Two bloggers have initiated a social media campaign promoting a “shop-in” at JCPenney this Sunday, Feb. 12, to support the retailer’s partnering with Ellen DeGeneres. It is meant to counter public criticism and pressure to end the partnership by One Million Moms, a conservative advocacy group opposed to having an openly gay person represent JCPenney.
Tracey Gaughran-Perez, 41, who blogs about motherhood at sweetney.com and babble.com, described the shop-in in parenting terms: “One Million Moms is like a bully trying to get JCPenney to sever ties with Ellen because she’s gay. What we’re doing is like parents coming together and standing up against bullies.” (ABC News and babble.com are owned by Disney.)
The JCPenney Shop-In Facebook page encourages people to shop at JCPenney, in a store or online, to take a photo of themselves while shopping and to post the photo on Facebook, Twitter or anywhere online, including the hashtag #jcpshopin. Since the page went up on Thursday, 885 people listed themselves as “going,” and 4,648 people have been invited. There were 76 “maybes.”
The campaign epitomizes using social media for social causes, a growing aspect of parent blogs, said Doug French, 46, blogger at Laid-Off Dad and organizer of the Dad 2.0 Summit. French and 55 other dad bloggers raised $20,000 for men’s cancer organizations last fall by participating in “Movember,” a male counterpart to breast cancer awareness month.
French said he was happy to join none other than Bill O’Reilly in saying, as French put it, “You can’t just get rid of someone over their sexual orientation,” particularly as JCPenney was one of the companies that in 1997 pulled ads from “Ellen” after DeGeneres famously came out as gay on the show.
Kate Coultas, corporate communications senior manager at JCPenney, said in an email, “Standing with our partner Ellen DeGeneres – a person who is renowned for her honesty, integrity, kindness and humor – has been a privilege for all of us at jcpenney. We appreciate all of the kind words and actions in support of our decision.”
One Million Moms did not respond to requests for comment.