Today, a little over a year after Target lost its case against a pro-marriage equality group for canvassing outside a San Diego store, the bullseye retailer announced big news: a drool worthy line of home products from gay designer Nate Berkus will debut exclusively with the retailer this fall.
But with that huge $150,000 donation funding anti-gay causes still seared in our Mary minds (and the company's less than satisfactory handling of the resulting PR nightmare), are gays ready to celebrate the just-announced gay partnership?
Target has banked on the LGBT suffering a memory lapse many times since its absent-minded support of an anti-gay organization in 2010. Starting with that controversial political donation to MN Forward, a conservative group backing anti-gay causes and politicians like Tom Emmer, a tidal wave of mixed messages has cascaded out of the company's public relations office.
Though it made no plans to take its $150,000 contribution back from the homophobic hands of MN Forward, the bullseye did promise to make donating to pro-LGBT groups more of a focus in 2011 and announced the creation of a vetting committee to pore over each and every proposed contribution publicly. Unfortunately, recent evaluations of these promises revealed no increased transparency in Target's political donations, and, perhaps most importantly, according to gay organization's working with the retailer and its gay employees, its "revamped" commitment to LGBT equality hasn't exactly been realized.
Target's anti-gay problem was further compounded in 2011 when Lady Gaga ended an exclusive promotional deal based solely on the company's homophobic actions in March and again in April when the retailer engaged in a full-throttled court battle against marriage equality advocates who had canvassed outside a San Diego store. Target lost its lawsuit, btw.
Despite how the headlines were spun, the LGBT remained feeling disenfranchised by Target throughout 2011—a year the company had hoped to spend mending the burned bridge to return to its place as a shining beacon of pro-LGBT inclusiveness.
Fast forward to May 2012.
In a huge announcement for Nate Berkus, Target and the gay community, Oprah's favorite designer will partner with the giant retailer to sell his exclusive line of (adorable) home goods come fall. Nate and his team are surely aware of the possible criticism that those in the gay community who still observe the two-year old Target boycott (including WeHo's John Duran) might hold toward the just-announced relationship and have, apparently, felt that the storm has calmed enough to move forward with the deal.
But have we? Is the gay community ready to make up and forgive Target?
After all, once Nate's news gains traction, the world can expect anti-gay groups like One Million Moms launching a boycott ala its protest of JC Penney and Ellen. When that arrives (any second now), Target and Nate will need all the support they can get. Will the gays be there to back the bullseye?