Ellen breaks silence on furor over J.C. Penney gig

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres said she was "proud and happy" that retail store J.C. Penney had stood by her in the face of a conservative anti-gay campaign, and said there was no such thing as a "pro-gay bandwagon."

Breaking her silence on the furor, DeGeneres, one of America's best known gay celebrities, also poked fun at the One Million Moms group who had urged J.C. Penney to drop her as a spokeswoman because she is a lesbian and said they would boycott the store.

"For those of you are just tuning in for the first time, it's true. I'm gay. I hope you were sitting down," DeGeneres told viewers of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."

"They (One Million Moms) wanted to get me fired and I am proud and happy to say that J.C. Penney stuck by their decision to make me their spokesperson," she said.

The group, a division of the socially conservative American Family Association, claimed that J.C. Penney was trying to gain a new target market by "jumping on the pro-gay bandwagon" with its hiring of DeGeneres to revamp their clothing and household brand.

"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," she said.

She also noted that the One Million Moms group "only have 40,000 members on their (Facebook) page. So they're rounding up to the nearest million and I get that."

DeGeneres, who has some 9 million followers on Twitter, said she preferred to avoid talking about such matters on her show "and normally I try not to pay attention to my haters, but this time I'd like to talk about it because my haters are my motivators."

DeGeneres made her comments at a taping on Tuesday for the show that will be broadcast on Wednesday.

(Reporting By Jill Serjeant. editing by Elaine Lies)


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