A month after launching an effort to boycott retail giant Target over its decision to allow transgender men to use women’s bathrooms and changing rooms in the retailer’s stores, theAmerican Family Association (AFA) met with the chain’s management but were warned not to expect changes in the policy.
Representatives of the AFA met with Target’s management to hand deliver a petition with over 1.2 million signers urging the retailer to abandon the pro-transgender bathroom policy announced early in March.
Only days after the LGBT-driven agenda was announced, the AFA started an online petition urging followers to boycott the chain because the policy opens customers to danger from sexual predators who would hide behind the ill-conceived policy in order to gain easy access to unsuspecting victims. The petition reached one million signers in less than a week.
Finally, on May 11, Tim Wildmon, President of American Family Association and American Family Radio, met with Target management about the petition. Wildmon said in a statement:
American Family Association is appreciative that Target representatives were willing to accept the signatures of more than one million Americans and meet with us about our deep distress over Target’s unsafe bathroom policy, which permits anyone who identifies with another gender to enter the restroom or fitting room of the opposite sex. As we have stated time and again, our worries do not stem from the transgender community, but rather, from those predators and voyeurs with evil intentions who would take advantage of the policy to potentially harm women and children.
But Wildmon went on, noting:
Target leadership made no commitment to change its policy. Therefore, AFA’s #BoycottTarget campaign will continue as strong as it began, and we are confident that millions more will join the movement and voice their fears of Target’s policy. We will not back down from this very destructive and agenda-driven policy and will continue to fight for the more than one million Americans who have already signed the #BoycottTarget pledge. Lastly, we ask that all who agree with AFA remain committed to not visiting Target stores. After our delivery of one million signatures, we expect to deliver the second million in the near future. Corporate America will hear the voice of millions of families across America.
In exclusive comments made to Breitbart News, Wildmon said AFA was pleased Target took the time to meet with them, but discouraged that the company didn’t seem to care much that over a million Americans signed a letter protesting their policy.
Wildmon said the Target representatives were unapologetic over the policy but struggled to explain to him exactly why they suddenly decided to announce the policy in the first place.
“I asked them what precipitated this? Was there a clamoring of men in women’s dresses who were upset because they wanted to use the women’s dressing area? They said they were responding to their customers,” Wildmon said.
The AFA chief also said that when he pressed them, the Target officials didn’t deny they intended to allow men to use the women’s facilities completely unfettered.
After going weeks without commenting on the policy, Target’s CEO Brian Cornell finally came out to defend the move, saying Target is “going to continue to embrace our belief in diversity and inclusion.”
But in an effort to soften the controversy, Cornell focused on “family bathrooms” instead of focusing on allowing men to use women’s facilities as previously announced.
Breitbart asked Wildmon if he thought Target was trying to take a step back from its original policy announcement. Wildmon said:
They think the family restroom is a solution to their problem. But we told them what the solution is. It’s very simple. You have separate men’s and women’s restrooms and changing areas as you always have, and then you have a family bathroom for transgender people and everybody’s happy. But they won’t do that. They’ll announce this family restroom, but what they’re saying is that if you’ve got a problem with men going into women’s changing areas or the bathrooms then it’s your problem, so use the family restroom.
Wildmon also went on to claim Target wasn’t making a business decision but was instead engaging in “social engineering” and an effort to satisfy the radical gay lobby in its drive to isolate and intimidate North Carolina over its own new bathroom rules. Wildmon said:
This is really just a social engineering, LGBT agenda, is what this is. This is not about making customers comfortable. This is about promoting an agenda and this was Target’s way of pouncing on North Carolina for its traditional bathroom rules. It was about jumping the anti-North Carolina bathroom bill, is one of the reasons they announced this. Otherwise, why do you announce something like this? It doesn’t make any sense.
Wildmon continued, saying he told the Target bosses that the 1.2 million signatures on his petition do not just represent only those who signed, because many millions more support the AFA boycott without signing the petition. “Keep in mind the 1.2 million signers represents families for the most part,” he said. “So that means the whole family is not going to Target. Now, how many people are boycotting Target who will never sign a petition? How many people who have friends and family and church members are being told about this and they’re not going to go to Target?”
The AFA head admitted he was not yet sure if his boycott effort was making any dent in the retailer’s bottom line, but he said the response he’s gotten was encouraging.
Still, Target stocks have taken a downward turn since the controversy arose early last month, seriously damaging the company’s brand. In the weeks since it announced its new pro-LGBT policy, the company’s stock has seen a massive sell-off on Wall Street, chopping the company’s share price from almost $84 on April 19 to $75.70 on May 11.
That’s a loss of $8.30 per share, or 10 percent, meaning the company has lost almost $5 billion since April 19. Granted some part of that loss is due to President Obama’s weak economy–but no company is helped by management decisions that anger so many customers.
As he wrapped up his comments to Breitbart, Wildmon insisted the stance against the pro-transgender policy represented a desire for customers to remain safe in Target’s stores. It is a goal that cuts across ideological lines, he said.
“I don’t care how liberal a man you are,” Wildmon told Breitbart, “if your ten-year-old daughter is going to go to the bathroom at Target and some dude follows her in you’re going to say, ‘just a minute, Mr., you’re not going in there!’ That’s a protective instinct for any dad or granddad for his little girl, or daughter, or wife, for that matter.”
“For practicality, we have men’s and women’s restrooms and changing areas for a reason,” Wildmon concluded. “And it’s universal and around the world. And nobody needs to have it explained to them, I guess except for Target and Bruce Springsteen. But these people feel like they are on a mission to end ‘bigotry’ in America and so they’re trying to knock down the walls and allow for gender identity based on how you feel that day.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org