TUPELO, Miss. — Retail giant J.C. Penney has come under fire from the anti-gay group “One Million Moms” over its recent hiring of hugely popular daytime television talk-show host, Ellen DeGeneres as its spokesperson.
One Million Moms, “a project of the American Family Association” — an organization designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) — has launched a campaign demanding that the retailer fire DeGeneres because she’s gay.
“DeGeneres is not a true representation of the type of families that shop at their store,” says the group.
“Funny that J.C. Penney thinks hiring an open homosexual spokesperson will help their business when most of their customers are traditional families,” the group wrote on its website.
“More sales will be lost than gained unless they replace their spokesperson quickly. Unless J.C. Penney decides to be neutral in the culture war, then their brand transformation will be unsuccessful.”
In response to the attack launched on DeGeneres by the AFA, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) on Thursday launched an online campaign in her defense.
“While designated hate groups try to start ‘culture wars,’ it’s clear that a vast majority of Americans today support Ellen as well as their LGBT friends and family members,” said Herndon Graddick, a senior GLAAD official, in a statement
“Selecting an out performer who has inspired and entertained millions is not only a smart business practice, but a reflection of how LGBT Americans today are an integral and valued part of the fabric of our culture,” Graddick said.
JC Penney officials indicated they would not surrender to the AFA’s demands.
“We share the same fundamental values as Ellen,” noted the company’s President, Michael Francis. “At J. C. Penney, we couldn’t think of a better partner to help us put the fun back into the retail experience.”