STYLE
08/20/2010 06:04 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Gilt Groupe Under Fire For Partnering With Target After Anti-Gay Donation

Discount shopping website Gilt Groupe has come under fire for partnering with Target, pre-selling the big box store's designer collaborations. Last month, Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel donated $150,000 to an anti-gay politician, and after outcry by the LGBT community, Target promised it would create a "review process" for political donations. But that response hasn't stopped some customers from being angry that Gilt would work with Target just several weeks after the controversy.

The sale, featuring John Derian, Mulberry and Tucker, started at noon on Friday and was met with harsh comments on Gilt's Facebook wall, like:

  • I am a huge fan of Gilt, but I have to say that it is a big dissapointment to see that you are doing a collaboration with Target in light of the boycott over their recent political donations. Very poorly timed, Gilt......
  • Gilt - I will miss you but just cannot be a part of your support of Target and their funding of hate based anti gay politics. I can't be a part of that GILT by Association.
  • I'm very disappointed in the Gilt collaboration with Target. And not appeased by the statement released by Gilt supporting Target. I will not only not buy any Target merchandise through Gilt, but I will not buy any Gilt Groupe merchandise. I can't have my money go towards politicians who not only advocate for stripping... LGBTQ people of their rights, but who advocate for harm/death to be brought to LGBTQ people.

CEO Susan Lyne responded to the crowd, writing:

"Some of you have noted that Gilt benefits from the efforts and talent of the LGBT community -- and you are absolutely right. We consider ourselves lucky to work in an industry that flourishes precisely because it embraces diversity and change. As a company and a community we are better, more creative, more successful because of the contributions of our LGBT colleagues. The sale we are doing with Target today is the result of many months of work on the part of Gilt employees and Target team members far removed from decisions about corporate political contributions. I am grateful to both groups for the care and effort they put into bringing something special to our respective customers. Whether you visit the sale today or not, please know that we will continue to celebrate the contributions of our LGBT employees and vendor partners and to support their events wherever we can. As always, thank you for engaging with us, today and every day."

But as Elle notes:

As this post went live, 32 comments followed, including: "BS - your excuses are as feeble as Target's...business plans change daily at every company and you could have revistied your partnership. how stupid do you think we are???" "Shopping the Groupe today is not shopping "Gilt" free. Social action and change stems from the idea that none of us are too far removed to stop injustice." "So basically it's monetary gain before ethics since you've already put time into the sale with Target. Shame on you. Your words are meaningless If your actions don't reflect them. You were better to keep your mouth shut and just keep using the gay community to your benefit than shine such a garish light on your hypocrisy."

What do you think?