US retail giant Target has hit back at Lady Gaga after she walked away from an exclusive deal for the sale of her single Born This Way over the company’s controversial donations to political groups who back anti-gay policies.

Target, which has 1,743 stores across the United States, in the past donated to political groups including Minnesota Forward who have been accused of backing homophobic politicians and causes. As part of a deal to exclusively sell a special edition of the singer’s single Born This Way, described by Sir Elton John as the “new gay anthem”, Lady Gaga said that Target had agreed to review its political donations practices and “make amends” by donating to LGBT community groups.

Yesterday, Lady Gaga’s publicist confirmed that the star had ended her relationship with Target.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Target said: “We were very surprised and disappointed by the statements made by Lady Gaga’s organization related to her partnership with Target. Target remains committed to the LGBT community as demonstrated by our contributions to various LGBT organizations, our recently established Policy Committee to review our political giving and our respectful, inclusive workplace environment.”

When she originally announced the deal, Lady Gaga said: “That discussion was one of the most intense conversations I’ve ever had in a business meeting. Part of my deal with Target is that they have to start affiliating themselves with LGBT charity groups and begin to reform and make amends for the mistakes they’ve made in the past … our relationship is hinged upon their reform in the company to support the gay community and to redeem the mistakes they’ve made supporting those [anti-gay] groups.”

Target voluntarily pays benefits to same sex partners, despite no federal requirements to do so.