The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against
Defamation (GLAAD) on Wednesday launched a campaign against a group
protesting Ellen DeGeneres' new role as spokesperson for JCPenney
because she is openly gay.
The group One Million Moms, which is
closely associated with the Christian conservative group American
Family Association (AFA), called on JCPenney to reverse its decision.
“Funny that JCPenney thinks hiring an
openly homosexual spokesperson will help their business when most of
their customers are traditional families. More sales will be lost
than gained unless they replace their spokesperson quickly,” the
group said in a statement.
“By jumping on the pro-gay bandwagon,
JCPenney is attempting to gain a new target market and in the process
will lose customers with traditional values that have been faithful
to them over all these years.”
The 54-year-old DeGeneres, who publicly
came out in 1997, is the host of The Ellen DeGeneres Show and
is a spokesperson for CoverGirl and American Express. DeGeneres
married actress Portia DeRossi in 2008.
“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,” Herndon Graddick, senior director of programs and
communications at GLAAD, said 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.”
The group's online
petition in support of DeGeneres had attracted more than 9,000
signatures by early Thursday.