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Breitbart falsely claims Target’s stock plummeted over its trans bathroom policy
Photo via Kevin Dooley/Flickr (CC-BY)
Digital retailers caused the drop, not boycotts.
A rumor that Target’s stock dropped over its pro-transgender bathroom policy has been proven false, according to report from Snopes.
On Tuesday, Breitbart News published an article that suggested Target Corporation’s stock crashed due to “embracing the transgender political agenda.” To defend this claim, Breitbart writer Warner Todd Huston referenced a quote from Target CEO Brian Cornell, in which Cornell said “rapidly-changing consumer behavior” led to a drop in Target stock.
Huston claimed that Cornell was referring to anti-trans boycotts against Target. In actuality, Cornell was referring to the “very strong digital growth” of Target online sales versus the “unexpected softness” experienced at brick-and-mortar locations.
According to Snopes, projected earnings announced during Target’s 2017 Financial Community Meeting failed to match the figures that Wall Street analysts believed the corporation would announce, leading to a drop in stock. One analyst, Edward Jones’s Brian Yarbough, thought Target would project $5.30 per share earnings. However, Target announced $3.80 to $4.20 earnings.
According to Snopes, this coincides with reports that Kroger, Dollar General, and Wal-Mart all saw market declines thanks to the success of digital markets against physical retail stores.
“Our fourth quarter results reflect the impact of rapidly-changing consumer behavior, which drove very strong digital growth but unexpected softness in our stores,” Cornell revealed in an official statement. “We will accelerate our investments in a smart network of physical and digital assets as well as our exclusive and differentiated assortment, including the launch of more than 12 new brands, representing more than $10 billion of our sales, over the next two years.”
At the start of the 2016 fiscal year, Target announced it would allow “transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.” The measure followed shortly after the North Carolina H.B. 2 bill became law, which enabled trans bathroom discrimination and stripped LGBTQ protections across the state.
For confirmation, Snopes reached out to Target for a comment on the bathroom policy’s effects on the business. “We have made it clear over time that we’ve seen no material impact to the business based on the bathroom policy. We don’t have anything new or different to share,” a Target spokeswoman told Snopes.
The confusion may rest with the source itself. Breitbart has consistently pushed for anti-trans approaches to news stories. An article from Breitbart on transgender male wrestler Mack Beggs refers to Beggs with female pronouns, despite the fact that outlets such as ESPN have honored his gender identity. A December 2015 Breitbart article also falsely argued that New York City would fine citizens for $250,000 if incorrect pronouns were used.
“The state is now forcing society to recognise the subjective identities of individuals, regardless of how absurd or surreal they may seem,” Breitbart writer Allum Bokhari falsely claimed. “It’s zir way or the highway.”
Ana Valens is an LGBTQ reporter and essayist for the Daily Dot. Her work has previously appeared in Bitch, the Establishment, Vice's Waypoint, Rolling Stone's Glixel, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.