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Target Blocks Frank Ocean’s ‘Channel Orange’: Anti-Gay or Just Business?

After cancelling a $10 million Lady Gaga campaign in 2011, Target is choosing their words carefully this time.  

Johnny Firecloudby Johnny Firecloud


You'll want to skip Target if you're looking to buy Frank Ocean's debut studio album Channel Orange. The big-box retailer has decided not to carry the singer/producer's new record, but they're quick to insist that it has nothing to do with his recent announcement that he's bisexual.

The decision was reportedly made in response to Ocean's label deciding to sell Channel Orange ahead of its scheduled release date via iTunes – not due to Ocean's sexuality – according to statements from the company. iTunes is the sole digital seller of the album until July 17. Listen to the album here.

Ocean admitted in a recent Tumblr post  that he had a past romantic relationship with a man, and Ocean's manager Christian Clancy, implied via Twitter that the admission influenced Target's decision not to carry the album. 

"Target has refused to carry Frank's album because of iTunes exclusive," Clancy's initial Tweet on the matter read. "Interesting since they also donate to non-equal rights organizations." Target came under fire for a similar matter in 2011, in which it cancelled a $10 million television campaign for Lady Gaga's Born This Way album, reportedly due to differences over the company's support for political candidates opposed to gay rights. 

Clancy has since deleted the Tweet and apologized in a series of comments (those label connects can be a frighteningly convincing bunch). But in response, Target issued a statement to that reads: "The claims made about Target's decision to not carry the Frank Ocean album are absolutely false. Target supports inclusivity and diversity in every aspect of our business. Our assortment decisions are based on a number of factors, including guest demand.   

"Target has a longstanding tradition of supporting music and artistry that reflects the diverse landscape of American culture. Our history of partnering with diverse artists includes recent partnerships with a variety of musicians, such as Ricky Martin, B.o.B., and Gloria Estefan." 

Channel Orange appeared on iTunes on the morning of July 10, and also began streaming on Ocean's Tumblr page. The early surprise worked well for sales, with the album debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 next week with a tally between 100,000 to 120,000 copies sold. The CD version of Channel Orange wasn't publicly scheduled to go on sale until July 17, but physical retailers have been told by Universal to start selling the album as soon as they receive it.