A program of the American Family Association is calling on JCPenney to drop Ellen DeGeneres as its spokesperson.
Meanwhile, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is waging a campaign to defend the openly lesbian talk show host and comic.
JCPenney president Michael Francis, in a press release on Jan. 25, said of the retailer’s choice of DeGeneres: "We share the same fundamental values as Ellen. At JCPenney, we couldn't think of a better partner to help us put the fun back into the retail experience."
The AFA’s OneMillionMoms.com responded with a call on supporters to lobby Penney's to replace DeGeneres because she is gay. The plea at the Website says, "JCPenney offends again. Make a personal phone call to JCPenney's corporate headquarters and ask JCPenney to replace Ellen DeGeneres as their new spokesperson immediately to remain neutral in the culture war."
The group statement continues, "Funny that JCPenney thinks hiring an open homosexual spokesperson will help their business when most of their customers are traditional families."
The AFA makes many right-wing watch lists and has been described the the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.
"While designated hate groups try to start 'culture wars,' it's clear that a vast majority of Americans today support Ellen," said GLAAD's Herndon Graddick. "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."