Target CEO Brian Cornell shrugged off boycott threats Wednesday and said the retailer would continue implementing its transgender-friendly bathroom policy.
Cornell, appearing on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” said Target stands by its announcement last month that transgender shoppers and employees are welcome to use whichever bathroom corresponds with their gender identity. The announcement provoked the American Family Association to circulate a boycott pledge, since signed by more than 1.2 million people.
“We took a stance, and were going to continue to embrace our belief of diversity and inclusion and just how important that is to our company,” Cornell said.
Target's policy came in response to anti-trans legislation in several states, including a measure signed into law by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) banning cities from passing LGBT anti-discrimination ordinances and barring transgender people from using bathrooms consistent with their gender identities.
Cornell said Target is familiar with choosing to stand on the right side of social issues. Decades ago, Target was one of the first major companies to cast black models in its ads, provoking similar backlash, he said.
"We had a lot of tough feedback," Cornell said, "But sitting here today, I know we made the right decision."
Target is working to install "family restrooms" in all of its stores that don't yet have them to make all customers feel welcome, Cornell added.