ONTD Political

J.C. Penney Won't Fire Ellen. Anti-Gay Group Loses Battle

6:51 pm - 02/03/2012
A 'million' moms can't compete with 3 million daily viewers. After J.C. Penney announced Ellen DeGeneres as the department store's new spokesperson last week, a conservative online organization launched a campaign to have her fired. Why? Because she's openly gay.

The One Million Moms organization, an extension of the American Family Association, called on members to urge the company to rethink their decision. "Funny that J.C. Penney thinks hiring an open homosexual spokesperson will help their business when most of their customers are traditional families," reads the call to action on the group's website. "The majority of J.C. Penney shoppers will be offended and choose to no longer shop there."

Not likely. As one of the most popular talk show hosts on TV, with over 3 million viewers turning in each episode, Ellen has her own army of followers that transcend traditional demographics. Gay, straight, moms, dads, kids, and even television critics (she's won over 32 Emmys), Ellen has surprised the industry's once closeted Hollywood culture by proving that talent and likability can override bigotry.

The barrier-breaking DeGeneres brand, and its patchwork fan-base, has proved a powerful marketing tool for advertisers too. Can anyone else Hollywood represent both CoverGirl and American Express?

Despite her famous relationships and bountiful lifestyle (she just bought Brad Pitt's mansion), DeGeneres is one of the rare celebrities that projects grounded-ness and dependability. She's someone who doesn't seem like she'd lie to you, because even when her job as a sitcom star was on the line in 1997, she never did.

There will always be detractors, but that doesn't mean they need to be taken seriously. It's unclear whether the One Million Mom project actually lives up to its name in numbers. At least one blogger has infiltrated the organization as a fake member. Like other marginal groups, the organization thrives on controversy, linking its name to major companies and stars for attention.

In the fall, the One Million Moms organization campaigned against Macy's for including a wedding cake topper with two men in its catalog. Last year, its parent organization, the American Family Association, launched an attack on Home Depot for participating in gay pride events. Sometimes the applied pressure may be influential—the Florida Family Association takes credit for Lowe's department store pulling ads from TLC's 'All-American Muslims' series.

But as it stands, this campaign against Ellen won't impact J.C. Penney's decision. In an emailed statement to Yahoo Shine, J.C. Penney confirmed it "stands behind its partnership with Ellen DeGeneres."

So do many of the department store's shoppers.

"As an American Mom in a traditional family with no gay or lesbian family members I want to respond with a big congratulations to both you and Ellen," a commenter wrote on J.C. Penney's Facebook page. "Don't let anyone tell you how to run your business. Not everyone in America is homophobic. I will continue to shop at your stores and admire your courage!!!"

Another one of over 600 largely positive messages added to the company's wall read: The 'One Million Moms' group doesn't speak for this Mom!!! I am thrilled that you have chosen to work with Ellen and am proud that your organization isn't letting bigotry stand in your way!"

Meanwhile Ellen's two million Facebook fans are doing some campaigning of their own. "Hoping/praying that some of those million mom's can open their hearts and accept people for who they are," writes a commenter. "Just emailed JCP, let them know that I will be making a trip to JCP due to Ellen--haven't shopped there in 30 years."

Source: Yahoo.

I think it's pretty damn awesome of JCP to want Ellen for their spokesperson, and for so many people to be 100 percent behind it. Yay, a little good news!
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kaowolfie 4th-Feb-2012 03:14 am (UTC)
Whoa. Go JCP!

Everyone knows Ellen is fucking awesome anyway. <3
tabaqui 4th-Feb-2012 03:29 am (UTC)
lux_roark 4th-Feb-2012 03:24 am (UTC)
They deleted my comments from their FB page and have now made it so that only people who "like" it can comment.
tabaqui 4th-Feb-2012 03:29 am (UTC)
Who did - OMM?
sephystabbity 4th-Feb-2012 03:35 am (UTC)
So much love to jcp for doing this <3
eveofrevolution 4th-Feb-2012 03:36 am (UTC)
Even more reason to shop at JCP. Yay =D
layweed 4th-Feb-2012 03:37 am (UTC)
Sucks to be you guys.

