After a year of boycotts, plummeting stock prices, and revenue declines, the CEO of Target reportedly conceded his company made a mistake with the way it came out in support of the controversial "bathroom bill."
According to the Wall Street Journal, Chief Executive Brian Cornell was caught off guard by the ordeal and wouldn't have "approved the decision to flaunt it."
Cornell did not speak directly with WSJ and the article is based on interviews with unnamed Target employees.
Target has not responded to CBN News's request for a comment on the story.
The issue centers around an April 19, 2016 post on Target's corporate website. In the article, the superstore chain stated the company was committed to an "inclusive experience," specifically as it related to its transgender team members and customers. At the top of the post, Target's iconic red bulls-eye logo was replaced with a gay-pride rainbow.
Cue the outrage.
Cornell was out-of-office the day the post was published, and "returned to assess the damage." The article says he was frustrated with the way the company publicized its bathroom policy, however, he ultimately made the decision to stand by it. Some executives feared the backlash would die down, and that a reversal would create more problems than it solved.
Reportedly, Cornell felt that Target "didn't adequately assess the risk, and the ensuing backlash was self-inflicted."
That backlash included 1.4 million signatories to a boycott orchestrated by the conservative American Family Association. Since the boycott was announced, Target's stock has plummeted from nearly $84 a share to $53 in less than a year, effectively wiping out more than $10 billion of the company's valuation. After years of steady profits, the company has reported losses in each of the last few quarters.
"You can't take it back," said one Target employee.
Target has made efforts to win customers back. Last August, they announced a multi-million dollar renovation to add private bathrooms, and they've also begun a multi-billion dollar revamp its stores.
Perhaps too little / too late -- the company has said "public pronouncements on hot-button issues" in the future "may not be made without Mr. Cornell's consent."