Ellen DeGeneres' new gig as a spokeswoman for JC Penney is just one component in the retail brand's planned makeover, but not everyone is thrilled by the choice.
OneMillionMoms.com, a division of the American Family Association, is now calling for DeGeneres to be replaced by the Texas-based chain because she is a lesbian, Towleroad and other media outlets are reporting.
"Funny that JC Penney thinks hiring an open homosexual spokesperson will help their business when most of their customers are traditional families," the group writes on its website. "DeGeneres is not a true representation of the type of families that shop at their store. The majority of JC 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."
The group's statement concludes: "By jumping on the pro-gay bandwagon, JC Penney 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."
Interestingly, comments on the group's Facebook page indicate that not everyone is upset over DeGeneres' new role. "I certainly don't agree with Ellen's lifestyle," one user wrote. "However, I won't stop shopping at [JC Penney] just because she's the spokesperson. That's so silly."
Wrote another: "Being gay is only a part of who she is. Her comedy is not mean but it can still bring you to tears with laughter. She is generous with her blessings and is modest in her dress and behavior. She does not hide who she truly is. If these are traits to be judged poorly by, I am done."
The company's CEO, former Apple executive Ron Johnson, explained why the company chose Degeneres to the Associated Press. "I think Ellen is someone we all trust. She's lovable, likable, honest and funny, but at her soul, we trust her," he said. So far, Johnson and other officials for the retail chain have yet to comment on the protests.
Meanwhile, DeGeneres, who reportedly worked at a Louisiana-based JC Penney in the 1970s, said she was excited to be back. "They have an incredible vision for the future and are completely re-inventing themselves to become America's favorite store," she said in a statement. "And most importantly, I'm gonna get my employee discount again. Hello new pillows!"