Also, what's the deal with this newfandangled JCP website revamp thing? Anyone know?
mrasaki 4th-Feb-2012 05:23 am (UTC)
I think it's part of their new business strategy to dig themselves out of near bankruptcy- including a new business model and revamping their image.
13chapters 4th-Feb-2012 03:42 am (UTC)
"The majority of J.C. Penney shoppers will be offended and choose to no longer shop there."

I saw this and I was like...R U SIRIUS. Look, I have no illusion regarding the culture of homophobia in the United States, but I think these people have got to be pretty sheltered to think that the majority of JC Penney shoppers would be so offended by a lesbian (especially one who's obviously already really popular) that they would boycott their stores. While lots of Americans are either belligerently or casually homophobic, most of them aren't politically active enough to base their shopping decisions on who a store's spokesperson is instead of, idk, price or location. It takes a really special breed of asshole to avoid a brand specifically because it's endorsed by a gay person.
sankaku_atama 4th-Feb-2012 03:37 pm (UTC)
I think it might be pretty safe to say that the OMM falls into that category of 'special breed of asshole'.

But then, that's not surprising.
sufjanisrad 4th-Feb-2012 03:43 am (UTC)
I like this line "She's someone who doesn't seem like she'd lie to you, because even when her job as a sitcom star was on the line in 1997, she never did. "

Edited at 2012-02-04 03:43 am (UTC)
sentinelsoul 4th-Feb-2012 03:44 am (UTC)
Good on you, JCP. I'm too broke to shop there very often, but I will be glad to do so when I can.

That being said, while I really do like Ellen as well, does it bother anyone else she promotes CoverGirl when they still test on animals? My mother is convinced that Ellen wouldn't do it if they did and no matter how much I show her to the contrary, she refuses to believe that they do test. I guess it wouldn't bother me as much if Ellen weren't such an advocate for animal rights. =/

Ack, sorry for being a downer in a happy post.
marywebgirl 4th-Feb-2012 05:55 am (UTC)
Maybe they hypnotize their spokespeople to convince them they don't since Drew Barrymore promotes them too.
arisma 4th-Feb-2012 03:49 am (UTC)
I'm going to go make some waffles with my spiffy JCP iron and eat them wearing some JCP jammies.
(Not really, but I COULD.)
twizzler_11 4th-Feb-2012 03:52 am (UTC)
Yay, I like Ellen and I'm glad JCP is standing its ground.

It just makes me so sad that people are still out there that think like that - I always just envision how generations down the road will view people of this time in regards to the gay rights movement. It'll be like us looking back to the 1960s and the civil rights movement or the 1920s for women's suffrage. They'll think of us as so close-minded and, perhaps, bigoted and just plain antiquated.

roseofjuly 5th-Feb-2012 04:58 am (UTC)
I was thinking about that too. In my head I was like, what if a group came out and demanded a boycott on a company using a black model as a spokeswoman? I can't believe the blatant ignorance and unafraid bigotry of people that they're not even scared of saying this shit out loud.
justspaz 4th-Feb-2012 03:54 am (UTC)
JCP, we may have grown apart since the glory days of back to school shopping, but thanks to a sparkly gold dress and this decision, you've made your way back into my heart.
13chapters 4th-Feb-2012 04:40 am (UTC)
brb googling sparkly gold dresses now.
chimbleysweep 4th-Feb-2012 04:08 am (UTC)
Uhhh. I think the fact that Ellen is so popular means most people won't actually be bothered by her. But logic is hard for bigots :(
redstar826 4th-Feb-2012 04:41 am (UTC)
LOL my mom was telling me about this and it was kind of funny because she was getting all worked up because she couldn't understand why anyone would not like Ellen
thelilyqueen 4th-Feb-2012 05:29 am (UTC)
Heh! Yeah, IDK what it is about Ellen - her utter lack of meanspiritedness is probably a big part of it, but not the whole story - but she is almost impossible to not like. But, I suppose that very likeability and realness are more of a threat in the eyes of OMM and the AFA than a 'wilder' persona would be, because it's humanizing.
aviv_b 4th-Feb-2012 04:45 am (UTC)
Good job JCP. I do shop from you on-line once in a while, but I'm going to try to give you more of my (admittedly small) business.

nyxelestia 4th-Feb-2012 05:24 am (UTC)
Damnit, I just gave my JCP gift card away! :( Aw, well, my dad still needs a new hat, now I know where to go. :)
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