Target Execs Snub American Family Association at Shareholder Meeting; #BoycottTarget Campaign Continues Strong Into Summer
TUPELO, Miss.—A leader from the American Family Association (AFA, www.afa.net) says he was clearly snubbed by Target executives yesterday at the retailer’s annual shareholder meeting, when he expressed AFA’s deep concerns about the chain’s dangerous bathroom and fitting room policy.
AFA Public Policy Analyst Abraham Hamilton III attended the meeting yesterday in Southern California to raise awareness again about the company’s policy that allows transgender individuals to use the bathroom or changing room of the gender with which they identify. AFA’s concern has been that sexual predators may take advantage of the policy, thereby putting women and children at risk.
“It’s amazing,” Hamilton said after the meeting. “The response really was, ‘We don’t care what you have to say. We don’t care what the American Family Association represents. We don’t care what those people who signed your petition represent. We are committed to the complete overhaul of American society as it pertains to sex.’”
Specifically, Hamilton questioned Target CEO Brian Cornell about the controversial restroom policy, to which Cornell replied that Target believes the policy “is in the company’s best interest in the long term.”
Hamilton also brought to the attention of Target execs the more than 1.3 million signatures on AFA’s#BoycottTarget pledge, asking if the retailer completed a cost-benefit analysis prior to publicizing the controversial policy. Cornell would not answer Hamilton’s question directly, and instead deferred to Cathy R. Smith, Target’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, who also did not answer the question.
“Therefore, my conclusion was ‘no,’ a cost-benefit analysis had not been done,” Hamilton said. “Rather, this important decision was made on feelings and beliefs about the matter in pursuing the policy.”
Hamilton added that Target shareholders who share AFA’s worries were also present, but the corporate answer was unchanged. Therefore, says Hamilton, AFA’s boycott will continue—with efforts ramping up in the weeks and months ahead.
“Father’s Day is next weekend, with millions of Americans shopping for gifts,” Hamilton said. “And Independence Day celebrations and back-to-school shopping sprees are right around the corner. Therefore, AFA will increase and expand the #BoycottTarget effort. Target has put AFA and the American people in an unenviable position by stating that these concerns aren’t worthy of consideration. We’re going to have to make them care about what we think.”
AFA’s news service, OneNewsNow, has contacted Target on several occasions for comment on the issue, but has not received a response.
Cornell has told top financial media outlets that the boycott has had little effect on the retailer. In fact, the retail chain has attributed lower numbers to a variety of explanations, including “skittish consumers” and “damp and cool weather,” reports Fortune.com. Cornell had also told Fortune last month, “To date, we have not seen a material or measurable impact on our business. Just a handful of stores across the country have seen some activity and have been impacted.”
On May 12, AFA hand-delivered one million petition signatures to Target headquarters in Minneapolis, after which AFA leadership briefly met with Target senior management about AFA’s concerns over the bathroom policy. Target executives reported that the company would not change the policy but would install private-stall family restrooms in stores not already equipped with them.
AFA is asking those aligned with AFA’s initiative to take action in the #BoycottTarget campaign in several ways:
- Sign the #BoycottTarget pledge online.
- Print the paper petition to distribute among friends and family members.
- Print this AFA Pass Along Sheet to distribute among friends and family.
- Call Target and politely let local managers know you are boycotting the store until policies change and how a boycott of this magnitude will hurt business. Find local Target store phone numbers here.
- Share concerns on the Target Facebook page. When sharing on social media, use #BoycottTarget to help spread the word.
Also online, AFA is sharing the #BoycottTarget Alliance, which includes organizations such as Texas Values, Traditional Values Coalition, WallBuilders, American Decency, Mission: America, Illinois Family Institute, One Million Dads, One Million Moms, Faith 2 Action, Christian Action League, Family Council, Mass Resistance, Save California, Citizens for Community Values and the Florida Family Policy Council, among others.