It's been 15 years since Ellen DeGeneres famously came out on her ABC sitcom and on the cover of Time Magazine and nine years since the debut of her popular daytime talk show.
But the Emmy winner remains a controversial figure to some, including a group called OneMillionMoms.com which is calling on JC Penney to replace DeGeneres as their new spokesperson.
'Funny that JC Penney thinks hiring an open homosexual spokesperson will help their business when most of their customers are traditional families,' the group states on its website. 'More sales will be lost than gained unless they replace their spokesperson quickly. Unless JC Penney decides to be neutral in the culture war then their brand transformation will be unsuccessful.'
OneMillionMoms.com is an online activism campaign which states its purpose as giving mothers an impact with entertainment media decision-makers. They have previously targeted Macys for a "two groom" advertisement and sponsors of the ABC sitcom Modern Family which features a gay couple.
Ironically, JC Penney was one of the companies that pulled its advertising from The Ellen Show back in 1997 when the character and the star came out. Now they are looking to DeGeneres to be the face of their brand.
'We share the same fundamental values as Ellen,' JC Penney President Michael Francis said in a statement announcing the deal. 'At JC Penney, we couldn’t think of a better partner to help us put the fun back into the retail experience. Moving forward, we’ll be focused on being in sync with the rhythm of our customers’ lives and operating in a ‘Fair and Square’ manner that is rooted in integrity, simplicity and respect. We’re thrilled that she’s joining our team to help convey the exciting transformation under way.'