"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."
If one accepts the premise that she's a business-person who's wary of even the slightest criticism that might sour people to her brand or a synergistic opportunity that might muddle the message and ethos of that brand, then that statement makes sense. Taken in context, there's nothing wrong with someone trying to make money off the false premise that she's progressive/intellectual/LGBT-activist/whatever; she doesn't want to break the contract she has with Target while finessing a business decision she assumed would go unnoticed.
If she really does care about Target's donation, why didn't she have this business meeting back when she was in negotiation with Target for exclusive distribution rights instead of now after people noticed? If she really does care about Target's actions, why does she describe them almost as if she didn't even read up on what the problem was before that interview?
But something tells me that that business meeting was only "intense" in terms of how much champagne was going around.
Here's the substance of the new policy Lady Gaga's claiming to have pushed Target to. It may seem very, very familiar:
[...]our financial support is provided in a nonpartisan manner based strictly on issues that directly affect our business priorities.
If it sounds like you've heard that before, it's because it was Target's initial response to criticism last year: political contributions are business, not personal. In fact, that was the exact problem people had, but leave it to The LA Times to pretend like this is a poor, defenseless corporation giving up its lunch money to the Gay Bully:
Nevertheless, the company was subjected to threats of a boycott and a heavy-handed demand that it contribute $150,000 to pro-gay rights candidates.
Fair or not, the offensive against Target has resulted in a policy that satisfies its critics (though some campaign reformers claim the company still is not disclosing the amounts it contributes to trade associations). Beyond Target, however, the new policy suggests that when political spending is made public, shareholders, customers and activists can force a company to alter its priorities in political expenditures.
Who are these critics who are "satisfied"? Don't expect the LA Times to tell you, although, further down in a smug move, they get close to highlighting the real problem people had with this donation only to tell people that it's the real problem and only they noticed it.
That can be a positive development, though it raises the possibility of backlash. Also, those who celebrate the lobbying that caused Target to change its policy should remember that turnabout is fair play: Similar public pressure might be brought to bear on corporations that support pro-gay rights candidates. The boycott is a weapon that can be wielded by all sides of a political controversy.
Isn't that a great way to make LGBT activists look like a bunch of vapid faggots? Make up a fake issue to pretend that we were mad about (that we thought Target was actually making donations only to promote homophobia), dismiss that issue as having been solved by the gracious and magnanimous corporation, and then cite the real issue as unsolved and forgotten by LGBT activists even though it's the exact thing that many of us were complaining about.
Target also mentioned the creation of some sort of board to oversee these donations, but considering how they continued to make similar contributions even after the outcry last year, getting a bunch of people on their payroll to OK the contributions seems fairly unsatisfying. I don't want a group of Target execs to decide election outcomes - I want democracy to go back to the people.
MoveOn.org, who led the non-gay part of the outcry last year and produced ads for a boycott, isn't satisfied:
"Not much has changed," said Robin Beck, campaign director for Moveon.Org. "As far as we can tell, they've expanded the number of people who will be making decisions about the political giving they do. There's no apology for the giving they've done, there's no commitment to equality. There's no commitment to stop funding 527s. There's no commitment to not use corporate funds."
It's only one of the biggest progressive orgs out there. It's not like the LA Times would have heard of them by now.