Ellen DeGeneres Fans Fight Anti-Gay Group Over JCPenney Gig

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Ellen DeGeneres poses with the Favorite Daytime TV Host Award backstage during the 2012 People's Choice Awards

An anti-gay group has launched a campaign to remove Ellen DeGeneres as JCPenney’s spokesperson because she’s “not a true representation of the type of families” who frequent the department store, according to the group’s website.

A project of the American Family Association, the group calls itself “One Million Moms” and has urged JCPenney to replace the openly gay spokesperson with someone who they think better represents traditional family values. According to the group’s mission statement, it seeks to convene like-minded mothers who are “fed up with the filth many segments of our society, especially the entertainment media, are throwing at our children.”

(MORE: Ellen DeGeneres on the Abuse of Gay Teens)

Soon after One Million Moms released its campaign, the pro-Ellen camp fired back. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Discrimination launched a “Stand Up for Ellen” website, encouraging supporters to sign a petition to keep DeGeneres as JCPenney’s spokesperson and applaud the company for hiring her. Many have also rallied behind the cause on Twitter with the hashtag #StandUpForEllen.

The partnership with DeGeneres is part of JCPenney’s comprehensive business model overhaul, which includes a new logo, altered prices and revamped branding strategies. The company’s new CEO, former Apple executive Ron Johnson, explained the reasoning behind hiring DeGeneres who, incidentally, was once a JCPenney sales clerk. “I think Ellen is someone we all trust. She’s loveable, likeable, honest and funny, but at her soul, we trust her,” he told the Associated Press.

Though it’s unclear how many people are actually behind the “One Million Moms” anti-Ellen movement, the pro-Ellen petition boasts nearly 25,000 signatures.

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