This morning, Target spokesperson Jessica Carlson passed along an open letter from Target CEO Gregg W. Steinhafel to his employees. In it, he repeats Target’s admittedly laudable inclusion of anti-discrimination policies protecting employees on the basis of BOTH gender identity and sexual orientation, and staff trainings that help enforce these politices. He also tries to reassure enraged employees and community members that Target really does like the LGBT community, and would never try to hurt us. The company’s donation to Minnesota Forward, a business-oriented PAC staffed by former Pawlenty advisors which exclusively supports anti-gay gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, Steinhafel says, is just the company’s attempt to preserve its employees jobs. And don’t worry about Emmer’s friends‘ propensity to call for the execution and imprisonment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans people. Thanks for understanding, guys! KThanxbye!

Update: Check out what The Awl dug up on Steinhafel’s personal political donations. They’re seeing Bachmania.

Dear Target Team,

In the past week I’ve heard from some of you, including our GLBT team members, regarding your concerns with Target’s recent contributions to MN Forward, an independent expenditure committee that is supported by a broad coalition of large and small businesses throughout the state, including the Minnesota Business Partnership and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.

As you know, Target has a history of supporting organizations and candidates, on both sides of the aisle, who seek to advance policies aligned with our business objectives, such as job creation and economic growth. MN Forward is focused specifically on those issues and is committed to supporting candidates from any party who will work to improve the state’s job climate. However, it is also important to note that we rarely endorse all advocated positions of the organizations or candidates we support, and we do not have a political or social agenda.

In the context of this contribution, some of you have raised questions regarding our commitment to diversity, and more specifically, the GLBT community. Let me be very clear, Target’s support of the GLBT community is unwavering, and inclusiveness remains a core value of our company. Some current examples of that support include:

• Domestic Partner Benefits

• Sponsorship of Twin Cities Pride

• Sponsorship of Out & Equal Workplace Summit

In addition, Target’s rating of 100% on the 2009 and 2010 Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index further demonstrates the reputation our company has earned.

As CEO, I consider it my responsibility to create conditions in which Target can thrive, and I promise to do so with the best interests of our guests, team, shareholders and communities in mind. I appreciate your input and understanding.


Gregg Steinhafel
Chairman, President and CEO
¤ Target

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  1. As a company that promotes diversity, how can you donate to an organization that funds anti-gay candidates?

    I understand that the organization supports pro business candidates, but should that override Target’s diversity efforts?

    I like your stores. I’m a long time customer, but will have to reconsider where I spend my money from now on.


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