GLAAD 'Stands Up For Ellen DeGeneres' after Designated Hate Group Demands J.C. Penney Fire Her

February 1, 2012

Rich Ferraro
Director of Communications, GLAAD
(646) 871-8011

UPDATE, February 2, 2012: Over 15,000 people have joined GLAAD’s call by contacting J.C. Penney to express their support of Ellen DeGeneres. Additionally, in an ongoing poll being conducted by The Los Angeles Times, over 96% of readers agree that Ellen should remain as J.C. Penney’s spokesperson, calling her “a symbol of equality.” GLAAD has released a list of the 29 states where it is legal to fire someone for being gay and the 34 where it is legal to fire someone for being transgender here.

New York, NY, February 1, 2012 - GLAAD, the nation's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, today called on community members and allies to stand up for Ellen DeGeneres and tell J.C. Penney that the company made the right choice in selecting her as its new spokesperson.

The call for support comes after a group known as ", a Project of the American Family Association" -- an organization designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) -- told its supporters to call J.C. Penney and demand that the company replace Ellen as its new spokesperson because she is openly gay. According to SPLC, "hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics."

GLAAD launched an online action for fans and community members to stand up for Ellen and thank J.C. Penney:

Sites including Joe My God, Think Progress, Lez Get Real and Towleroad broke the news and are also calling on readers to voice support for J.C. Penney.

“While designated hate groups try to start ‘culture wars,’ it’s clear that a vast majority of Americans today support Ellen as well as their LGBT friends and family members,” said Herndon Graddick, Senior Director of Programs and Communications at GLAAD. “Selecting an out performer who has inspired and entertained millions, is not only a smart business practice, but a reflection of how LGBT Americans today are an integral and valued part of the fabric of our culture.”

A 2011 Gallup poll showed that 53% of Americans support marriage equality, and data continues to reflect an American public that wants to ensure that all loving couples are able to marry, regardless of sexual orientation.

In announcing Ellen via press release on January 25, the company's President Michael Francis noted: "We share the same fundamental values as Ellen. At jcpenney, we couldn't think of a better partner to help us put the fun back into the retail experience."

Among her many accolades, Ellen received the People's Choice Award for Favorite Daytime TV Host earlier this month. She has also served as a spokesperson for American Express and COVERGIRL makeup, among others.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show is nominated for a GLAAD Media Award this year for Outstanding Talk Show Episode. Previously, Ellen received the Stephen F. Kolzak Award at the 1998 GLAAD Media Awards for her work to promote equality.