Moms vs Target

Jonathan Bernstein crisis management, Crisis Prevention, crisis public relations, Crisis Response, risk assessment

Recently, Mary Martinez was told that it was illegal to breastfeed her baby by security guards inside of a Michigan Target store. When she refused to leave, store security called the local police, who confirmed that what the woman was doing was 100% legal. While both of these acts were certainly inappropriate and offensive, an article from One Penny Sheet sums up the actions that led to this story getting national coverage:

When contacted by Detroit’s Fox affiliate, Target’s corporate headquarters said that breast-feeding is allowed in their stores, but “This specific situation escalated to a point where we were concerned for the safety of our guests, so law enforcement was called.” Are you kidding me? How on earth does feeding a baby “escalate” to a safety issue for other customers? Target’s corporate spokesperson does understand that when you give a quote to a media outlet, other people will end up hearing it, right? And also that words mean things?

With a little bit of smart crisis management by the corporate office, this story could have been kept at an entirely local level. Now, because of a poor response, it’s snowballed into a national spectacle.

The BCM Blogging Team