A growing outcry over Target's donation of $150,000 to a hard-right Republican running for governor in Minnesota could cost the company revenue, especially in left-leaning NYC. For over a week, MoveOn and a growing number of progressives have used Facebook and Twitter to blast the company, and they're now calling for a nationwide boycott of the chain, which has given lavishly to support TV ads for Tom Emmer, who opposes same-sex marriage and abortion, and supports Arizona's controversial S.B. 1070 immigration bill.
"If we don't push back hard, this will just be the tip of the iceberg. Other corporations will learn that they can pour money into elections to buy the outcome they want," says MoveOn, which has posted an online petition for consumers to join a boycott of Target until it stops donating money to political campaigns. "So we're sending a message to Target's CEO that we won't shop there if Target continues spending money on elections." At the beginning of the year, the Supreme Court made it easier for corporations to spend money supporting political candidates.
The latest NYC Target location opened in East Harlem last month. The retailer is generally considered a supporter of progressives, and is known for donating to public school programs, food pantries and the annual Twin Cities Pride gay festival. In an e-mail to employees, Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel said Target's political donations "are intended to support business objectives such as job creation and economic growth." According to the LA Times, he said, "Let me be very clear: Target's support of the [gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender] community is unwavering, and inclusiveness remains a core value of our company."
At least one mother of a gay son is not persuaded; in this widely-viewed YouTube video, she returns hundreds of dollars of Target products and, in an emotional testimonial, vows to boycott the chain: