Lady Gaga, who has championed gay and lesbian rights, says that she signed an exclusive deal with Target stores only after the company agreed to back LGBT groups.

Gaga raised eyebrows when she signed the agreement to sell special editions of tracks from her upcoming Born This Way album at the retailer.

Target, the second largest discount retailer in the United States behind Walmart, has in the past been criticised by LGBT activists for funding anti-gay politicians in the US.

Gaga told Billboard magazine that she also had her concerns and held an “intense” meeting with the company on the issue.

“Part of my deal with Target is that they have to start affiliating themselves with LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) charity groups and begin to reform and make amends for the mistakes they’ve made in the past,” she told Billboard.

“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 groups.”

The company downplayed Gaga’s influence and said that it had already supported LGBT rights before meeting with her and that, this year alone, it has already pledged almost a half-million dollars to gay-equality groups.

“Certainly her perspective was very helpful in conversations,” Dustee Tucker Jenkins, Target’s vice president of public relations, told Billboard. “But we’ve considered a variety of different perspectives along the way, and that’s gotten us to where we are today.”

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