Ellen DeGeneres: Why JC Penney Is Right And OMM Is Wrong

By Mack Rawden 2012-02-04 18:17:59
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Earlier this week, One Million Moms released a statement calling for JC Penney to fire new spokeswoman Ellen DeGeneres. Apart from being absurdly homophobic, the press release was also hilariously presumptive and thankfully, not effective in the least. Yesterday, the retailer decided to stay with its recent hire and vowed to continue the partnership into the foreseeable future.

In a logical world, that would have been the end of the line. One Million Moms, having discerned it had no chance to change the companyís mind, would have moved on to another target that was perhaps a bit more prone to caving under the weight of phone calls, and JC Penney would have moved forward having decided to change nothing. Unfortunately, we donít live in a logical world, and One Million Moms isnít ready to stop battling. The organization released another statement today urging its members to boycott and taking the retailer to task for ignoring its demands.

Iíve seen a lot of ill-advised protests in my day, but this one is particularly offensive. Dripping of holier-than-thou opinions and heavy on illogical assumptions, it personally offends me and should personally offend any sensible person, regardless of political affiliations or religious beliefs. Hereís the steaming pile of hate in its entirety, broken up into chunks with my own comments insertedÖ
OMM began contacting JC Penney after the store announced that comedian Ellen Degeneres would become the company's new spokesperson. Funny that JC Penney thinks hiring an open homosexual spokesperson will help their business when most of its customers are traditional families.

The majority of shoppers are ďtraditional familiesĒ, huh? Recent studies have shown more than forty percent of all children are born to unmarried mothers. Thereís also an estimated eight million kids living in the same house as their grandparents and millions more who have at least one gay parent. Throw in a divorce rate hovering somewhere between forty and fifty percent, and the idea of what constitutes a ďtraditional familyĒ becomes a whole lot murkier. I would imagine OMM would define a traditional family as a man and woman who dated for awhile, got married without cohabitating, had children at least nine months after the ceremony and stayed together. JC Penney, unfortunately, doesnít offer such specific breakdowns of its shoppers, but I highly doubt more than fifty percent live up to that standard.
As consumers, what we find tragic is a corporate office and customer service department that not only transfers customers to voicemail, but even hangs up on them rather than verses hearing their concerns.

Hereís what the One Million Moms says under the frequently asked questions section of its own website concerning why it doesnít answer all emails:
OneMillionMoms get thousands of great suggestions each day. It is impossible to respond to each one personally, and to address each issue. However, please be assured each submission is personally read by OneMillionMoms staff.
Itís impossible to respond, eh? I wonder how that problem relates to JC Penney using voicemail to handle thousands of calls asking for Ellen DeGeneres to be fired.
It is absurd to think that a company would find treating customers in this fashion an acceptable behavior. Our members stated their concerns in a kind, professional manner. Insulting customers by ignoring us will not be tolerated.

Awesome. I canít wait until OMM changes its own policy.
OMM members can shop elsewhere if JC Penney does not appreciate our business.

This is a fact. People are allowed to make their own decisions on where to shop, just as they are allowed to make their own decisions concerning who to love. I applaud One Million Moms for having such a can-do attitude.
Unless JC Penney decides to be neutral in the culture war and listen to customers in a considerate fashion, their brand transformation will be unsuccessful.

This argument makes no sense whatsoever. Essentially, One Million Moms is asking JC Penney remain neutral by firing its spokeswoman. Thatís not neutral at all. In fact, itís the exact opposite. By firing someone simply based on sexual preference, a company is inherently choosing a side.
Degeneres is not a true representation of the type of families who shop at the retailer.

No, sheís not. Ellen is in the minority, as are black dudes, women with three or more cats, school teachers, Eskimos, circus performers, small business owners, celebrities, professional athletes and people who think Arbyís is the best fast food establishment. Everyone in the world is a minority when viewed at the right angle. No one person can ever truly represent anything except him or herself.
The small percentage of customers they are attempting to satisfy will not offset their loss in sales by offending the majority.

Iím pretty sure an overwhelming majority of people could not care less who JC Penneyís spokesperson is. I can say that with reasonable confidence too because the majority of people really donít care about most things. Ellenís presence wonít alter prices in any way, and her impact really wonít be felt by most shoppers. I highly doubt most people will even notice. Before Ellen was hired by American Idol, their Tuesday performance hour was the highest rated show on television, and after she came on board, it was still the highest rated show on television.
Since JC Penney won't listen to us nationally, it is time we let them hear from us locally!

Iím not going to ask you to call JC Penney and ask they keep Ellen on. The company has already vowed to do as much, and I choose to believe them. What I want you to do is something a whole lot simpler. If your friends start talking about this whole fiasco, just tell them you support Ellen. Tell them you support companies hiring people regardless of their sexual orientation. Tell them acceptance is a better policy than condemnation. Tell them life is too short to waste time pointing fingers. Groups like One Million Moms might scream louder, but that doesnít mean their voices should be heard over hundreds of millions of loving and rational people speaking at normal volumes.
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