Target’s shareholders lost $9 billion in stock market value because the C-suite mixed its professional duties with its personal agendas, including advocacy for transgenderism.
The poster boy for this high-risk policy is Target’s vice president for brand marketing, Carlos Saavedra. He moonlights as a board member of an advocacy group for K-12 transgenderism and gay status. The group, titled GLSEN, is an acronym chosen by the teachers who formed the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network in 1990.
Target’s website says Saavedra “leads Target brand stewardship & campaign development for initiatives including Holiday, Back-to-School/College, Target Run, Discovery, Inclusive Marketing, and Digital & Social Engagement.”
That description portrays Saavedra as the retail version of Bud Light’s Alissa Heinerscheid, who wrecked the company’s Bug Light business by trying to rebrand the blue-collar beer around transgender advocate Dylan Mulvaney.
But Target’s managers collectively created their own disaster when they hired their deputies and placed pro-transgender and gay advocacy products in prominent displays at the front of the stores.
In response, the company’s core customers of married suburban moms have rationally mobilized against Target.
The mobilization is happening because many people feel increasingly alarmed by elite advocacy for transgenderism by the government, businesses, news media, and commercial entertainment. But the mobilization is also possible because the public now has social media networks that allow anti-elite boycotts to become a shared, profitable, affirming, and amusing middle-class mission.
Target says little about Saavedra, who may carefully segregate his day job at Target from his advocacy at GLSEN.
But Saavedra joined Target in July 2019 after working at PepsiCo for almost 18 years, where he led efforts to sell more products to Hispanics and other cultural subgroups. A 2005 article in SeaCoastOnline.com suggests Saavedra is also an advocate for sexual minorities:
CHICAGO — Carlos Saavedra came out to a colleague soon after he started working at Quaker Foods four years ago, reassured by seeing gay and lesbian employees climbing the ladder at the Chicago company.
“You can bring your whole self to work rather than seeming isolated and distant because you can’t talk about what you do outside work,” said the 25-year-old assistant marketing manager.
The first person he told at work was the former chair of EQUAL-Quaker, the company’s affinity group. Now he chairs that group as well as its umbrella organization, EQUAL-PepsiCo.
He works alongside Jennifer Breeden Okun, the senior vice president for design and packaging at Target. She touts her identity as a pro-transgender “She/Her” on LinkedIn, where she also displays the merged symbols of Target and gay advocacy.
But the pro-transgender advocacy is also coming from the top of the company.
WATCH: “FIGHT THE CIS-TEM”: Pride Merchandise Being Sold at Target Includes Coloring Books for Children:
Matt Perdie / Breitbart News
Company CEO Brian Cornell is defending the company’s advocacy policies. They are “the right things for our business,” he told Fortune during a May 17 broadcast, when his company’s share price was $161:
We think about what’s right for our team [of employees], and what’s consistent with our culture. And Alan, when we do that, I think we make really good decisions, and we add value for our shareholders. That’s part of why we’ve seen explosive top line growth. So I think the facts are in the results for us, and the things we’ve done from a DEI [diversity, equity, and inclusion] standpoint — it’s adding value. It’s helping us drive sales. It’s building greater engagement with both our teams and our guests. And those are just the right things for our business today.
Nine days later, his stock price had crashed to $140 per share, so wiping out roughly $9 billion in shareholders’ wealth.
That crash will slash Cornell’s income — but the income loss will be cushioned as his pro-diversity, woke-university peers shower him with status-boosting awards:
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 2, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — UCLA Anderson School of Management on Wednesday honored Brian Cornell, Board Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Target, with the 2022 John Wooden Global Leadership Award. The award was presented at a gala dinner at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.
In 2022, Cornell was named the “Visionary” by the National Retail Federation, and Target received the top ranking on People Magazine’s 100 Companies that Care list. In recent years, CNN named him the Top CEO of the Year and Target ranked second on Fortune’s Best Big Companies to Work For.
Further up, the company’s board consists of top-level executives who are hired by Wall Street investors to oversee Cornell.
But those board members are hired and fired by the Wall Street investors who are also pushing pro-transgender politics.
Nationwide, Wall Street investors are pressuring companies to bulldoze civic norms in pursuit of more sales.
