he image: JCPenney is charging into the debate over gay rights — again — with a Father's Day ad featuring a same-sex couple laughing and playing with their children. (See the full ad below.) The spread is an apparent response to a boycott launched by the group One Million Moms, which is closely associated with the conservative American Family Association. In February, the group tried to steer customers away from JCPenney after the retailer started running ads featuring talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres, who is openly gay. JCPenney stuck with DeGeneres, calling her a "perfect" spokesperson because people trust her and she has "extraordinary values." Now the retail chain is doubling down with the new ad, titled "First Pals." It features real-life dads Todd Koch and Cooper Smith with their kids, Clair and Mason. The text reads: "What makes Dad so cool? He's the swim coach, tent maker, best friend, bike fixer and hug giver — all rolled into one. Or two."
The reaction: "When did JCPenney get so cool?" asks Shawna Cohen at Mommyish. First it smacks down One Million Moms for attacking Ellen, and now this! JCPenney is still "hardly my number one destination for fashion, but I'm loving what they stand for these days." But JCPenney will pay for this at the cash register, warns One Million Moms in a statement. "It's obvious that JCP would rather take sides than remain neutral in the culture war." Please, pay no attention to this entirely predictable "right-wing freakout," says Julia Gerstein at The Frisky. Shining a spotlight on two "real-life, honest-to-goodness gay dads" was the perfect way for JCPenney to flaunt its "awesome support of same-sex couples." Judge for yourself:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Who are the real gay marriage bigots?
- Watch The Daily Show mock Fox News' confused man-crush on Vladimir Putin
- Why is American internet so slow?
- Don't worry: World War III will almost certainly never happen
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
- How to take the perfect profile picture for online dating, according to science
- Religious liberty should be a liberal value, too
- 10 things you need to know today: March 7, 2014
- The end of academic freedom?
Subscribe to the Week