Amidst the controversy surrounding Target’s LGBTQ-inclusive merchandise, the American Conservative Values ETF (ACVF) has taken a decisive stance by divesting all its shares in the company and removing it from its investment portfolio.
Target Corp. faced another setback as a conservative investment group withdrew its support, highlighting the ongoing repercussions of the company’s Pride advertising and marketing initiatives.
The ACVF announced on Thursday that it had sold all its shares in the retail giant, adding Target to its “Refuse to Buy” list due to the company’s perceived “woke” approach. In a press statement, the ACVF expressed concerns over Target’s continual pandering to the “Woke LGBT agenda,” labeling the management team’s response to the crisis they created as inept. The organization cited significant damage to the brand’s reputation across the political spectrum and predicted negative long-term performance in the company’s stock. Consequently, the ACVF concluded that Target exhibited hostility towards conservative ideals.
Target’s foray into the cultural wars has drawn criticism from both the left and the right. Conservatives have taken issue with the prominent display of LGBTQ merchandise ahead of Pride Month in June, while liberals have expressed outrage over the company’s subsequent shifting and removal of some LGBTQ items in response to customer backlash.
Concerns among investors have arisen regarding a potential “Bud Light situation,” referring to the backlash faced by the renowned beer brand for its association with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. It is feared that Target’s response may have come too late to prevent a similar controversy.
William Flaig, CEO and co-founder of the ACVF, emphasized that Target constituted a relatively small portion of the ETF’s assets, accounting for 0.28% compared to the company’s 0.18% weight in the S&P 500. The ACVF has blacklisted a total of 34 companies, including Disney, Meta (formerly Facebook), BlackRock, and Google.
Flaig explained that companies’ involvement in politics presents a clear and manageable risk to their shareholders. The ACVF has actively raised shareholder motions to address this issue with boards of directors and shareholders, alongside their boycott of major offenders.