JC Penney’s Gay Friendly CEO Steps Down
Anti-gay activists may be pleased to learn that JC Penney CEO Ron Johnson stepped down this week. Johnson was fired after the company’s stock value dropped by 50 percent while he was in charge. Though many sources point out that Johnson was let go because he failed to fix the clothing company’s financial problem, it’s not surprising that anti-gay groups like One Million Moms are already claiming that it was their boycotts that brought down JC Penney’s sales.
According to MSNBC, despite Johnson’s attempts to revise the JC Penney’s marketing, the company’s board "grew restless and perhaps rebellious and the end, cutting Johnson’s 2012 pay by some 97 percent in a display of dissatisfaction." During his final weeks, the CEO was plagued with a legal battle with Macy’s over who had the right to sell Martha Stewart-branded products.
Johnson’s predecessor, Myron Ullman, will replace him. Investors lauded the move by bringing up share prices more than 12 percent on Monday. Later on, however, shares fell back to an 8 percent loss.
Investors aren’t the only ones happy about Johnson’s departure. Last year, One Million Moms, an offshoot of the American Family Association, launched a boycott against JC Penney after the company’s officials announced that Ellen DeGeneres would be its spokeswoman. One Million Moms urged its supporters to call the company and insist the out-lesbian comedian be fired.
"Funny that JC Penney thinks hiring an open homosexual spokesperson will help their business when most of their customers are traditional families," the organization wrote on their website. "DeGeneres is not a true representation of the type of families that shop at their store. The majority of JC Penney shoppers will be offended and choose to no longer shop there."
Johnson Stands Strong
Despite the backlash, Johnson stood by DeGeneres and told CBS last year, "One of the great things about America is people can speak their mind. And we stand squarely behind Ellen as our spokesperson and that’s a great thing. Because she shares the same values that we do in our company."
Not long after the boycott, however, officials from OMM waved a white flag and announced that they would no longer focus on getting DeGeneres fired and decided to move on to other issues.
"But we have heard back from so many of our members," Monica Cole said. "We have heard back from men and women -- not just moms -- saying they will no longer shop there at JC Penney, as long as Ellen DeGeneres is their spokesperson."
JC Penney again came under fire by the religious right when it put two dads in its Father’s Day ad. The ad’s text read, What makes Dad so cool? He’s the swim coach, tent maker, best friend, bike fixer and hug giver - all rolled into one. Or two." The photo shows real-life dads Todd Koch and Cooper Smith with their kids.
OMM was upset over the image and fired off a statement condemning JC Penney yet again.
"It’s obvious that JCP would rather take sides than remain neutral in the culture war," OMM writes. "JCP will hear from the other side, so they need to hear from us as well. Our persistence will pay off! One day we will answer for our actions or lack of them. We must remain diligent and stand up for Biblical values and truth. Scripture says multiple times that homosexuality is wrong, and God will not tolerate this sinful nature."
With the recent news of Johnson’s resignation, it would not be a surprise if OMM and other anti-gay groups made "we told you so" statements. Already, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, tweeted, "After intentionally snubbing shoppers with traditional values, it’s not a huge surprise that JCP is struggling."
When the ultra-conservative website Free Republic reported the story, several of its users were pleased to learn that Johnson would be stepping down.
"Too little, too late unless they totally re-brand in the next week or so and go back to the family-friendly store they were," one user wrote. "Too late. The brand has been tainted and thus the company is toast," another said.
"His leaving is great news....and yes coupons are coming back...sales...etc...now if they just get rid of Ellen D...I’d feel much better," one reader wrote.