Out of the frying pan and into the fire


Back in February the retail giant J.C. Penney caused a bit of a stir by hiring Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesman for their stores with anti-gay activists because she is openly a lesbian.  In protest, boycotts were threatened because they believed enlisting DeGeneres was tantamount to “jumping on the pro-gay bandwagon”.  After receiving much criticism, the group, One Million Moms, has decided to suspend the protest.

Regular readers are familiar with my position on homosexuality and same-sex marriage, which hasn’t changed.  But I think this move by One Million Moms (OMM) was a big mistake for a couple of reasons.

Ellen DeGeneres is openly gay but she is not an activist.  She is a popular daytime talk show host, and former stand-up comic.  To my knowledge DeGeneres does not wear her sexuality on her sleeve even though her sexuality is not a secret.  I could see OMM’s point if she were cut from the same cloth as say, a Dan Savage.  But she isn’t.  She seems to be a pleasant, happy-go-lucky person who a good many people like.  Above all, J.C. Penney’s goal is to sell as many goods to as many customers as they can, and it seems they thought DeGeneres could help them do just that.  I don’t get the impression J.C. Penney was carrying water for homosexual activism.

Second, J.C. Penney is now promoting a Father’s Day campaign featuring a gay male family complete with children.  I can’t say whether the retailer had this ad campaign planned, or if it was in response to OMM’s protests.  But one thing is clear, if Ellen DeGeneres putting her name behind J.C. Penney is jumping on the bandwagon, this new ad is riding a run-away freight train.  We have gone from having to read between the lines, to an obvious push for the pro-homosexual agenda.  In retrospect which is worse, Ellen DeGeneres’ smiling face, or two obvious gay men with a political message to send?

There is a time and a place for protesting businesses for their associations.  I don’t think the Ellen DeGeneres spokesmanship was the right fight to pick.  I’ve never been a fan of DeGeneres, I don’t find her funny and her “quirkiness” is thoroughly annoying.  But she has the right to earn a living just like any other American.  Being gay in and of itself does not condemn you to a life in the shadows.  You don’t get to tell J.C. Penney who they should hire any more than you can tell Rush Limbaugh he can’t do radio simply for being in disagreement with them.  This is the epitome of cutting off one’s nose to spite their face.

H/T Misplaced Grace


  1. I agree with you re: DeGeneres (including the part about not finding her funny).

    As for the new ad with the two dads, I’m at a loss with that one. I don’t see anything in the ad that suggests the two dads are a couple. They could just be two dads with their two kids, not one couple (both male) with their two (sibling) children. It’s a Father’s Day ad. It makes sense for it to show men with their children. Why the assumption that these men are having sex with each other?

  2. Because this is the the words right on the picture:

    “What makes Dad so cool? He’s the swim coach, tent maker, best friend, bike fixer and hug giver — all rolled into one. Or two.” under the title first pals

    “Real-life dads, Todd Koch and Cooper Smith with their children Claire and Mason.” on the bottom right corner of the pic. That’s why I think they have sex with eachother.

  3. Ah – I’d missed the “or two” part (I couldn’t read the small text in the image, and when I’d read the phrase discussed elsewhere, it skipped that part). I’ve also never seen the interview.

    Barring the interview, I still wouldn’t have assumed they were a couple based on the text. Perhaps it’s a reflection of the time and culture I grew up in, but I had 5 “mothers” myself. My biological mother (a difficult relationship) and the mothers of some of my best friends. For me, I would have interpreted it as a reflection of a close friendship.

    • But even still, most fathers day ads show a traditional family. The two men and two children are an overt gay couple. Fathers day implies family unit.

  4. “most fathers day ads show a traditional family” Maybe I’m just missing them, and I admit I tend to ignore ads, but I’m used to Father’s Day ads showing dads and their kids, dads golfing, dads bbq’ing, dads spending time with their dads. Maybe it’s a regional ads thing. The only place I’ve seen the JC Penny ads is on facebook and blogs. I don’t know if we even have a JC Penny where I live.

  5. Marshall Art says:

    Frankly, I do think DeGeneres if funny. Like with most celebrities who “come out”, I was sad that she was one of them. And it is true that she doesn’t really go out of her way to be an activist type, which I appreciate. And she has one thing in common with other celebrities like, say, Brad Pitt: both have hot wives. Can’t say the same for Portia DeRossi.

    But I digress.

    I also agree that her selection to promote JC Penney did not seem to me to be a way to snag that huge homosexual market niche (2%).

  6. I think that OMM making an issue over Ellen being spokesperson for JC Penney likely put the company in a position where it could take a more activist role.
    JC Penney hired Ellen because she is likeable and popular with their target consumer group of housewives. Not because she is gay. Ellen rarely to never talks about her homosexuality, but as you mention, hasn’t tried to hide it either. She is far from threatening as a role model for “gay activism”.
    I’m happy that JCP pushed back and made an example of what can happen when activist groups pick a bad fight. I don’t for a second believe that JCP would have gone this direction if it had not been for OMM. There will be Christians and other religious groups that will be offended by this “in your face” kind of ad- but the moderate middle is going to see this as OMM being “bitchslapped” for attacking a ridiculously likeable celebrity for something she has not made an issue of. Most of this moderate middle doesn’t think homosexuality is either good or bad- and most likely sees this “activism” (something that might otherwise cause them to backlash) as a humorous lesson for groups like OMM that take activism too far.

    As I alluded to in one of my comments on my post- I think OMM actually has their priorities straight on this (pun not intended). Ellen is the scariest kind of homosexual- the average kind. She is likeable, happy, charitable, gregarious, and not interested in making her sexuality a central issue. Making Dan Savage a corporate spokesperson would draw way more backlash- but his persona will do less for the public perception of gays than Ellens. The more people start to see gays as regular, ordinary people who are just like them (or better still, worthy of emulating), the less effective the religious campaign to paint gays as angry, activist, orgy-loving perverts is going to be.

    Ellen threatens the bubble that allows society to “other” homosexuals. Anti-gay activists don’t need to worry about Dan Savage, they need to worry about reality.

    • George,

      You may be right that Ellen’s “brand” of homosexuality is more “dangerous” for OMM’s cause, but if so, then they should be lobbying to get her off TV too. But like I said, she deserves to earn a living.

      Ellen for the most parts is not shoving her sexuality in our face, which is usually what we Christians are asking of homosexuals. You’d think she’d be applauded for that. I think sometimes Christians are not so good at picking their battles.

  7. Marshall Art says:

    “Most of this moderate middle doesn’t think homosexuality is either good or bad…”

    I totally doubt the the moderate middle is neutral on the issue. In fact, I would wager most of that middle has firm notions one way or the other, but what makes them the middle is that they are too lazy, selfish or cowardly to voice those concerns and instead take a “who cares” posture so as not to be bothered with the mature heavy lifting of dealing with morality and values.

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