As she endures an anti-gay group's fury over her new JC Penney spokeswoman role, Ellen DeGeneres has found an unlikely advocate -- Bill O'Reilly.

The Fox News commentator came to DeGeneres' defense after conservative group One Million Moms, a division of the American Family Association, pressed JC Penney to replace the comedian and talk show host as their spokesperson because she is a lesbian.

He likened the group's boycott of the Texas-based retail chain after they hired DeGeneres to a "witch hunt." He went on to note, "What is the difference between the McCarthy era of the '50s and the Million Moms saying, 'Hey, JCPenney and all you other stores, don't you hire any gay people. Don't you dare.' What is the difference?"

O'Reilly's comments came during a segment with Fox News contributor Sandy Rios, who argued in favor of the One Million Moms' anti-gay stance on the issue. "The problem is that Ellen DeGeneres has chosen to act out her lesbian lifestyle and marry her partner, it's what that represents," she said. "And the fact that JC Penney is supposed to be middle America, the place where families shop...and people who believe that marriage is between a man and woman and children should not be exposed and propagandized in homosexuality have a moral problem with that."

For her part, DeGeneres -- who previously had addressed the controversy on her television show -- took a moment to give O'Reilly a shout-out, too. "There's somebody else who actually defended me that I'd like to mention: Bill O'Reilly," she is quoted by the International Business Times as saying. "I already sent out a tweet to thank you...and you didn't really make it clear if you were going to shop at JCPenney or not, but if you do, you can use my employee discount any time you want. That's for you, Bill. Thank you so much."