It’s fair to say the past few weeks have been tough for everyone. Of course the doctors, nurses, and essential workers are putting their lives on the line every day, but it’s also a tough time for celebrities. Some of them are totally alone in their mansions, with nothing to do but swim in their pools, or go to their in-home movie theaters, or go on Instagram Live and complain about being bored. As we’ve seen with instances like Gal Gadot’s ill-fated “Imagine” video, people are not really in the mood for celeb bullsh*t while they’re losing their jobs and trying not to get sick. Case in point: Ellen DeGeneres getting dragged for a tone-deaf joke on her show this week.
Like everyone else with a show, Ellen is making the most of the situation and broadcasting from her home, which you can probably guess is pretty f*cking nice. In her monologue uploaded to YouTube, Ellen tries to keep the quarantine mood light. The first couple minutes of this video (which has now been taken down) reminded me how funny Ellen can be—she jokes that this is the only room of her house that isn’t filled with toilet paper, and that Portia is her entire film crew.
But then, she gets to this part.
is Ellen DeGeneres the new Prison Mike? pic.twitter.com/0OXZO67Psn
— Betches (@betchesluvthis) April 8, 2020
If you can’t be bothered to watch videos with sound, Ellen says, “this is like being in jail, mainly because I’ve been wearing the same clothes for 10 days, and everyone in here is gay.” You can’t see my face right now, but I’m making the same expression as that one GIF of Chrissy Teigen. You know the one.
While I think the punchline of the joke is decent, it’s just not a good look for someone like Ellen DeGeneres to compare anything about her situation to being in jail. First, look at where she’s f*cking sitting. She’s in front of an entire wall of glass, that looks like it’s in front of a full jungle. Wherever she is, it’s nice as hell.
The jail comparison wouldn’t be a good take under normal circumstances, but it’s especially tone-deaf right now. Due to close quarters and questionable conditions, jails and prisons are seen as one of the most high-risk places to be during this pandemic. This week, the Federal Bureau of Prisons gave an update that “138 inmates and 59 employees have tested positive and at least seven inmates have died” due to COVID-19, and in the New York prison and parole system alone, over 300 employees and inmates have tested positive.
I think this tweet just about sums it up:
Can we all just agree jokes about jail/prison are just…bad? Putting humans in cages is not funny. Things that happen there are not funny. And anything you’re going through right now in your apartment (or your fucking mansion, Ellen) is not comparable.
— Shana Knizhnik (@shanakn) April 8, 2020
This was just one of many tweets slamming Ellen’s jail comment, which I’m assuming is why the video has been taken down from YouTube. Good thing we have screen recording! Obviously, Ellen is doing okay with her gorgeous house and hundreds of millions of dollars, but this has been a rough few weeks for her on social media. Last month, we broke down a viral Twitter thread in which hundreds of people shared their horror stories about Ellen being an asshole. You can read the article for the full breakdown, but I can’t resist sharing a few more of my favorites here.
My brother is a Wish kid. His wish was to be at the 12-days of Ellen, which was arranged.1 month before they cancelled because, “Ellen refuses to interact with disabled people.” Crushed his heart.
— Linzy Jamba (@ljamba) March 26, 2020
Oof. Obviously, Ellen has helped and given money to a lot of people on her show, but this isn’t the only story in the thread about her reportedly being cruel or dismissive to Make-a-Wish kids, or other people with disabilities. Who would do that?
Another friend of mine was a PA on her show and when Russell Brand came into the employee break area to chat with the crew and hang out, Ellen came in and got mad at him – saying he didn’t have to interact with these people, that’s why guests have their own area backstage.
— Josh Levesque (@JoshBLevesque) March 20, 2020
The Make-a-Wish anecdote was really sad, but this one is just ridiculous. Even if Ellen doesn’t like interacting with her own crew (still bad), why should she give a sh*t if her guests want to? Some people are actually just friendly—a wild concept!
Ellen scares people??? With the things they are notoriously afraid of?????Everyday???? On live TV????
— mcp (@meek_mollz) March 20, 2020
And finally, I don’t think we talk enough about this. Ellen DeGeneres absolutely loves scaring people. What is that all about? Like, I get a prank, or a little jump-scare, but this is next level. If you haven’t seen the video of Sarah Paulson literally hiding under a table to get away from a clown, please watch it now. This isn’t normal.
So basically, Ellen DeGeneres should probably stay off of Twitter right now, because her mentions aren’t exactly flooded with positivity. And we should all keep in mind that jokes about being in jail while quarantined are pretty much never a good idea. If you’re unsure, just don’t. You can’t afford to be getting canceled right now!
Images: David Crotty/Getty Images; betchesluvthis, shanakn, ljamba, joshblevesque, meek_mollz / Twitter