Jul. 29th, 2010

mapsandlegends: Joe and David at FedCon 2010 (Default)
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Facebook: Boycott Target Until They Cease Funding Anti-Gay Politics
Twitter: #BoycottTarget // #TargetBoycott // #TargetFail

Target and Best Buy have given political contributions to Minnesota Forward, a political action committe (PAC) in Minnesota, which in turn used that money to fund campaign commercials for anti-LGBTQI gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer. Target gave $150,000 to MN Forward. Best Buy gave $100,000 to MN Forward. Tom Emmer is currently the only candidate MN Forward is supporting.

This is problematic because Tom Emmer is virulently anti-LGBTQI. He's the only anti-gay marriage candidate in the Minnesota gubernatorial race. He authored legislastion that would affect LGBTQI parenthood and adoption (defining parents only as the binary "mother and father"). From Abe Sauer of The Awl: "He has also fought "partner" language in wrongful death legislation. Also, Tom Emmer donated to, and posed with, a Christian rock band that supported the practice of executing gays in some foreign countries. Emmer's campaign actually gave the band OVER the legal limit."

I used to work at Target. It's a soulless bureaucracy that gives lip service to equality and then does bullshit like this. The only reason Target has ever cared about LGBTQI people is for the power of the queer dollar. They want our money. Just remember, Target's keyword is "diversity", not "equality". They are not the same thing.

Target is, and has been for the last 10 years at least, as bad as Wal-Mart. They do all the same things Wal-Mart does. They've been sued (and lost) for ableism, sexism and racism. They've slashed hours, staff, benefits and bonuses for low-level employees, they've ratcheted down the raise process so that they don't have to give more than 15-25 cent annual raises, even for high performers, and they engage in union-busting. Their merchandise is made in the same kinds of sweatshops and with the same slave labor, it just looks nicer. Target is not the magical unicorn of big box retailers, they're the little brother who always gets away with everything.

Do not accept Target's excuse about serving business interests, they're trying to confuse the issue. The issue is that through their actions they've given legitimacy and funding to a man who doesn't care if LGBTQI people live or die. To a man who has already made a concerted effort to strip away LGBTQI rights. No politician is truly against business, it's political suicide. The bottom line is that if they help Tom Emmer get elected, they have done a disservice to ALL LGBTQI people in America, and especially to their employees.

You cannot be for LGBTQI rights and support people who are anti-LGBTQI because those two things cancel each other out. If anti-LGBTQI politicians get elected, they take away LGBTQI rights.

Read more about Target, Best Buy and Tom Emmer at The Awl.

Oh, and check this:

Target's CEO Gregg Steinhafel and his wife each made maximum level contributions of $5000 to "one of the most anti-gay politicians in the entire United States — Rep. Michele Bachmann". Normally, I wouldn't be all that interested in where Gregg Steinhafel makes his personal political contributions, other than to consider him a douchebag and move on, but I bring it up for a reason.

From the article at Change.org:
It also begs the question how a CEO can say that his company's "support for the GLBT community is unwavering," when he himself gives money to a politician who would write discrimination into the U.S. Constitution if she could, and who believes that gays and lesbians are a threat to children.


I also made this interesting discovery in my research: Target just appointed a new VP of Government Affairs, Matt Zabel, who was Chief of Staff to anti-gay U.S. Senator John Thune. So Target just appointed this guy 6 days ago on July 23rd, and they made a $150,000 donation at almost exactly the same time where the money ended up supporting an anti-LGBTQI candidate. Coincidence?

It should also be noted that the people on Target's Board of Directors include the CEO of Wells Fargo, EVP of McDonald's, CEO of Xerox, CFO of Eli Lilly, to name a few. Most of the people on Target's board of directors are also directors on other high profile boards, and many of them are on the boards of companies that the individual Target board members directly work for. It's all very, very, very incestuous. So you can see how a move like this by Target will be watched and studied by people who can influence not only our civil rights, but the entire world's economy. Target's and Best Buy's PAC contributions help to set a precedent. This is more important than just political contributions, it has the power to affect all of our lives.

Target and its spokespeople continue to defend their PAC contributions. Along with Best Buy, they refuse to apologize for the outcome of their actions, or repudiate Tom Emmer. They keep repeating themselves about this contribution being just for the sake of their business interests and they won't admit that there's more here at stake than just tax cuts.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  • Don't spend your money at Target (or Best Buy).
    I know some people won't be able to or want to avoid Target. In that case, do something to offset funding their careless, damaging behavior.

  • Boost the signal.
    Write about this in your own journal or blog. Text it, Tweet it, put it on Facebook and MySpace. Tell people about it, talk about, let people know that Target and Best Buy are working against LGBTQI rights and are trying spin this story like it's no fault of their own. Feel free to copy and paste everything I wrote in this post. I abdicate copyright on this post. Take all of the phone numbers and email addresses and mail addresses. Use them.

  • Sign the Change.org petition.

  • Send the HRC letter.

  • Contact Target:

    • Target.com contact form.
    • Guest Relations: (800) 440-0680 (7am to 6pm CT, Monday through Friday)
      This one costs them money, use it.
    • Main Switchboard: (612)304-6073 (8am to 5pm CT, Monday through Friday)
    • Community Relations and Grants Information Hotline: (612) 696-6098

  • Contact the Executives at Target:

    • Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel
      gregg.steinhafel@target.com
      Phone: (612) 696-6234
      Fax: (612) 696-6325

      Assistant:
      Denise May
      denise.may@target.com
      612-696-6243

    • Matt Zabel, VP Govt Affairs
      matthew.zabel@target.com (I'm not sure if his email is working, I got a bounce back.)

    • Susan Kahn, VP Communications (PR)
      susan.kahn@target.com

    • Media Relations
      Eric Hausman
      612-761-2054

    • Communications
      Target
      1000 Nicollet Mall
      Minneapolis, MN 55403
      (612) 696-3400


    Gregg Steinhafel's direct reports: )

    And because Target has partnerships with numerous celebrities and designers, why not contact them as well to let them know you won't be buying their brands?

    Just a few names: )

    Contact other departments, vendors, purveyors, buyers, etc.
    Feel free to contact these people and let them know that you won't be buying any of the products they represent because of Gregg Steinhafel's and Target's monetary contributions to anti-LGBTQI politicians.
    The list: )

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