Last week, retailer JCPenney came under fire when it announced a new partnership with actress/comedian/television host Ellen DeGeneres. Ellen has been “out at work” since she announced she was gay on the “puppy episode” of her show Ellen in 1997. Since 2003, she has hosted a daily television show, The Ellen Degeneres Show. She has been a spokesperson for American Express and one of the faces of the Cover Girl campaign.
One Million Moms.com, a project of the American Family Association, and an organization designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), has since launched a campaign demanding JCPenney fire Ellen Degeneres because she is a lesbian.
JCPenney has been a great supporter of Out & Equal, and has been a sponsor for the past five years. In fact, Mike Ullman, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of JCPenney and Liz Sweney, executive vice president general merchandise manager, women’s apparel, were plenary speakers at the 2011 Out & Equal Workplace Summit in Dallas.
“The LGBT cause for us is central…when I look back on my career the thing I probably get the most satisfaction out of is watching other people thrive in a diverse and challenging environment,” said Ullman at the event. You can watch their entire conversation here.
JCPenney also hosted a fashion show at the 2011 Summit; the first ever fashion show at the event.
For more than a decade, we have been working with organizations to create places of employment whose cultures embrace the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees and those who support them. Out & Equal stands in support of JCPenney, and all organizations that believe in diversity, inclusion, and equality.
In support of JCPenney and Ellen DeGeneres, GLAAD has created a website with more information: glaad.org/standupforellen
At the site, you can take action by:
1. Adding your name to the list of supporters for JCPenney’s decision: change.org/petitions/stand-up-for-ellen
2. Calling JCPenney to remind the retailer that hate should not be for sale in America’s stores.
J.C. Penney, Customer Service – (972) 431-8200
J.C. Penney, Corporate Headquarters – (972) 431-1000