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06/14/2012

NOM's Corporate Fairness Project uses Tom Strobhar for third time, pretends like he's someone else

by Jeremy Hooper

In a new press release, the National Organization For Marriage writes the following about yesterday's Target Shareholder meeting:

A long-time Target shareholder who attended the annual meeting roundly criticized Target for their donation to the Family Equality Council. Not only was the shareholder upset that the donation had drawn Target into the cultural war over marriage in which they have no business interest, but he was also concerned with how the donation would affect Target as a national retailer. Protests and boycotts have already been started, and Target does not seem to take the shareholder's best interests to heart, argued the shareholder.
Shareholder Takes Target to Task Over Corporate Effort to Redefine Marriage [NOM]

What NOM doesn't tell you? That this nameless "longtime shareholder" who they use in the press release headline is actually Tom Strobhar:

Hello, my name is Tom Strobhar. I've been a shareholder since it was Dayton Hudson stores. And outside, I received a flyer for one of the protest groups about the $150,000 contribution to a gentleman who ran for governor, whose apparent biggest sin was he was for traditional marriage. No other sins seem to have been mentioned about this, which Mr. Steinhafel later apologized for, if I understand that correctly. Now to go on to suggest that any future political contributions would have to be run by something akin to marriage police, in other words that our corporate policy will now be trumped by the candidate's issue and stance on marriage, which is bizarre in its own way and -- but it certainly seems that, that was the message given by this. And maybe we didn't learn our lesson or maybe we learned it a little bit too much. But I also recently heard -- now this -- for those don't know, this is Gay Pride Month. And Target, in response to that, is selling T-shirts, gay pride T-shirts. They're giving the proceeds to an organization who seeks to overthrow the marriage laws in 40 different states in this country, which, by the way, the most recent state that voted on this voted 61 to 39 to approve traditional marriage. It's not in Minnesota, but Target doesn't do business just in Minnesota. This same organization would seek to get rid of groups like Catholic Charities in the adoption business because Catholic Charities prefers married heterosexual couples to adopt children. And as a result of this, we now have boycotts from the conservative, pro-family, pro-traditional side. And it's somewhat for obvious reason. And my question is, really, these are hot button political issues. These are culture wars that are out there. When are we going to start running this corporation for the interest of the shareholders, like myself and most of the people here, and not get involved in these hot button cultural issues? Thank you.
Transcript—Target 2012 Shareholder Meeting

Why does this matter? Well, because Tom Strobhar is someone who does this whole "shareholder outrage" thing
Screen Shot 2012-06-14 At 10.57.27 Am professionally. He has carved out quite a career for himself as a sort of professional protestor at shareholder meetings. In fact, he spoke right after NOM at the recent Starbucks meeting where the organization announced its boycott intent.

Not only that, NOM has actually press released Strobhar in the past month for yet another effort in which they were involved. Here's a snippet from NOM's Bank of America press release from May 14, 2012:

Bank of America Shareholder Thomas Strobhar, who attended the meeting and offered the resolution, said "Bank of America becomes a stronger company when they embrace diversity of all types, not just those that are currently in favor with pop culture. As a shareholder I simply believe that it is imprudent for a corporation to take sides on a cultural matter unrelated to their business." Strobhar continued, "Bank of America took the correct position of allowing their employees to speak out on their own time on the North Carolina Marriage Amendment, and as a shareholder I'd like to see that position added to their Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Statement so that all employees will know where they stand."
National Organization for Marriage Requests Bank of America Enshrine Freedom of Speech with Shareholder Resolution [NOM]

So it's not like NOM was lacking in familiarity with this man or doesn't know his game. They just want to give the illusion of sweeping shareholder frustration, so they pretended like it was someone other than THE EXACT SAME PERSON who has joined them at two other corporations in the past four months!

Oh, and since NOM is using Tom Strobhar in this way (either named or anonymous), let's have another look at what this professional frustrated shareholder puts in his punditry profile in order to get booked in the media:

Screen Shot 2012-05-15 At 11.27.36 Am
[SOURCE: Special Guests: Tom Strobhar profile]

Yes, that's right—NOM's been corporate outreach voice promises to share with audiences how "the sodomy lifestyle" is something that "can and should be changed." So not only is their whole attempt to parlay this one man into some sweeping shareholder force an all-out (and very telling) act of willful deception, but it also involves the whole "ex-gay" thing that we see trending up in the NOM world.

Something tells me that if Target was looking for reasons to stick with equality, NOM just gave them a few more!

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