Ellen DeGeneres is firing back at a conservative interest group that launched a campaign to convince JCPenney (sometimes simply called Penney's) to drop the daytime gabber as a celebrity spokesmodel.
In case you aren't in-the-know, One Million Moms raised the ire of gay rights proponents last week, when it ordered its supporters to boycott the retailer following its appointment of the "openly gay" Ellen as the face of the clothing and household brand. The group, a division of the socially right-wing American Family Association, argued that Penney's was trying to gain a new target market by "jumping on the pro-gay bandwagon" with its hiring of one of the nation's best-known gay celebrities.
One Million Moms -- which also famously spoke out against the debut of the polygamist TLC soap Sister Wives -- demanded that Ellen be replaced in a controversial posting to its website.
"Funny that JCPenney thinks hiring an open homosexual person will help their business when most of their customers are traditional families. DeGeneres is not a true representation of the type of families that shop at their store. The majority of JCPenney shoppers will be offended and choose to no longer shop there," the message read.
Ellen broke her silence on the furor during a taping for Wednesday's episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. She confessed that she normally prefers to avoid talking about such matters on her show. But this time she made an exception… just this once.
"Normally I try not to pay attention to my haters, but this time I'd like to talk about it because my haters are my motivators."
She poked fun at the One Million Moms group, but said she was "proud and happy" that the department store has stood by her in the face of the anti-gay campaign.
"This organization doesn't think I should be the spokesperson because I'm gay. For those of you who are just tuning in for the first time, it's true. I'm gay. I hope you were sitting down. I hate to break it to you this way, but anyway," cracked the star, who wed love Portia de Rossi in August 2008.
"They [One Million Moms] wanted to get me fired and I am proud and happy to say that JCPenney stuck by their decision to make me their spokesperson," Ellen continued.
"Being gay or pro-gay isn't a bandwagon. You don't get a free ride anywhere. There's no music. And occasionally we'll sing 'We Are Family,' but that's about it," she joked.
DeGeneres then noted that the One Million Moms group only has " 40,000 members on their (Facebook) page. So they're rounding up to the nearest million and I get that."
Ellen, who is also an ambassador for CoverGirl cosmetics, pointed to other -- far more offensive -- celebrity spokesfolks that the organization could badger.
"I mean, if they have a problem with spokespeople, what about the Pillsbury Doughboy? He runs around without any pants on, basically begging for people to poke his belly. What kind of message is that?"
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