Target CEO Admits Bathroom Policy Announcement Was Huge Mistake

JEN RETALLICK, HAMILTON STRATEGIES

A very damaging article just out from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) clearly shows that Target CEO Brian Cornell regrets his company’s policy announcement welcoming men to use women’s restrooms and fitting rooms.

WSJ interviewed a representative from the American Family Association (AFA), who launched the immensely successful #BoycottTarget initiative nearly a year ago. The 1.5 million-signature boycott has sent the strong message to the retailer that its misguided and potentially dangerous bathroom policy is the reason millions of families are no longer shopping there.

According to the article, Cornell expressed frustration about how the bathroom policy was publicized without his permission or knowledge, and told colleagues he wouldn’t have approved the decision to flaunt it with a public statement that is still on Target’s website today.

WSJ reported that Cornell told staff that “Target didn’t adequately assess the risk, and the ensuing backlash [AFA boycott] was self-inflicted.” (Read the entire WSJ article here; subscription required.)

The WSJ article also explained that Target headquarters sent an internal memo to store managers reiterating its official stance on men using women’s facilities. On April 15, 2016, a group Target calls its “risk committee” emailed executives informing them of a plan to post that message publicly. Cornell wasn’t among the recipients of that email, but at least two Target executives approved the post.