A conservative legal nonprofit led by Stephen Miller is suing Target on behalf of one of the company’s investors, saying it should have anticipated public backlash to its LGBTQ Pride displays in June.
America First Legal — founded by Miller, a former senior advisor to former President Trump — claims the company misrepresented the adequacy of its risk monitoring after its Pride Month campaign led to employee harassment, bomb threats and a conservative online hate campaign.
The company’s stock dropped by nearly 20 percent after the backlash began in May of this year.
The investor leading the suit, Brian Craig, owns about $28,000 worth of company stock which he purchased in April 2022. He claims to have lost close to half of his total investment.
The suit attacks the company’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) policies, both of which have become ripe political targets for conservatives.
Craig argues those policies allowed the company to “serve its divisive political and social goals — and ultimately lose billions,” the suit reads.
“Defendants knew their ESG and DEI mandates were a double-edged sword that risked backlash,” the suit reads.
Target ran its first Pride Month collection in 2011, and is one of the major retail industry’s more vocal supporters of the LGBTQ community. The collections, which have grown over time, sparked only minor criticism before this year.
Conservatives organized boycotts of Target, vandalized stores, and eventually forced some Target stores to take Pride Month merchandise off shelves. That decision was criticized by those who support the LGBTQ community.
Hate against the LGBTQ community increased significantly in recent years, according to watchdog groups. The Anti-Defamation League tracked more than 350 anti-LGBTQ incidents between June 2022 and April 2023.
FBI hate crime data released this spring found that hate crimes against LGBTQ people increased by over 50 percent from 2020 to 2021, the most recent year data is available.
The new lawsuit requests that the court overthrow the company’s board of directors and compensate Craig for his lost investment.
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