The LGBT community criticised the comedian for associating with the former president who has a dismal record on gay rights
Ellen DeGeneres typically kicks off her show with a set of jokes. Yesterday, she took a different approach.
The 61-year-old comedian responded to online criticism brewing over her hanging out with former president George W Bush at a Dallas Cowboys football game on Sunday. Critics who are predominantly part of the LGBT community derided DeGeneres for getting close to a president who actively stood against the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Multiple photos and clips were uploaded online showing the comedian and former president talking and laughing during the football game. The two sat in exclusive suite seats. (Ellen later clarified she was invited by the Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones, and did not know Bush would be in attendance beforehand.)
The pushback was swift. LGBT publications voiced their anger at Ellen calling Bush a friend.
When it comes to Bush, were not talking about someone who released a book of remorse or went on a press tour where he repeatedly apologized to us (or the Iraqi people), the Advocate wrote. Unlike DeGeneres, I refuse to grade presidents on a curve.
Out Magazine voiced similar disapproval: Ellen DeGeneres laughing it up with someone who has actively tried to harm our community feels disappointing, irresponsible, and dangerous.
Ellen chose to explain her actions, but not apologize for them.
Heres the thing, DeGeneres said at the start of her show, Im friends with George Bush. In fact, Im friends with a lot of people who dont share the same beliefs that I have. Were all different. And I think that weve forgotten that thats OK that were all different.
George W Bush had a dismal record on LGBT rights during his presidency and his administration did little to add protections for the community. In 2004, he came out in support of a proposed constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage. He was also against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which proposed federal legislation that would have prohibited firing someone because of their sexuality or gender identity.
Many people from the LGBT community have grown increasingly critical of DeGeneress actions. She was the subject of numerous think-pieces and angry tweets after she invited Kevin Hart on her show to apologize for controversial jokes he made about beating up his son for displaying effeminate behavior. Many saw the invitation as Ellen putting her celebrity status before her LGBT identity.
Ellen re-emphasized her guiding philosophy on her show yesterday. A philosophy that stands in stark opposition to todays cancel-everything zeitgeist.
When I say, Be kind to one another, I dont mean only the people who think the same way that you do, the talk show host clarified. I mean be kind to everyone. Doesnt matter.