Ellen Degeneres Controversy: JC Penney CEO Ron Johnson Defends New Spokesperson [Video]

For some strange reason there has been a lot of controversy surrounding JC Penney’s choice to hire Ellen Degeneres as its spokesperson. The openly gay talk show host spoke out against the anti-gay group “One Million Moms” yesterday on her show, and today JC Penney CEO Ron Johnson joined CBS News to cement the company’s support of Degeneres.

Johnson said:

“We don’t look at it like a controversy. One of the great things about America is people can speak their mind. And you know, the organization that believes one thing has spoken and it was great to see Ellen share her views yesterday… We stand squarely behind Ellen as our spokesperson… She shares the same values that we do in our company. Our company was founded 110 years ago on the golden rule, which is about treating people fair and square, just like you would like to be treated yourself. And we think Ellen represents the values of our company and the values that we share.”

Here’s the video from CBS.

Yesterday on her show, Ellen talked about the recent ruling on Prop 8 (the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional) and addressed the group “One Million Moms.” After “shocking” the audience be admitting that she was gay, pointing out that “One Million Moms” only has 40,000 members, and reading a few supporting messages she has received on Facebook, Ellen said:

“I really want to thank everyone who is supporting me. Here are the values I stand for. I stand for honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you’d want to be treated and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values. That’s what I stand for… I also believe in dance.”

Do you think J.C. Penny made the right move by choosing Ellen Degeneres as its spokesperson? The controversy has certainly drawn a lot of attention to the store and most of it seems to be good attention.

Is Ron Johnson right about this not being a controversy? People are free to speak their minds but Ellen and JC Penney don’t have to pay attention.

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