Target's CEO Brian Cornell refused to change course when confronted this week by shareholders who are alarmed by his expensive push for a transgender, mixed-sex changing-room policy that has helped wipe out almost 20 percent of the company's value.
Cornell told the annual meeting of investors that the company intend to stick with the April 19 transgender policy — which requires its customers to use mixed-sex changing rooms and bathrooms — and he even insisted there has been no financial repercussions, despite a $10 billion Wall Street loss in the months since the policy was announced.
Cornell was pressed about the financial impact of the policy by investors, including Justin Danhof, the director of the National Center Free Enterprise Project.
"Target's shareholder meeting was appalling from beginning to end," Danhof said in a press release after the meeting.
Liberal corporate leaders such as Cornell throw around the words "diversity" and "inclusion" so much they are starting to lose their meaning. In addition to my question, two other shareholders also expressed concern over the company's offensive bathroom policy. Cornell just kept repeating the same vacuous lines about diversity and inclusion. He doesn't seem to get that he has offended the sensibilities of millions of Americans.
Danhof asked why Cornell claimed via the media that his pro-transgender policy is just like ordinary civil rights for blacks, and asked if Cornell thought everyone who stood against the store's policy were like racists and were bigots.
The question is based on an interview the CEO gave to CNBC. "We've had a long history embracing diversity and inclusion. A couple weeks ago, one of our team members sent me a note reminding me that if we went back to the mid-60s, our company was one of the very first to use African-American models in their advertising, and back then, it wasn't well received," he said.
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