AFA's Boycott of Target Falling on Deaf Ears
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat May 14, 2016 at 11:31:40 AM EST
The American Family Association's boycott of Target stores, over its transgender-friendly bathroom policy, has reached its second or maybe third stage. On Wednesday, May 11, Tim Wildmon, the president of the AFA, made a pilgrimage to Target headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and delivered what he claimed were more than one million signatures pledged to boycott Target. Company officials politely, but firmly, rebuffed Wildmon.

According to the Huffington Post, Target CEO Brian Cornell told CNBC's Squawk Box that, "We took a stance, and were going to continue to embrace our belief of diversity and inclusion and just how important that is to our company."

Cornell also stated that "the vast majority of our stores have a family restroom" (1,400 of 1,800 nationwide) and that the company plans on implementing family restrooms in the rest of its stores over the next few months."

As The Daily Beast's Samantha Allen pointed out in late April, "there is no evidence that transgender people are a danger in restrooms, not that anti-transgender legislation protects the safety of women and children."

Nevertheless, in an email to AFA supporters the day after his visit to Target's headquarters, Wildmon pledged to dig his heels in and gather even more signatures pledging to boycott:

"Target's dangerous dressing and bathroom policy poses a threat to women and children. Over 1 million people agree with us and have signed the pledge to boycott Target stores until protecting women and children is a priority.

"Yesterday afternoon, with your boycott pledge in hand, I personally delivered it to Target headquarters in Minneapolis, MN. I met face-to-face with Target executives and spoke to them on your behalf, urging them to end this boycott by protecting women and children in their stores.

"I offered a common-sense approach and a reasonable solution to the issue of transgendered customers: a unisex bathroom. Target should keep separate facilities for men and women, but for the trans community and for those who simply like using the bathroom alone, a single occupancy unisex option should be provided.

"Target representatives were gracious and respectful, but sadly, they rejected our offer. They repeated what Target CEO and Chairman Brian Cornell said yesterday during an interview on CNBC, `We're going to continue to embrace our belief in diversity and inclusion...,' code-words for sticking with its dangerous policy of allowing men use women's dressing and bathrooms.

"For that reason, I will work even harder to promote the boycott going forward...and I need your help to reach TWO MILLION boycott signatures."

Corporations and the Christian Right

The Daily Beast's Jay Michaelson recently suggested ( ts-pit-corporations-vs-conservatives.html) that "The Republican-led crackdown on transgender equality is pitting two traditional allies against each other: corporations versus conservatives."

Longtime allies, big business and the Christian Right appear to be moving in different directions on LGBT issues. While groups like the AFA are continuing its anti-gay fulminating, numerous corporations have spoken out against anti-gay and anti-transgender laws. In North Carolina, such companies as Dow Chemical, PayPal, the National Basketball Association, Google, Apple, IBM, Bayer, and Salesforce, "have lined up against North Carolina's Republican-sponsored anti-trans law ( gbt-rights-wiped-out-with-lie-that-boys-could-use-girls-bathrooms .html).

According to Michaelson, companies are lining up in support of LGBT equality largely because of ... well ... "money."

He spelled out four reasons for LGBT-inclusive policies:

"First, gays are big consumers, and tend to be brand loyal: a 2011 study showed that 87 percent of LGBT adults said they'd consider switching to a brand that provided equal workplace benefits. ... Second, ... LGBT people represent around 5 percent of the workforce, and large corporations are constantly in need of educated, capable employees. ... Third, diversity, itself, has been shown to improve overall performance. According to studies by Forbes, McKinsey, and Harvard Business School--not exactly the Rainbow Alliance--diversity in the workplace correlates with higher rates of innovation, growth, and creativity. ... Fourth and finally, a variety of studies have quantified the cost of exclusion. According to 2015 data, more than 40 percent of gay and 90 percent of trans people have experienced employment discrimination, harassment, or mistreatment. That stress, turnover, and discord costs money: One study calculated the total amount of lost labor, productivity and efficiency at $9 billion across the entire U.S. economy."

Target moving on

While the anti-gay American Family Association - named as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center -- is looking at fundraising opportunities galore, Target officials are looking toward the future, and one of its major targets are urban neighborhoods.

As recently reported, the company "has recruited yogurt maker Chobani to help build buzz around its upcoming smaller store in Lower Manhattan in what will be the biggest test so far of the urban format it has been testing for a few years."

The new partnership will be housed in Target's 45,000-square-foot store, set to open in Tribeca near the World Trade Center in October. It "will house a Chobani café that will offer Mediterranean-themed sandwiches, salads, and Greek yogurt dishes."  

As for the AFA's claim, picked up by several right-wing news outlets, that the boycott has hurt Target's stock price, has an interesting an nuanced take: "WHAT'S TRUE: A dip in Target's stock price occurred around the same time as a boycott against the store's transgender bathroom policy. WHAT'S FALSE: A dip in Target's stock price was not unusual, nor was it directly related to the boycott (

It is highly likely that Wildmon et al have an insecure web site that permits bots, theirs or someone else's ("Make 1000s in Your Spare Time at Home"), to "sign" by posting anything from any IP address. If AFA wanted a custom bot to generate addresses, that service is readily avaiable for not much money. Unless of course Wildmon / AFA is lying about numbers of signatures and clicks.

by NancyP on Sat May 14, 2016 at 03:58:39 PM EST

Thank you for sharing the post! This is the truth why some people keep media playing about the boycott. html color codes

by tadobre on Wed Apr 11, 2018 at 04:29:33 AM EST

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