Today, America First Legal (AFL), with co-counsel Boyden Gray PLLC and Lawson Huck Gonzalez PLLC, sued Target Corporation and its Board of Directors on behalf of Brian Craig, a Target shareholder, for betraying Target’s customers and shareholders with misleading representations about its Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) mandates, and for causing Target shareholders to lose billions of dollars.
In its 2022 and 2023 Proxy Statements, Target assured shareholders and investors that the Board was monitoring for social and political issues and risks arising from the company’s ESG and DEI mandates. However, management only cared whether its leftist “stakeholders” were satisfied, disregarding the possibility that its customers and shareholders might feel differently. Thus, in May 2023, Target embraced the radical transgender agenda with its children-and-family-themed “Pride” marketing and sales campaign – the corporation’s infamous “Pride” collection included clothing for young children with rainbow Mickey Mouse symbols, LGBT-themed bibs and onesies for babies, and “tuck-friendly” bathing suits for “transgender women.” This predictably caused more than a $12 billion collapse in share value, the largest stock price decline in over 20 years.
This is not the first time Target’s management has used shareholder funds to virtue signal to leftist extremists, heedless of the consequences for the corporation’s brand, customers, and shareholders. For example, after the North Carolina legislature adopted a law in 2016 to keep biological men out of bathrooms used by women and girls, Target released a “Pride Manifesto” and welcomed its employees and shoppers to use restrooms and fitting rooms “corresponding to their gender identities.” After a massive backlash, CEO Brian Cornell reportedly admitted to Target staff that “Target didn’t adequately assess the risk” and that “the ensuing backlash was self-inflicted,” but instead of apologizing, publicly defended the decision: “We took a stance, and we’re going to continue to embrace our belief of diversity and inclusion, just how important that is to our company.”
Also, Target’s management has adopted “supplier diversity” targets, including a majority of collections to be made by “LGBTQIA+ creators and brands” in 2022, and engaged in the odious and illegal practice of race-based hiring by adopting a plan to increase its “representation of Black team members across the Company by 20 percent.”
Target’s management has misled investors, assuring them that the corporation oversees social and political issues and risks to protect shareholders, when behind closed doors, it works for its extremist hard-left “stakeholders” at the expense of its customers and shareholders. For far too long, large corporations have recklessly pandered to the left and “bent the knee” to serve the woke elites. Today, however, America First Legal says enough is enough.
Statement from Gene Hamilton, America First Legal Vice President and General Counsel:
“Federal law requires publicly-traded corporations to provide certain information to shareholders in their proxy statements that allow those shareholders to make informed decisions. As alleged in our complaint, Target failed to execute its duty to its shareholders by making statements that led them to believe that political and social risks were being assessed–when in reality, the only thing Target’s Board and Management cared about was how effectively they fulfilled the desires of various metrics advanced by leftwing “stakeholders.” In so doing, they caused our client to lose a substantial amount of money, and we will vindicate his rights in federal court,” said Gene Hamilton.
Read the lawsuit here.