JCPenney CEO Responds to Controversy About Ellen

The conservative group One Million Moms wants JCPenney to fire Ellen DeGeneres, its new spokesperson. Ellen, you may have heard, is a lesbian. The group describes its purpose as taking "a stand against the immorality, violence, vulgarity and profanity the entertainment media is throwing at…children." On its website, One Million Moms explains the JCPenney issue:

"Funny that JC Penney thinks hiring an open 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. Unless JC Penney decides to be neutral in the culture war then their brand transformation will be unsuccessful.

"Their marketing strategy is to help families shop and receive a good value for their money. 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 also accuses JCPenney of "jumping on the pro-gay bandwagon."

JCPenney CEO Ron Johnson responded to the controversy: "I think Ellen is someone we all trust. She's loveable, likeable, honest and funny, but at her soul, we trust her." Johnson also appeared on "CBS This Morning."

Ellen and JCPenney
Discussion Starters:

  • What is your opinion of JCPenney's choice of Ellen DeGeneres as its spokesperson?
  • How do you assess the company's reaction and CEO Ron Johnson's appearance on "CBS This Morning"?
  • Ellen DeGeneres also is a spokesperson for Cover Girl cosmetics. What, if anything, do you think Cover Girl should say about this controversy?