Attorneys General Take Pride

This Star Tribune headline caught my attention: “Keith Ellison, other state attorneys general concerned with Target pulling Pride products.” Why on earth would Target’s response to customer complaints be a matter of concern to attorneys general? What possible crime could they be looking into?

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and a group of 14 other attorneys general penned a letter to Target CEO Brian Cornell this week expressing concern about the store’s removal of some of its Pride products.

Target lit a media firestorm last month when it announced it pulled an unspecified number of products from its shelves after the company faced “confrontational behavior” at its stores as well as threats of violence on its customer hotline.

Notice that in the eyes of the press, the “firestorm” was not occasioned by Target’s selling women’s swimsuits designed for men, gay books for small children, products designed by a Satanist, and so on. Rather, the firestorm the press was interested in occurred when Target realized it had made a bad mistake and pulled a limited number of products.

While Ellison and AGs from California, New York, Maryland and more offered support for Target’s intention to keep its workers safe, they questioned if Target gave in to threats.

“While we understand the basis for this action…

Apparently they don’t. Target acted to stem the tide of customer dissatisfaction.

…we are also concerned it sends a message that those who engage in hateful and disruptive conduct can cause even large corporations to succumb to their bullying,” the AGs wrote, “and that they have the power to determine when LGBTQIA+ consumers will feel comfortable in Target stores or anywhere in society.”

So Target didn’t make a rational decision to correct a marketing error, it was “bullied” so that LGBTQIA+ customers now will not feel comfortable. All because of “hateful and disruptive conduct,” i.e., customers making their dissatisfaction known to a company that relies on them for its survival.

By the way, the idea that Target acted because of violence or threats of violence from conservatives is entirely bogus. Target never alleged any actual violence, and has said nothing further on that front. And as far as threats are concerned, as far as we know they came entirely from the other side: Target stores reportedly received bomb threats for LGBTQ community betrayal.

But how do these liberal attorneys general see it as a law enforcement priority to lean on Target to sell gay-oriented goods?

The attorneys stated there are state resources to help protect against harassment and “hate-based intimidation.” They also said companies should report threats of violence to law enforcement. Especially in light of recent anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and escalating threats of violence, the attorneys urged Target “to double down on inclusivity, reject hate in all its forms and stand firm in the face of intimidation and discrimination.”

So basically it’s a left-wing pep talk sprinkled with baseless references to “escalating threats of violence,” “hate,” “intimidation and discrimination,” etc.

Does the AGs’ letter imply a threat as well as a pep talk? Huge companies like Target are always vulnerable to investigations or initiatives of various kinds launched by state attorneys general. The AGs are an important constituency with which major corporations and their legal departments try to curry favor. If I were Target’s CEO and received this letter, I would take it as a warning that if Target wants to stay on the good side of the law in blue states, it had better not back off from the Left’s celebration of gay and trans sex.

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