Entrepreneur Kevin O’Leary addressed the ongoing controversies involving Target Corporation, emphasizing that companies should not take partisan stances. In an interview with Fox News’ Rachel Campos-Duffy on Jesse Watters Primetime, O’Leary, widely known as “Mr. Wonderful” from Shark Tank, discussed the recent controversies surrounding “woke corporations.”
Campos-Duffy raised the issue of the silence of Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines, who have a partnership with Target. Target has faced criticism for its “Pride collection” in support of the LGBT movement. O’Leary remarked that by getting involved in such debates, companies inevitably face challenges. He noted the changing landscape of corporate America in the past three years, starting with Budweiser, and warned about the consequences.
According to O’Leary, companies that sell consumer goods and services should avoid taking partisan positions. He highlighted that everyone has personal opinions on gender identity, but when companies engage in divisive fights, they risk alienating a significant portion of their customer base. Target, as a retailer, aims to sell to everyone and should be mindful of that goal.
O’Leary expressed surprise that Target seemingly did not learn from the negative outcome of Bud Light’s sponsorship of transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney, which he considered a case study in poor marketing. He highlighted the significant market capitalization impact Budweiser faced due to the controversy, emphasizing the brand’s decades-long efforts to build its reputation.
Furthermore, O’Leary cited abortion as an example, explaining that CEOs representing companies rarely discuss the topic because it is a deeply divisive issue that will never be fully resolved. He characterized it as a personal, family, religious, and perpetually partisan matter.
Overall, O’Leary emphasized the importance of companies remaining neutral and avoiding partisan entanglements in order to appeal to a broader customer base.