Target CEO is “Genuinely Sorry” for Anti-LGBT Contribution

Target CEO is “Genuinely Sorry” for Anti-LGBT Contribution

August 5, 2010 Discrimination Featured 28

target gaysIn a message published today to Target leaders, Target President and CEO Gregg Steinhafel, apologized for the contribution to MNForward, which supports candidates who maintain a very anti-LGBT platform.  Here’s the statement from Target:

Civic Activity
A Message From Gregg Steinhafel, Chairman, President and CEO – 8/5/2010

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

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28 Responses

  1. Eric says:

    I think the point is, that they didn't donate because of his anti gay stand. They donated because of the fiscal promises he was making. I think the way Target fixes this, is by being watchful, and making sure in the future that they use a better system to determine who gets money etc.

    I applaud Target for coming out and owning it!

  2. jeff says:

    this is not an apology for donating the funds. its an apology that his "decision affected many of you in a way I did not anticipate".

    • Osito says:

      I so agree… there is something much deeper here and it's donation and what he's not saying.

    • Kathleen says:

      Thank you. It's like saying "I'm sorry you feel that way." (I'm sorry YOU took offense. I'm sorry you misunderstood. And other variations of the same non-apology.)

  3. Dave says:

    Talk is cheap…either ask for the contribution back or contribute $150,000 to GLBT organizations.

  4. Uncle Robbie says:

    Apologies are nice, of course, but what really counts in settling disputes is a true change in attitude and behavior, not insincere words grudgingly uttered, combined with a total abdication of responsibility.

  5. James Roark says:

    nice words – but words are cheap!!!
    they are only attempting to appease the GLBT community now because it will effect their bottom line —
    How about a matching or larger donation to a the Human Rights campaign – or pressuring the "business and economic" candidate to DROP his anti-gay hate speech?

    • James says:

      I, myself, am becoming very disenheartened by HRC. I want to hear if HRC has helped any average Joe. HRC was not anywhere to be seen or heard when this started. The GREAT woman that shopped at Target and then returned everything protesting against the donation and the support of her son was. Hats off to Randi in Eden Prairie MN.

  6. Brad says:

    I believe this letter is eloquently written, but a memo does not alter the outcome. I look forward to a solution!

  7. casey says:

    Not to mention the fact that, if he believes right wing candidates foster economic growth, we have a bigger problem.

  8. Sheryl says:

    This was a memo to Target employees only. Hey, there's a whole big world of people who are offended as well!

  9. Liam says:

    Bullshit. He's not "genuinely sorry" about anything. This is classic non-apology pseudo-apology language. The heart of the statement is the paragraph that starts with "The intent of our…" The first sentence and the first clause of the second sentence can be paraphrased as, "I did the righ…t thing, and you misunderstood me." The last two clauses of the second sentence effectively say, "You reacted irrationally, I couldn't have known that would happen, so I'm sorry you're so irrational." Nice try, Mr. Steinhafel, but the boycott's on until you, a) admit that your company did the wrong thing by donating to a bigot, and b) Get the money back, make a counter-donation, or ideally, both.

  10. ryan says:

    this feels more like "i'm sorry you feel that way" instead of actually saying you're sorry. note that he isn't asking for their donation back, nor does he condemn that group's hateful stance against homosexuals. instead, he wants to have a talk! wow! how wonderful. what a douche canoe.

    • Jeffery says:

      he's not going to condemn the group because he obviously supports those views … Mr. Steinhafel has personally given $43,200 and his wife (Denise), a homemaker, has given $11,000 to extremist conservative candidates so far this year? Candidates like Michelle Bachman who have similar views to Tom Emmer check it out at

  11. Jeffery says:

    HRC shouldn't get a dime out of this. They are the ones that gave Target 100% rating but admitted they don't look at political contributions. Mr. Steinhafel needs to first admit that donation was not just a mistake but wrong. Next, if they can't get the donation back they need to give the equivalent sum to a candidate for governor of Minnesota that supports civil rights for everyone. Finally he needs to establish guidelines for contributions so they only go to organizations/candidates that mirror Target's EEO, Value and Mission statements. It's not that hard. You don't need a task force. Other corporations and been doing it for years. Just DO IT!

  12. Old Hippie says:

    Now he needs to put his money where his mouth is.

