Target agrees to fund gay groups following Lady Gaga deal

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A special edition of Lady Gaga’s new single, ‘Born This Way’ is to be exclusively sold at the retailer Target.

The company has in the past donated considerable sums to organisations that support those who discriminate or even advocate death and violence to gays.

Now Lady Gaga has forced the retail chain to “make amends” and donate to gay rights groups.

Target, which has 1,743 stores across the United States, donated $150,000 of corporate funds to support a political action group, Minnesota Forward.

This organisation supported Tom Emmer, who supported a constitutional ban on gay marriage in his failed attempt to run for governor of Minnesota. His campaign had earlier donated to a Christian punk rock ministry, You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International.

Although the chief executive of Target, Gregg Steinhafel, apologised for the donation, the company has donated to other right wing candidates with anti-gay records. Target does pay benefits to same sex partners of employees.

Now, following a meeting with Lady Gaga, the company has promised to stop the donations and give to LGBT groups.

“That discussion was one of the most intense conversations I’ve ever had in a business meeting,” Lady Gaga said. “Part of my deal with Target is that they have to start affiliating themselves with LGBT charity groups and begin to reform and make amends for the mistakes they’ve made in the past … our relationship is hinged upon their reform in the company to support the gay community and to redeem the mistakes they’ve made supporting those [antigay] groups.”

The company has committed $500,000 to LGBT community projects, although that is a tiny fraction of the $156 million it donates every year to ‘community efforts’.

“We, as a company, are considering and taking very — it is part of our hearts to care about this issue. It’s who we are. Around this, we’ve established this policy committee because we understand the importance of decisions like this one and we want to be more thoughtful. We said that we’re giving almost half a million dollars already in 2011 because we want to demonstrate our commitment to the LGBT community,” Dustee Tucker Jenkins, vice president of Target told Billboard magazine.

The company said that prior to meeting with Lady Gaga, the company had already instituted “policy committee” to decide on charitable and political donations following the Minnesota Forward debacle. The new policy would be more “thoughtful.”

‘Born This Way’ was described by Sir Elton John as the ‘new gay anthem’,