After the anger at Target's donation to Tom Emmer's campaign started to pick up more media coverage and a quarter of a million boycott notices, the financial markets started to dump Target stock for fear of a GLBT boycott destroying the bottom line. Now, Target have said a sort-of sorry:
Dear Target Leaders,I'm not sure coming up with a policy of "don't give money to hate-filled right-wing blowhards" should take much time this fall, but good luck with that.
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.
Chairman, President and CEO
Best Buy, however, have only made a stuttering statement that's more a justification, no apology. Brian Dunn heads the company, and he might be funding a homophobe's political campaign, but - hey - it's a learning experience, right?:
One of the best parts of my job leading Best Buy is meeting customers and employees and hearing what they have to say. Recently, some have had a lot to say about Best Buy’s activity in politics, and our political contributions. If I could gather all of our employees and customers in one room, here’s what I’d tell them about Best Buy:They're listening, they're learning. They're not, though, going to show any indication that giving Tom Emmer money was wrong. Best Steer Clear.
We’re Listening: In our quest to focus on jobs and the economy, we’ve disappointed and confused some employees and customers. My leadership team and I are listening to, and learning from, your input. I’m taking it to heart.
We’re Learning: Best Buy’s recent contribution in Minnesota was done through an independent expenditure organization, focused solely on jobs and an improved economy. However, in this case, this contribution has raised questions on broader issues beyond jobs and the economy – most specifically, on issues that involve the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender (LGBT) community. We’ve learned from this. We’ve had a policy and process to guide the company’s voice (which has always remained focused on our business and the economy). We will review the process we use to make political contributions. We’ll seek out employee input and ideas about the policy and process.
We Remain Focused on Jobs and the Economy: I want our company to grow and do well so that Best Buy can continue to be a good employer and continue to support the communities in which we do business. While it’s not without risks, Best Buy will continue to make our voice heard in the debate about the economic livelihood of our communities.
We Encourage You To Get Involved: I believe in the importance of political debate. And we believe in the power of that debate. That’s why it’s so important for you to get involved and make sure your voice is being heard. I encourage you to be engaged in the communities where we live and do business. Be part of the electoral process. Join the political debate. Exercise your right to vote.
We’re the Same Company We’ve Always Been: Some groups are raising questions about our commitment to the LGBT community. The fact is that we have been - and remain - strongly committed to LGBT workplace equality, and other diversity concerns.
• We’re proud of our relationships with Twin Cities PRIDE, The Matthew Shepherd Foundation, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and other groups that advocate for the rights of diverse communities.
• For the past six years Best Buy has received a perfect 100% rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index recognizing our commitment to LGBT workplace equality.
• Best Buy works closely with the Human Rights Campaign and other businesses in advocating for the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).
• Best Buy also supports a number of employee groups, including our PRIDE employee business network.
One Last Thing … Best Buy is a people company. I often say, but more importantly, I BELIEVE, that our people are our greatest competitive advantage. I remain as strong as ever in our belief that a diverse workforce and customer base makes us a better company. I want our employees and customers - all of them - to feel welcome and valued.