The blog post, published in April 2016, publicized a policy that said transgender customers were welcome to use the bathroom or fitting room that matched their gender identity.
“Everyone deserves to feel like they belong,” the post said. “And you’ll always be accepted, respected and welcomed at Target.”
Target CEO Brian Cornell never approved the post and found out about it only after it was published, according to The Wall Street Journal.
He later told colleagues that he wouldn’t have approved the decision to “flaunt” the policy and that the backlash was “self-inflicted,” The Journal reported.
The boycott cost the company millions in lost sales and added expenses. Shopper traffic and same-store sales started sliding for the first time in years after the blog post, and the company was forced to spend $20 million installing single-occupancy bathrooms in all its stores to give critics of the policy more privacy.
Critics of the policy said it opened the door for sexual predators to victimize women and children inside the retailer’s bathrooms, and more than 1.4 million people signed a pledge to stop shopping at Target unless it reversed the policy.
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