Their decision to sue the group comes after two events concerning their relationship with the gay/ lesbian community that have both created bad publicity and tension between their company and this client base. While the company claims that the lawsuit has nothing to do with the cause they were campaigning for but rather the distraction it was causing to customers, it does not look good added on to the previous issues with their public image.
The first instance that got them into trouble was their $150,000 donation to a business group that supported a Minnesota candidate who opposed gay marriage. After issuing a public apology basically saying that everyone had misinterpreted their donation, they also had a tentative partnership with Lady Gaga to promote her new album which was short-lived and fell through after their business meeting, which reportedly resulted in a conflict concerning their policy.
During the court hearing Friday in San Diego, Judge Jeffrey Barton asked why Target attorney David McDowell had not provided proof of the customers being upset over the activists, but McDowell replied that he could get it, but should not need it since the case is about keeping people off their private property.
Brian W. Pease, attorney of the gay rights group Canvass For a Cause, said that the area in which they were petitioning was considered by courts to be an area appropriate for groups to exercise free speech.
Target maintained that they have asked plenty of organizations to respect the privacy of the area surrounding their store, and their action against Canvass For a Cause did not involve any sort of political agenda. Arguments went back and forth, and Judge Barton announced that he would make a decision by the end of next week.