Target’s annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday focused heavily on the company’s policy change allowing men who identify as women to use the women’s restroom. Many shareholders reportedly expressed their displeasure with the policy change and at least one shareholder publicly questioned whether the policy change is responsible for the company’s plummeting stock prices.
Multiple reports of the shareholders meeting noted that Target CEO Brian Cornell refused to say whether he believed those who opposed the policy change are “bigots.” That question was asked by shareholder Justin Danhof, director of the Free Enterprise Project.
Instead of answering the question, Danhof told the Washington Times, Cornell “gave a vacuous statement on, ‘We believe in diversity, we believe in inclusion, and everyone should feel safe in our stores.'”
“‘Support inclusivity, support inclusion’ – it means nothing. It’s meaningless,” he told the Times. “Especially in response to questions asked very pointedly about do you think these people are bigots. And my impression is that of course he does.”
Danhof was unhappy that Cornell dodged the question and told the Chicago Tribune that “I’ve never left a meeting feeling that empty.” A Target spokesperson said that Cornell’s answer “very much did reiterate that we want to be a place that is welcoming, comfortable and safe.”
Target’s stock took a significant hit after the company announced the change to its bathroom policy last April. One report estimated that Target lost $2.5 billion dollars in the ten days after the policy change. More than 1.3 million people have signed a petition to boycott the store over its new bathroom policy.
One man recorded himself receiving permission from Target to use the women’s bathroom last April. The man told Target staffers that he would “feel comfortable” in the women’s bathroom, at which point the employees told him to go right ahead.
If any women complained, the employees said, “they can come and we will speak to that.”
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