These investors are looking for profits. But they also use “diversity” as a political tool to fragment the mainstream conservative culture of middle-class voters and to champion “Rainbow Capitalism” cause of extracting profits from every hidden niche and unsavory nook of society.
In 2017, for example, Larry Fink, founder of the huge BlackRock investment firm on Wall Street, threatened CEOs who do not push the enforced diversity policy, dubbed ESG for “Environmental, Social, and Governance criteria.”
— Ryan (@offgriddesigner) May 28, 2023
The woke pressure also comes from far below Saavedra and Cornell — from the stores’ replaceable employees who must be motivated by a mix of money and status within the company. A self-described “queer, trans target employee” touted the company’s “rainbow capitalism” and the company managers, saying:
Their bathrooms have been gender identity inclusive, and even when they faced backlash, they held firm. They ALWAYS have queer and gender inclusive greeting cards, merch, and items throughout the store. As an employee I have a name tag with my chosen name and pronouns on it.
Unfortunately for the company’s shareholders, the C-suite’s adventures in advocacy get little pushback from the media which rarely allows skeptics of transgenderism to get a word into the debate. Instead, the reporters side with Target’s executives and supporters by portraying the consumer protests as unhinged and dangerous, even though the vast majority of protestors are nice suburban moms:
BOYCOTT Target! Watch this video!!! pic.twitter.com/NwN6vfa26Q
— TRUMP ALWAYS WIN!!! (@DavidYeshua4) May 22, 2023
For example, Monica Hesse, a Washington Post columnist, claimed that the protest is driven by Americans “throwing a tantrum whenever a mainstream brand markets its wares to LGBTQ+ people… [and by] bewildered citizens who would prefer not to encounter products, people or concepts that they are too wigged-out to understand.”
In reality, the products showcased by Target managers sought to push transgenderism, queer theory, and plain old gay and lesbian advocacy into children’s imaginations, diaries, and schools:
If you want to understand the power of the Target Boycott you MUST see what Target is promoting for yourself.
This has *nothing* to do with a rainbow “PRIDE” display. This has *everything* to do with the aggressive and explicit sexualization of children.
See for yourself: pic.twitter.com/hZjTXWkATR
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) May 28, 2023
Target has a long history of political advocacy.
Cornell joined the company in 2014.
In 2016, the company launched a new line of Pillowfort “gender neutral” bedroom products for kids.
The company’s managers defended the political advocacy for transgender ideas. “Who are we to say what a child’s individual expression is?” Julie Guggemos, Target’s senior vice president of design and product development, told the Star Tribune newspaper when the Minnesota-based company introduced the Pillowfort products. “We really wanted to develop a [bedroom] collection that would be universal.”
In 2019, Guggemos was promoted to “Senior Vice President & Chief Design Officer.” She left the company in 2022.
Company leaders even OK’d the publication of an image that mashed together the gay rainbow with Target’s invaluable target symbol.
Target’s design professionals likely embraced the “gender neutral” pitch because they want to be “hipper-than-thou,” Glenn Stanton, an advocate at Focus on the Family Family told Breitbart News in 2016. “By using their employer to help the status of transgenders, they please their peers but at the cost of “seeking to solve a problem that doesn’t exist and ironically creating for themselves an infinitely larger problem with the client base — moms with young children,” he said.
Target’s CEO survived the $3 billion boycott loss in 2016. So he — and his board — are now dealing with a $9 billion loss caused by his deputies’ eagerness to please their peers by alienating their customers.
Meanwhile, Target’s consumers are switching their spending to other stories — and posting videos jeering at the company:
Thank you so much @Target for helping me Tuck my Junk!
This is why they call me “Tucker Stein”
— Alex Stein #99 (@alexstein99) May 24, 2023
Target does NOT deserve our business!!!
BOYCOTT TARGET!!!!! pic.twitter.com/R2YyM62rXP
— Graham Allen (@GrahamAllen_1) May 23, 2023
— ASH (@SmashMemez) May 25, 2023
— Randy Butler (@RandyButler62) May 24, 2023
— Jarred Vandiver (@vandi1981) May 23, 2023
— The Babylon Bee (@TheBabylonBee) May 28, 2023
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