The CEO Behind Target’s Corporate Culture War
CEO Brian Cornell has turned over the chain to criminals and perverts.
By Daniel Greenfield
Target projects over $1 billion in losses due in large part to shoplifting. And that is its own fault.
Target CEO Brian Cornell responded to the BLM race riots with a memo claiming that, “the murder of George Floyd has unleashed the pent-up pain of years, as have the killings of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.” Much of that pain was directed at robbing Target.
After a massive wave of arson and looting, targeted its own chain stores, Target doubled down on its Racial Equity Action and Change strategy. The Target Foundation was one of the signatories of the Philanthropic Collective to Combat Anti-Blackness & Realize Racial Justice statement attacking the criminal justice system.
Target committed to racial quotas for its workforce and forced diversity and inclusion training on employees. Kiera Fernandez, Target’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion executive, warned that employees had to go along with the DEI agenda “to be a part of this company.”
Meanwhile people were being stabbed and shot at Target locations around the country.
A 9-year-old boy was among those stabbed by a homeless psycho with a butcher knife at a Los Angeles Target and a 17-year-old teen was shot and killed behind another store in the same city. A 19-year-old was shot and killed in a San Francisco Target parking lot. Earlier this year a gunman opened fire at an Omaha Target and a 23-year-old was shot and killed at a St. Paul Target store.
These are just a few of the crimes that have been committed in the vicinity of Target stores.
“The unfortunate fact is violent incidents are increasing at our stores and across the entire retail industry,” Cornell admitted, which is “putting significant pressure on our financial results.”
Rather than commit to law enforcement, Target chose to run away from it and championed anti-police and pro-crime radicals. This shortchanged shareholders, but was part of its larger commitment to leftist social agendas under the ESG umbrella.
In 2016, Target became the first major department store to allow men, who falsely claim to be women, to use changing rooms meant for women and girls.
Conservatives launched a boycott and Target suffered a 7% drop in sales. But the retail giant doubled down, declaring that, “we stand for equality and equity” and that we “welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.”
Target’s equity policy made it all too easy for a series of incidents in which men photographed, shot videos and otherwise spied on women and girls in dressing rooms and bathrooms. The perpetrators included a man recording underage girls.
Now Target has lost an estimated $10 billion in value after promoting “chest binders”. These dangerous and damaging pieces of equipment are meant to groom girls into identifying as boys. The chest binders were allegedly being sold in sizes as small as XS. The company also offered baby onesies and bibs promoting transgenderism.
Target removed some of the worst items from its shelves, but CEO Cornell apologized to “the LGBTQIA+ community” claiming that he was trying to “alleviate these threats to our team’s physical and psychological safety” while assuring sexual identity activists that he was worried how backing away from grooming kids would “impact you and your wellbeing and psychological safety.”
The most serious of the bomb threats came from an angry transgender activist who claimed to have placed bombs in five Ohio and Pennsylvania Target locations and warned, “we will continue to bomb your targets until you stop cowering and bring back your LGBT merchandise.”
Cornell showed little interest in the “physical and psychological safety” of Target employees when people were being shot and stabbed at its stores. Target stores have been regularly robbed, looted and burned without any sympathy for Target employees. And there’s been no support for female employees and customers forced to cope with men using their facilities.
Target’s decision to put woke politics over its customers and shareholders has been disastrous.
Cornell claimed that Target’s “focus on diversity and inclusion and equity has fueled much of our growth over the last nine years.” In reality, it’s lost the company billions of dollars.
Target has generated repeated boycotts because of its hostility to family values and its support for pro-crime groups has helped unleash a wave of lawless violence and thefts. The chain’s multi-billion dollar commitments to racial discrimination in its supply chain, staffing and philanthropy have fed a larger breakdown in trust and unity inside and outside its business.
The question is whether Target’s shareholders are tired of bleeding cash for DEI and ESG.
Target’s largest shareholders include ESG stalwarts like Vanguard and BlackRock. Unless the corporation feels a great deal of pain, Vanguard and BlackRock will keep on subsidizing Target’s social justice policies the way that they do with so many other major woke corporations. And what Vanguard and BlackRock want matters more than what individual shareholders do.
Last year, Target scrapped its retirement age and announced that Cornell, like Xi, would be staying on even as the stores were struggling, but there will be no change unless it begins at the top.
Cornell had taken the lead in pushing the new woke corporate mantras, and he has doubled down on arguing that “it’s the right thing for society, and it’s the great thing for our brand”.
ESG is based on this false linkage between leftist politics, “the right thing for society”, and sound business practices. State regulations and consumer boycotts are attacking ESG at the level of pure profit and loss. If ESG delivers losses, not profits, it will become unsustainable.
That is why the corporate culture war matters.
Good business and social agendas are incompatible. The Target boycott, like the Bud Light boycott and the battering that Disney has taken in Florida, has the opportunity to hammer that message home. And if that happens, Cornell’s job and much of Target’s wokeness will go with it.
CEO Brian Cornell has turned over Target to criminals and perverts. By putting agendas ahead of profits, he has hurt shareholders, damaged the brand and betrayed his responsibilities.
It’s time for him to go.