State AGs warn Target that ‘Pride’ promotion may have violated child protection laws

The attorneys general also argue in the letter that Target "may have acted negligently" towards stakeholders by pursuing social and political goals.

The attorneys general argue in the letter that Target "may have acted negligently" towards stakeholders by pursuing social and political goals. (Shutterstock)

(LifeSiteNews) — Seven state attorneys general issued a letter to Target warning that its June “Pride” campaign may have violated several laws pertaining to the protection of children from sexual obscenity as well as parental rights and the economic interests of stakeholders.

“As Attorneys General committed to enforcing our states’ child-protection and parental-rights laws and our States’ economic interests as Target shareholders, we are concerned by recent events involving the company’s ‘Pride’ campaign,” the attorneys general wrote July 5 to Target CEO Brian Cornell.

“Our concerns entail the company’s promotion and sale of potentially harmful products to minors, related potential interference with parental authority in matters of sex and gender identity, and possible violation of fiduciary duties by the company’s directors and officers.

“As the chief legal officers of our states, we are charged with enforcing state laws protecting children and safeguarding parental rights. State child-protection laws penalize the ‘sale or distribution … of obscene matter.’ A matter is considered ‘obscene’ if ‘the dominant theme of the matter … appeals to the prurient interest in sex,’ including ‘material harmful to minors.’

“Indiana, as well as other states, have passed laws to protect children from harmful content meant to sexualize them and prohibit gender transitions of children.”

The attorneys general from Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, Mississippi, Idaho and Arkansas listed the instances in which the company may be liable to prosecution for violations of state laws.

“During this campaign, Target wittingly marketed and sold LGBTQIA+ promotional products to families and young children as part of a comprehensive effort to promote gender and sexual identity among children,” they said. “This year, Target reportedly promoted and sold products in our states that included, among other products, LGBT-themed onesies, bibs, and overalls, t-shirts labeled ‘Girls Gays Theys;’ ‘Pride Adult Drag Queen Katya’ (which depicts a male dressed in female ‘drag’); and girls’ swimsuits with ‘tuck-friendly construction’ and ‘extra crotch coverage’ for male genitalia.

“Target also included merchandise by the self-declared ‘Satanist-Inspired’ brand Abprallen, which is known for designs that glorify violence. These designs include the phrases ‘We Bash Back’ with a heart-shaped mace in the trans-flag colors, ‘Transphobe Collector’ with a skull, and ‘Homophobe Headrest’ with skulls beside a pastel guillotine. Target also sold products with anti-Christian designs, such as pentagrams, horned skulls, and other Satanic products. One such design included the phrase ‘Satan Respects Pronouns’ with a horned ram representing Baphomet — a half-human, half-animal, hermaphrodite worshiped by the occult.”

Citing Target’s financial support of GLSEN — a pro-LGBT group that “furnishes resources to activists for the purpose of undermining parents’ constitutional and statutory rights by supporting ‘secret gender transitions for kids’ and directing public schools to withhold ‘any information that may reveal a student’s gender identity to others, including [to] parents or guardians'” — the attorneys generals stated:

“Target’s ‘Pride’ campaign and financial support to organizations such as GLSEN not only raise concerns under our states’ child-protection and parental-rights laws but also against our states’ economic interests as Target shareholders. Target’s directors and officers have a fiduciary duty to our States as shareholders in the company. The evidence suggests that Target’s directors and officers may be negligent in undertaking the ‘Pride’ campaign, which negatively affected Target’s stock price. Moreover, it may have improperly directed company resources for collateral political or social goals unrelated to the company’s and its shareholders’ best interests.”

The “Pride” campaign, the attorneys general suggested, may qualify as effecting a change in the end of the company to that of promoting a social or political agenda, an act beyond the legal authority of the company’s board and management, and one that may legally qualify as negligence toward stakeholders, since the campaign resulted in significant losses amounting to billions of dollars.

They warned, “Though a company’s board of directors and its management have the discretion to make business decisions for how to best achieve those purposes, it is emphatically beyond the power of a corporate fiduciary to effectuate ‘a change in the end itself, to the reduction of profits … in order to devote them to other purposes’ — social, political, or otherwise.”

“Target’s stock prices dropped by 16 percent and the company lost $12 billion in market value … Losses of this magnitude — caused by isolating Target’s core customers — raise concerns that Target’s board and management may have acted negligently. Further evidence suggests Target’s leadership may have acted on collateral interests. Directors and officers must act solely in the best interest of the company. But you have reportedly defended the campaign as ‘the right thing for society.’”


Louis Knuffke