JCPenney stands by Ellen DeGeneres; won't fire gay spokeswoman

Fri. February 3, 2012 11:48 AM by

A campaign to fire Ellen DeGeneres as the spokeswoman for JCPenney because she is openly gay has roundly been rejected by the company.

The group One Million Moms, which is closely associated with the Christian conservative group American Family Association (AFA), called on JCPenney to fire DeGeneres.

"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."

In an emailed statement to Yahoo!, JCPenny confirmed it "stands behind its partnership with Ellen DeGeneres."

An online petition in support of DeGeneres launched by media advocacy and anti-defamation group GLAAD had attracted nearly 24,000 signatures by Friday afternoon.

Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine