With her latest hit Born This Way selling one million downloads worldwide on iTunes in just five days, Gaga was sitting firmly in the driver's seat when she met with the controversial retailer over distribution of her upcoming album of the same name.
As you remember, last year Target donated $150k to the failed gubernatorial campaign of Minnesota's anti-gay Tom Emmer. Target apologized, but that was about all they did. The retail giant and its sister company Best Buy (who gave $100k to anti-gay campaigns) have been the target of an LGBT boycott for the last several months. Now it seems that the bisexual singer has Target by the balls and is squeezing half a millions dollars in donations to LGBT causes.
Gaga spoke to the issue for the first time in this interview, telling Billboard that she wasn't comfortable with the Target partnership when it first came up as a possibility, and that she met with "the entire executive staff" at Target, along with her manager Troy Carter.
"That discussion was one of the most intense conversations I've ever had in a business meeting," Gaga says. "Part of my deal with Target is that they have to start affiliating themselves with LGBT charity groups and begin to reform and make amends for the mistakes they've made in the past...our relationship is hinged upon their reform in the company to support the gay community and to redeem the mistakes they've made supporting those groups."Billboard also reports that Target spends over $3 million per week in charitable contributions. The half a mill earmarked for LGBT causes constitutes about 2% of that total.
For their part, Target says that although they are excited to be partnering with Lady Gaga and they respect her passion for LGBT equality, they already had planned on making the donations anyway.
As for the donations the company made to the anti-gays, Target spokeswoman Dustee Jenkins says the company will be more thoughtful in how it allocates it's charitable giving in the future.
My guess is that the LGBT boycott, which hurt the retailer during the Christmas season by costing them about 2% in sales by some estimates, had a lot to do with their change of heart. We owe a big thanks to Lady Gaga for adding her voice to ours and making the point loud and clear that corporate actions have consequences.