Minnesota | News | Target | Tom Emmer

Target Apologizes for Donation to Anti-Gay PAC MN Forward

Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel has apologized to employees for Target's donation to anti-gay PAC MN Forward, which funds ads for anti-gay gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, the AP reports:

Target_emmer "Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel wrote employees to say the discount retailer was "genuinely sorry" over the way a $150,000 contribution to MN Forward donation played out. Steinhafel said Target would set up a review process for future political donations. MN Forward is running TV ads supporting Republican Tom Emmer, an outspoken conservative opposed to same-sex marriage and other gay-rights initiatives that have come before Minnesota's Legislature."

Wrote Steinhafel: "While I firmly believe that a business climate conducive to growth is critical to our future, I realize our decision affected many of you in a way I did not anticipate, and for that I am genuinely sorry. The diversity of our team is an important aspect of our unique culture and our success as a company, and we did not mean to disappoint you, our team or our valued guests."

The Human Rights Campaign recently took out a full page ad in the Minnesota Star-Tribune calling on Target to "make it right" for their donations to the anti-gay PAC.

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  1. Oh thank Cher! I had no idea where I was going to go instead.

    Posted by: JNJ | Aug 5, 2010 3:12:27 PM

  2. The protest must have been affecting revenue. Nice to hear someone actually admit to a mistake and hear a genuine apology. Well done.

    It will be nice to shop at Target again.

    Posted by: Mark | Aug 5, 2010 3:13:29 PM

  3. Screw the apology. Stop payment on the check.

    Posted by: charley | Aug 5, 2010 3:14:41 PM

  4. Touched at your "genuine" sorrow, but what are you going to do to even the score? The bigots are still $150,000 richer.

    Posted by: MikeMick | Aug 5, 2010 3:17:24 PM

  5. I agree. Either get the money back, or make an offsetting contribution which would have to be much greater since early money is like yeast.

    Posted by: Chad | Aug 5, 2010 3:20:16 PM

  6. Apologies are overrated. Action speaks louder than words... so, either stop the check, or make a contribution to a pro-gay candidate, or cause. And if you want to be even more "contrite", make it a bigger amount to the pro gay side. Until I see some POSITIVE action on his part, and not just lip service, I will continue to take my gay dollars elsewhere.

    Posted by: Reggie | Aug 5, 2010 3:23:34 PM

  7. Did Tony Hayward get hired by Target? Apologist FAIL. What Target really regrets is the fall-out/bad publicity, not the donation.

    Posted by: widestanceromance | Aug 5, 2010 3:24:03 PM

  8. It's a nice apology. Now that they've gotten that off their chest, it's time for some action. It's time to correct this epic blunder. How about an equal or bigger donation to a gay rights organization?

    Posted by: Josh | Aug 5, 2010 3:25:00 PM

  9. A non-apologetic apology. Fuck Target.

    Posted by: Roscoe | Aug 5, 2010 3:26:31 PM

  10. It's within the context of a biz setting, but that is the CEO addressing his employees first. I'm sure Target will spend time figuring out how to do it better.

    Be gracious and give them the chance to move forward. They had always been a solid company previously.

    Posted by: stephen | Aug 5, 2010 3:30:28 PM

  11. Where's the money (now)?

    Posted by: TonyJazz | Aug 5, 2010 3:38:03 PM

  12. Let it GO! The company is totally gay friendly. Let's stop fighting with our supporters and go out and take on the real haters!

    Posted by: Frank | Aug 5, 2010 3:44:40 PM

  13. Frank, I'd normally agree, but in this case the money was going to a candidate who has previously endorsed groups that call for the execution of GLBT folks. A company that supports the Twin Cities Pride events and then turns around and gives an assload of money to Mr. Emmer is not a gay friendly company. There is no such thing as a gay friendly company. There are only good and foolish business decisions, and this was a foolish one.