  13. Leon Pascucci says:

    Action not nice words are needed to reverse
    This outrageous choice by Target to fund an extremist
    Religious group. They have nothing
    To do with economic growth
    Only with spreading hate

  14. Gary says:

    Congratulations to the LGBT employees of Target. If they hadn't protested, the apology and changes would not have happened. I grew up during a time when gay people were passive and non-confrontational. These small steps contribute to making the world a better, safer place. Namaste.

  15. dhgdfsgdg says:

    "I realize our decision affected many of you in a way I did not anticipate, and for that I am genuinely sorry." He's sorry it affected the stores. That is NOT an apology.


  16. Lynn Aldridge says:

    I think this is genuine. Every single big company is not full lies and deception. I've never gotten the impression that Target was a part of the disgusting, greedy, deceptive, big business, brat pack before. I was genuinely disappointed to see that I was going to have to boycott them for a while. And it is a "have to" situation in my opinion. The only way to get a business to hear you is with the almighty dollar. This MN group is pathetic and deserves NOT ONE dollar. Back to my point, though. If this had been done by Wal-Mart, no one would be surprised. But it wasn't. I don't shop at Wal-Mart because they continuously give me reason not to. However, it'd be nice if Target could fix this, because I do generally like them 🙂

  17. Gene says:

    Target already donates generously to GLBT causes and scores 100% on the HRC scale for the treatment of its GLBT employees. Target is now re-evaluating its entire policy on how it makes donations to political candidates – and has taken the boycott seriously. It has acheived its purpose. If you continue a boycott after you have gained what you have demanded – why would any group in the future change their policy if you boycott them. I'm stopping at Target on my way home, I appreciate that they have seen the impact their decisions had and have decided to go forward in a more responsible manner.

    • Stacey says:

      I demanded a public apology AND a donation equal to that given to MN Forward given to a pro-GLBT organization. So I have NOT gained what I demanded. I feel that Target (Steinhafel) needs to demonstrate more genuinely that they're putting their money where their mouth is.

  18. Lynn Aldridge says:

    Good point. I'll have to evaluate if this is good enough to start shopping there again.

  19. Clifdwllr2 says:

    A very nice, VERY eloquent, statement. Yet he is still not apologizing for making the contribution, but rather he is "sorry" it became so public and that it "affected many of you in a way I did not anticipate". He goes on to say that Target will "begin a strategic review and analysis of our decision-making process for financial contributions in the public policy arena". Again, he is in no way saying he/they made a mistake and will get the money back. Rather he suggests that " 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." The irony here is that Target supposedly already do this, hence the 100% rating from HRC.
    The gist of this whole letter, metaphorically speaking, says that he feels contributing to MnForward will put food in his [company/employees] mouth. Nevermind that the person doing that wants to cut off their hands in the process.
    Personally, I will continue to boycott Target until one of two [preferably BOTH] things happen:
    1. Steinhafel asks for, and receives, the contribution back AND makes a PUBLIC [a letter to employees is not as 'public' as a Letter to the Editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune] apology.
    2. HRC reduces their rating by a minimum of 15% [reinstate 100% rating if no. 1 is realized].

    Further, I do not see making a matching contribution to pro LGBT candidates as acceptible either.

  20. justNtyme Diva says:

    Great FIRST step! i applaud you Target, BUT NOTE PEOPLE: this is a letter to his EMPLOYEES!!! he did NOT apologize to GAY people, he apologized to his STAFF for what happened.
    and how about either ASKING FOR YOUR CONTIRIBUTION BACK!!! or simply donating to GAY MARRIAGE support. then it would make it even.
    i dont BUY it and i stil wont shop at TARGET until further action is done. WHY did it take this long??? HE also made a PERSONAL contribution of $2500, the maxs allowed for personal donations.
    im waiting for the APOLOGY to GAY People. ……………………………… i'm WAITING………………………….. **************** ( sound of crickets chirping)

  21. Feisty says:

    I will respectfully not shop at Target until I know they have taken steps of inclusion toward all people. A hard lesson in which sometimes it's the money that does the talkin..

  22. david says:

    Complete Bullshit. This vaguely masked "apology" does not reverse the damage done. AN EQUAL AMOUNT OF $$ NEEDS TO BE DONATED TO A CAUSE THAT WILL BENEFIT THE GAY COMMUNITY. Don't be lulled into a false sense of "Target is good because of their apology"….It was a half hearted attempt to get us back into their stores to spend money, the money that they have been missing since they made this donation. The CEO is not sorry about the donated money, they are sorry that we have stopped shopping there. THEY NEED TO MAKE THIS RIGHT!!!!

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