In surprise announcement, Target appears to choose customers over 'corporate equality' rating

In surprise announcement, Target appears to choose customers over 'corporate equality' rating

In surprise announcement, Target  appears to choose customers over 'corporate equality' rating

A surprise announcement by retail giant Target is being viewed as progress by a ministry that started a culture-war battle with the corporation and its dangerous transgender-friendly policy eight years ago.

In a May 9 press release, LGBT ally Target announced scaled-back plans for stocking its shelves with rainbow flag-colored merchandise when “Pride Month” kicks off in June. The corporation promised to continue its “sense of belonging” and a “culture of care,” but it was a cryptic-sounding paragraph that got the attention of both Target’s allies and critics.

In last week’s press release, Target stated:

We’re offering a collection of products including adult apparel and home and food and beverage items, curated based on consumer feedback. The collection will be available on Target.com and in select stores, based on historical sales performance.

The reference to “select stores” and “sales performance” triggered the homosexual-rights activists at Human Rights Campaign. That D.C.-based lobbying group pressures corporations, including Target, to promote and defend LGBT rights.

Reacting to the announcement, Target’s decision to limit “Pride Month” merchandise “alienates LGBTQ+ individuals and allies at the risk of not only their bottom line but also their values,” Kelley Robinson, HRC president, told NPR for its story about the Target press release.

As part of its arm-twisting lobbying efforts, the Human Rights Campaign maintains a “Corporate Equality Index” that rates the “workplace inclusion” of 1,380-plus companies, including major retailers, law firms, and Fortune 500 companies. Target Corp. is currently a “national corporate partner” at HRC, with a score of 95 out of 100 points, so scaling back merchandise during “Pride Month” is likely seen as a treasonous act.

Target got targeted in backlash

Target's announcement also comes one year after the retailer stepped in a “Pride Month” public relations nightmare. Thanks to the reach of social media, the public learned Target was selling LGBT-themed products for children, such as baby bibs and onesies for newborns. The corporation’s embrace of transgenderism meant it stocked its shelves with “tuck-friendly” women’s swimsuits, AFN reported a year ago.

Even worse for public relations, much of the LGBT-themed merchandise at Target came from a UK-based fashion designer named Erik Carnell. She is a self-described “gay trans man” who uses Satanic imagery in her artwork and even speaks fondly of Satan himself.

Carnell’s most violent and occultic products did not make it to a Target store shelf, such as a guillotine called a “Homophobe Headrest,” but the PR nightmare was enough for Target to order stores in rural states to move the controversial merchandise to the back to quiet customer complaints.

Because of public backlash, Target’s stock dropped from $160 a share to $138 a share, a 14% drops and a $10 billion loss in valuation, The New York Post reported a year ago. 

'Our efforts are paying off' 

A year later, at the Mississippi-based American Family Association, Target’s announcement is viewed as a victory after the corporation stubbornly refused to protect women and girls in its stores.

“This shows that our efforts are paying off,” Walker Wildmon, an AFA vice president, tells AFN. “Consumers are fed up with the political garbage being pushed by corporate America. Consumers want companies to stay out of ideological battles and focus on their core business products and services.”

AFA urged the public to boycott Target stores in April 2016, when Target boasted that its stores follow a transgender-friendly policy for restrooms and changing rooms. That policy also allows deviant straight men to gain access to women and girls, AFA warned, which puts them in danger.

Sure enough, news stories around the country documented lurid and criminal activities but Target refused to change its policy despite proof female shoppers were being victimized in its stores.

Wildmon, Walker (AFA VP operations) Wildmon

AFA, known for culture-war boycotts against Disney and other major corporations, launched a boycott against shopping at Target. An online pledge to boycott Target stores climbed to more than 1 million signatures within weeks, which became AFA’s most successful boycott to date. 

Meanwhile, the AFA-led boycott to protect women and girls is not over. In its own state of Mississippi, AFA recently learned a male peeping tom was arrested at a Target store in Flowood. Jamerious Funchess, 24, is accused of peering over a dressing room wall while a woman was trying on clothes next to him.

“We will continue our boycott and pressure campaign,” Wildmon vows, “in order to see Target reverse their terrible bathroom policy and get out of the gender-confusion business.”

Editor's Note: The American Family Association is the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates AFN.net.