O'Reilly Defends Ellen DeGeneres
In February 2012, Bill O'Reilly surprised fans and critics alike when he threw his support behind talk show host and popular gay rights activist Ellen DeGeneres as she battled the radical conservative group One Million Moms. After JC Penney named Ellen a spokesperson, the group organized a boycott of the retailer. They released a statement that the boycott "isn't about Ellen DeGeneres, but it's about mainstreaming something that is not acceptable to Christian and traditional family people."
As the story made headlines, Bill O'Reilly took to the airwaves to defend DeGeneres, saying it was wrong for any group to demand that a company fire a spokesperson who hasn't done anything wrong. Period. O'Reilly came at the story from the angle of a business person, who believes it goes against the "spirit of America." Indeed. Not only that, O'Reilly shot down the One Million Moms' stance that it "isn't about Ellen DeGeneres," saying:
But it is about Ellen DeGeneres, and this is where we run into a problem. If you remember with the McCarthy era of the 1950s, they were trying to hunt down Communist sympathizers and not let them work and put them on a blacklist… What is the difference between the McCarthy era Communist blacklist in the ‘50s and the Million Moms saying, ‘Hey, J.C. Penney and all you other stores, don’t you hire any gay people. Don’t you dare.’ What is the difference?
O'Reilly also noted that "This JC Penney thing is a witch hunt and it shouldn't happen."
Now here's where things got even more surprising: Ellen DeGeneres actually thanked O'Reilly for his support on her show, saying:
I already sent you out a Tweet to thank you … You didn't really make it clear if you were going to shop at JC Penney or not, but if you do, you can use my employee discount any time you want. That's for you Bill. Thank you so much.