support, and that small businesses and the middle class might get a chance at growing and supporting a stronger economy.

    Posted by: Cory | Aug 20, 2010 5:30:19 PM

  14. ". . . .Secondly, I support Target in their contribution because it was done for business growth purposes, and in no way was it anti-gay. Too many of these people get their panties in a wad about things. . .

    Posted by: Eric | Aug 20, 2010 5:05:14 PM"

    Eric - If Emmer had an anti-Christian platform, or anti-African American platform, or anti-Jewish platform, or anti-Hispanic platform - would you and Target be so ready to ignore it due to his "pro-business" policies? Are the other candidates threatening to nationalize Target - what exactly is a pro-business policy - and why do you and Target imagine for even a moment it is more important than fundamental civil rights for your customers?

    Target Executives - who made this decision - have not only a history of giving to rabidly anti-gay candidates - but some of them have actually worked for these candidates.

    While I have no doubt that Target is willing to tell any lazy sad pathetic lie now in an effort to continue to take my money under blatantly false pretenses - unlike Target Executives - I am not stupid.

    I have little doubt that Target can get along just fine without my money - just as I have little doubt that I can easily get along without shopping at Target. We are done.

    Posted by: ricky | Aug 20, 2010 6:24:29 PM

  15. I read the comments because it causes me to think, review and research ideas. I've read all the comments here and there are many conflicting facts. I don't live in Minnesota, but I still did a little research on the candidate that is causing all the uproar. He has some good points and some really bad points. It is kind of like the Presidential Elections: I would be forced to vote for the lessor of two evils.

    Posted by: Jeff | Aug 20, 2010 7:27:49 PM

  16. @CORY - Actually Cory, MLK did have to fight against Malcolm X and the Black Panthers. Not all of the Civil Rights movement was on the same page and they did battle each other on the methods by which they would achieve those rights. MLK is most remember because he chose peaceful means, while the latter chose to act out in not so peaceful ways. Both were effective and both built upon each other to change society.

    Posted by: Peter | Aug 20, 2010 8:07:13 PM

  17. Please take some time to be smart consumers. We are a critical time for gay rights, and the opposition is getting desperate as our equality nears.

    I would be suspicious of anyone commenting on here who is against this boycott. A lot are not fully familiar with Target's entire, recent contribution history...including donations to Prop 8 supporters...or they seem totally disinterested in protecting their rights.

    Posted by: Scudder | Aug 20, 2010 8:11:12 PM

  18. Jeff - you could not be more wrong - and since you read all the comments - read this: What could you possibly find in Emmer's positions that would justify his rabidly anti-gay positions? Will posts defending Hitler and Mussolini come next - were they just misunderstood and did they actually do some great things too?

    Throughout history, in the coliseums of Rome, in the village squares of Salem, on the streets of Nazi Germany - there have been citizens like you that have calmly watched as their fellow countrymen were rounded up for certain brutal death - some have enjoyed it more than others - some simply watched -- but they all did nothing.

    Continue to do nothing Jeff.

    Posted by: ricky | Aug 20, 2010 8:23:35 PM

  19. I kind of liked going to Target, but there's really little I buy there I can't get from Costco. I can easily skip Best Buy and pick up a TV or a Dyson at Costco as well.

    I'm willing to change what I buy and where I buy it. So long Target! Adios, Best Buy!

    Posted by: Randy Taylor | Aug 20, 2010 8:45:46 PM

  20. The HRC still hasn't supported the boycott. This is an example of why I don't support the HRC.

    Posted by: libhomo | Aug 20, 2010 9:27:50 PM

  21. Kerry,

    Why can't you buy something with the gift cards and then return it for a cash refund?

    That way you get the value of the gift cards and can purchase something for yourself elsewhere.

    Posted by: Tim | Aug 20, 2010 9:33:57 PM

  22. Peter: Agreed, but not nearly as disjointed and hateful towards each other as the LGBT community currently seems. Just read any thread on Towleroad, or spend a night at a local gay bar, catty bitchy queens aren't hard to find. I could go on and on about what I know of the West Hollywood Prop 8 team, and how their inability to agree and unite, was one of the many factors that resulted in the conservative area's in SoCal NOT being challenged with regards to their views on homosexuality. That's a long story.

    My point, the LGBT is very much disjointed, and most seem more interested in bitchy each other out rather than working through our differences for a common goal, something MLK faced and overcame to empower others.

    Posted by: Cory | Aug 20, 2010 10:37:59 PM

  23. to my would-be political gay brethren and sistren-- why boycott target and other fair-weather friends when you could seriously boycott implacable foes like fundee hobby lobby and dominionist chik-fil-a. get a clue, eh?

    Posted by: unokhan | Aug 20, 2010 10:43:14 PM

  24. Unokhan: Target and BestBuy are national chains that have a huge American retail presence, not everyone has a chik-fil-a et al. Further, who is to say that we aren't? Target and BestBuy are news as they are major players and have surprised many as they SEEMED to support LGBT equality.

    Posted by: Cory | Aug 20, 2010 10:51:08 PM

  25. I've never heard of Hobby Lobby and never eat at Chick-Fil-A

    Shouldn't be any problem boycotting all of them.

    Posted by: Tim | Aug 20, 2010 11:54:56 PM

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