    We get so focused on monitoring the obvious haters out there, we sometimes forget to watch our friends. Lesson learned.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Aug 5, 2010 3:50:50 PM

  14. The other factor to note is that this "apology" for for the employees of Target and NOT to the public. So, as far as I'm concerned, it means nothing. If they make a bigger donation to HRC or a GLTB charity (and cancel the check for the original donation), then I might shop there again. Oh, and what about Best Buy? They're still haters too, yes?

    Posted by: Jon A. Leslie | Aug 5, 2010 4:05:12 PM

  15. Where's the apology from Gregg Steinhafel and his wife Denise for personally giving $20,000 to Emmer and Bachmann directly? I don't suppose we will hear he is genuinely sorry for personally financing the worst gay-hate mongers in United States history.

    Posted by: Timzilla | Aug 5, 2010 4:12:16 PM


    Well reasoned, sir!

    Posted by: MikeMick | Aug 5, 2010 4:23:53 PM

  17. Seriously! What do you gays SEE in target??! It sells nothing but trash, garbage, its SO last season! I'm embarrassed for you!

    Posted by: wonderer | Aug 5, 2010 4:27:37 PM

  18. Besides that..."review process for future political donations". They already DO that. It's just a way for them to beet around the bush. They knew what they were doing.

    Posted by: wonderer | Aug 5, 2010 4:35:39 PM

  19. ...."beat".....sorry, i need to slow down.

    Posted by: wonderer | Aug 5, 2010 4:37:33 PM

  20. You'll need to see the full letter to appreciate the appology.

    In the letter, he promises to 1) set up a review process for all future political activity in the company and 2) to lead a group of companies and organizations in better including diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

    I, for one, believe he's sincere. And it's a lot better of an appology than we've gotten from many who've done us wrong.

    And seriously, Target (the corp) is very gay friendly. I don't think anyone who works for it believes it has a big anti-gay agenda.

    Do yourself a favor, let it go, and chock one up to "when protesting actually got something accomplished."

    Posted by: Frozen North | Aug 5, 2010 4:40:10 PM

  21. Right, ethics don't exist in business...it's just smart business decisions and not smart business decisions (whatever makes more money?)...is that really your contention? I don't think it is...I don't think it can be...magically, in business, one's obligations, responsibilities vanish for some reason?

    Posted by: TANK | Aug 5, 2010 4:40:36 PM

  22. Saying something is "so last season" is so last season...I feel sorry for YOU!

    Posted by: Grant | Aug 5, 2010 4:42:52 PM

  23. Here's the full letter, in case some other source doesn't print it, which is odd, because the full thing has been released to the public.


    Dear Target Leaders,

    I have heard from many of you, and our team members, over the past week regarding Target’s contribution to MN Forward, and I appreciate your engagement and candor, both of which clearly demonstrate your loyalty and passion for our company.

    In situations like this, it is often difficult to find the right words, but I would like to respond with the same honesty you have shown me.

    The intent of our political contribution to MN Forward was to support economic growth and job creation. While I firmly believe that a business climate conducive to growth is critical to our future, I realize our decision affected many of you in a way I did not anticipate, and for that I am genuinely sorry.

    We remain fully committed to fostering an environment that supports and respects the rights and beliefs of all individuals. The diversity of our team is an important aspect of our unique culture and our success as a company, and we did not mean to disappoint you, our team or our valued guests.

    Going forward, we will soon begin a strategic review and analysis of our decision-making process for financial contributions in the public policy arena. And later this fall, Target will take a leadership role in bringing together a group of companies and partner organizations for a dialogue focused on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, including GLBT issues.

    Thank you for sharing your input and for your continued commitment to making Target an even stronger company.

    Gregg Steinhafel
    Chairman, President and CEO

    Team members are welcome to share this information with family, friends or acquaintances outside of Target.

    Posted by: Frozen North | Aug 5, 2010 4:43:23 PM

  24. Grant, you must shop at Target.

    Posted by: wonderer | Aug 5, 2010 5:10:28 PM

  25. So we got an apology and now they need to donate the same amount to a gay-friendly organisation, yes. Can Towleroad report back to us when this happens? I will go back to Target then.

    Posted by: malo | Aug 5, 2010 5:19:04 PM

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