Gilt by association, Target's controversy continues for partners

Sat. August 21, 2010 10:49 AM by News Staff

Minneapolis, MN - Gilt Groupe is the latest to feel pressure from Target's decision to fund anti-gay politics in what seems to be a case of guilt by association.

The online designer discount retailer partnership with Target for a pre-sale on the designer collaboration lines designed by Tucker and Mulberry has riled Gilt shoppers who support the LGBT community.

Gilt's Facebook page quickly became filled with posts from angry members threatening to boycott the popular website for its support of Target.

Gilt's CEO Susan Lynne responded directly to critics saying that Gilt was not in any way involved with the corporate campaign donation decisions made at Target and acknowledged Gilt's support for the LGBT community.

The controversy began when Target gave $150,000 to a right-wing political action committee (PAC) known as Minnesota Forward, which in turn bought television ads for Minnesota Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer.

Emmer is seen as a social conservative and opposes same-sex marriage. 

After two weeks of closed door meetings with the Human Rights Campaign, Target said Monday that it will take no corrective actions to repair the harm caused by the contribution. 

HRC, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, says it will now devote $150,000 of its own resources to help elect a pro-equality governor in Minnesota.

On Wednesday, unveiled a new TV ad encouraging shoppers to boycott the Minneapolis-based retailer. 

Target's campaign donation is one of the first to gain national attention since a recent Supreme Court decision to allow corporations world-wide to limitless contributions to American election campaigns. 

Electronics-giant Best Buy has also been criticized for its $100,000 donation to Minnesota Forward and the Emmer campaign.