Talk about an unlikely ally, conservative pundit Bill O’Reilly has come to Ellen DeGeneres’ defense in the backlash against her JCPenney deal.
O’Reilly defended the openly gay talk host against the conservative group One Million Moms, which is organizing a boycott against JCPenney for hiring DeGeneres as as spokeswoman.
“This JCPenney thing is a witchhunt and shouldn’t happen,” O’Reilly said on his show Tuesday night, comparing One Million Moms’ boycott to the McCarthy era’s hunt for communist sympathizers.
“What is the difference between the McCarthy era of the ’50s and the Million Moms saying, ‘Hey, JCPenney and all you other stores, don’t you hire gay people. Don’t you dare.’ What’s the difference?” O’Reilly railed.
In an episode of her daytime talk show airing Wednesday, DeGeneres hailed a federal appeals court’s decision Tuesday declaring California’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional, calling it a “step in the right direction.” She then brought up the group One Million Moms and its criticism of her JCPenney deal. She said, “I’d like to talk about it because my haters are my motivators.”
DeGeneres says of the group, which recently claimed that JCPenney will lose sales because it hired the openly-gay comedienne as its brand ambassador, “They wanted to get me fired, and I’m proud and happy to say that JCPenney stuck by their decision to make me their spokesperson. Which is great news for me because I also need some new crew socks. I’m really going to clean up with this discount.”
Reading from a statement in which One Million Moms accused JCPenney of jumping on the “pro-gay bandwagon,” DeGeneres says, “Being gay or pro-gay isn’t a bandwagon. You don’t get a free ride anywhere. There’s no music. And occasionally we’ll sing ‘We Are Family’ but that’s about it.”
DeGeneres then disputes the notion that JCPenney is losing customers because of the hire, pointing to supportive comments written by people on One Million Moms’ Facebook page. She says, “I usually don’t talk about stuff like this on my show but 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.”
A preview clip of DeGeneres’ comments has been posted on E! Online.