A right wing group has attacked J. C. Penney after the American department store hired lesbian talk show host Ellen Degeneres as its new spokesperson.
The One Million Moms Campaign (OMM), a project of the notoriously anti-gay American Family Association, has slammed the retailer for “hiring an open homosexual spokesperson”.
The group said: “Degeneres is not a true representation of the type of families that shop at their store. The majority of J. C. Penney shoppers will be offended and choose to no longer shop there. The small percentage of customers they are attempting to satisfy will not offset their loss in sales.”
DeGeneres will be taking part in activities to promote the company’s new approach to customers as well as its redesign of stores across the county.
“We share the same fundamental values as Ellen,” said J. C. Penney 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.”
OMM, however, warned that “unless J. C. Penney decides to be neutral in the culture war then their brand transformation will be unsuccessful”.
In response to the OMM campaign against Degeneres, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) called on LGBT community members and allies to “stand up for Ellen DeGeneres and tell J.C. Penney that the company made the right choice in selecting her as its new spokesperson”.
“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, Senior Director of Programs and Communications at GLAAD.
“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.”