From Wal-Mart to J.C. Penney, Retailers Reflect Shifting U.S. Views on Gay Rights
Three years after J.C. Penney was boycotted by opponents of LGBT rights, retailers have embraced the Supreme Court’s ruling for same-sex marriage. Amazing how quickly things can change. Just three years ago, J.C. Penney found itself embroiled in controversy when it featured gay couples in its new glossy mail-outs, part of its failed strategy under former CEO Ron Johnson to modernize the department store and help it connect with younger and hipper shoppers. Instead of winning new shoppers, Penney found itself in the crosshairs of anti-gay marriage groups, notably the National Organization for Marriage, who led a boycott of the retailer. That wasn’t why Penney’s reinvention ultimately failed, but at the time, revenue was in free fall, and the company could scarcely afford to lose any business. Penney eventually backtracked, sticking to more traditional depictions of domestic bliss in its fliers, and dumping lesbian TV personality Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesperson.