Hero of the Week Award: February 10, JCPenney

10 Feb

Hero of the Week

What a pleasure to see a corporation earning Hero of the Week instead of Bigot for a change. For TSM, it’s also a bit surprising that the company is JCPenney. This retail chain has made some bad decisions in the past, but seems determined to make amends and move forward as a more humane company. In an effort to rebrand themselves and become more relevant in the American retail market, JCPenney brought on new CEO Ron Johnson last November. He helped revolutionize electronics marketing with the Apple Store during his ten years with that company. His goal is to make sure that JCPenney resonates with what he calls “true American values”: fair play and the golden rule.

In a move to support that effort, he sought out a corporate spokesperson and eventually hired Ellen DeGeneres. The maniacal  mob known as One Million Moms protested that a “family company” would not dare to use a lesbian spokesperson. Ellen spoke out on her show, laughing at the organization and defending JCPenney. CEO Ron Johnson appeared on CBS This Morning and aggressively defended both the partnership and Ellen. Saying that she “perfectly represents the values of America and JCPenney” he acknowledged the right of any person or group to speak their mind and the right of everyone else to ignore them. Stressing that he felt that Ellen interviewed JCPenney far more than they interviewed her, he was grateful that she agreed to come aboard and called her the “perfect person.” He even went so far as to say that he had “no doubts or regrets whatsoever.”

For the balance of the interview, Johnson discussed the rebranding of JCPenney as a friendly and fair company. One impressive move is his determination to end so-called Black Friday sales and hours since they are unfair to workers. “A store should be  part of someone’s life, not consume it,” he said, further indicating that he thinks that to be true for customers and employees both. Bravo to Ellen, Ron Johnson, and JCPenney. Let’s hope their efforts to make in-person retailing more human and humane are rewarded.  Not only will I have to start spending my money at JCPenney, but maybe the bigoted Rick Santorum needs to realize what the fabric of America looks like!

5 Responses to “Hero of the Week Award: February 10, JCPenney”

  1. jenny February 10, 2012 at 7:54 am #

    thanks for this piece, michael 🙂 it always cracks me up when people say that someone is not suited for something if they are gay–oh, no! a lesbian can’t be a spokes person for jcp! why the hell not? she wears clothes and makes her bed, right? whatever. just because their spokesperson is gay doesn’t mean that anyone who shops there is going to become gay–that’s what tthe million moms afraid of, you know. that contagious gay agenda 😉 what’s so very hilarious to me is that, statistically, many of those million moms have gay loved ones…they just either don’t know it or are in denial 😀

    anyhoo–i’m glad to hear that the new guy at jcp hates black friday sales as much as i do. i have never and will never shop on a so called “black friday” because i think they are unfair to the employees. they want holiday time with their families, too and shouldn’t have to choose between selling me something for cheap and hanging out with their kids.
    have a great day! 🙂

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt February 10, 2012 at 7:57 am #

      Jenny, thank you for inspiring me to write this story! You are a tremendous friend and ally of LGBT folk.

  2. thirdworldliberator February 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

    It’s too bad stories like these don’t make the headlines. Who would’ve thought that JCPenny would have such progressive leadership? I think Ellen was a wise choice because she seems like such a regular person. Not like all of those other crazy celebrities on American television. Her sexuality should not be an issue because she doesn’t have an agenda to flaunt it to the public. So the extremist arguments against her are irrelevant. And the Black Friday decision is a very humanistic decision from corporations that are often ignore such subjects and only concerned with profiteering. I never go shopping on Black Friday because I don’t want to get trampled to death by ferocious wage-earners trying to save a few dollars. It really isn’t worth it at all. I wholly commend JCPenny for taking public stances few corporations are willing to risk, and agree with the award of hero of the week.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt February 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

      Fantastic comment! You are absolutely right in all of your observations. I know JCPenney’s has a new CEO and is taking the company in a whole new direction. I wish more people like you would chime in–you may need to think about running for political office.


  1. Hero of the Week Award: March 2, Archie Comics | Fast Fails | The Best Fail Channels - March 2, 2012

    […] project noted the presence of Life With Archie #16 in Toys ‘R’ Us stores and started another boycott attempt. The extremist hate group objected to the presence of a loving same-sex couple on the cover […]

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