Bil Browning

Ellen & JC Penny: A PR Tempest in a Gay Teapot

Filed By Bil Browning | February 02, 2012 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Gay Icons and History, Living
Tags: Ellen DeGeneres, GLAAD, JC Penney, OneMillionMoms, tempest in a teapot

After the hate group One Million Moms announced they were calling on their supporters to replace Ellen Degeneres as their new spokesperson because she's a lesbian, GLAAD and some gay bloggers sprang into action. GLAAD-Ellen-JCPenny.jpegSadly, they're just playing into a controversy that benefits no one but the group and the department store chain.

Let's look at this logically for a second.

  • JC Penny's new CEO, Ron Johnson, is the brains behind the Apple retail store and the re-branding of Target. He's a known LGBT ally.
  • One Million Moms isn't really a million mothers trying to protect their flock. They're a marginalized hate group that most Americans have never heard about.
  • Ellen Degeneres is beloved by many Americans - gay, straight, or anything in between. She's been a celebrity spokesperson for CoverGirl makeup and American Express without spurring the end of the world. Each time rightwing religious nutjobs have raised a stink, but she's never been fired over the bigots' brouhaha. JC Penny isn't going to be the first.
  • JC Penny is rebranding itself as a modern hip store that Americans can love again. Bigotry and conservative religious hysteria isn't modern or hip. It would be counterproductive to their massive PR efforts.

So who benefits from this little PR tempest in a gay teapot? The bigots, JC Penny, and GLAAD, that's who. The bigots get their name in lights, JC Penny can advance the image they want to sell to younger shoppers, and GLAAD can claim a role in beating back this anti-gay attack.

When we talk about the overblown hysteria by some in the LGBT community, this is a glaring example of much ado over nothing from the gay side of the tribe. Is the boycott ridiculous and bigoted? Totally. Is it actually going to affect us? Nope. We should save the moral outrage for when it's actually justified instead of best ignored.

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