jcpenney CEO on Ellen DeGeneres controversy

Ron Johnson and Ellen DeGeneres
Ron Johnson and Ellen DeGeneres

jcpenney is trying to rebuild its customer base with help from a new spokeswoman, Ellen DeGeneres.

But a group called One Million Moms is accusing the company of "jumping on the pro-gay bandwagon."

DeGeneres responded to the group on her TV show Wednesday, saying, "I'm happy about (being the spokesperson), jcpenney is happy about it. But there's this group called One Million Moms that is not happy about it. 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. This organization doesn't think I should be the spokesperson because I am gay. So for those of you tuning in for the first time, I'm gay. I hope you were sitting down. ... So 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."

In a statement last week, jcpenney said it stands behind its partnership the talk show host.

On "CBS This Morning," Thursday, jcpenney chief executive officer Ron Johnson, said the company "shares the same values" as DeGeneres and that the decision to have her as a spokesperson was a "no-brainer."

"We don't look at it like a controversy. One of the great things about America is people can speak their mind. And you know, the organization that believes one thing has spoken and it was great to see Ellen share her views yesterday. 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. Our company was founded 110 years ago on The Golden Rule, which is about treating people fair and square, just like you would like to be treated yourself. And we think Ellen represents the values of our company and the values that we share."

For more with Johnson on the spokesperson controversy, how jcpenney is trying to reach its customers with a focus on everyday low prices and how Steve Jobs influenced Johnson's thinking on retail, watch the video in the player above.

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