DeGeneres closes her show with another another moment in which the stakes are significantly higher for LGBTQ+ persons.
People began to pay more attention to how DeGeneres exploited her celebrity to cover up the mistakes of other public figures. One of the most well-known was the position she took on her show in 2019 when Kevin Hart declined to host the Oscars that year rather than apologize for a series of homophobic remarks that surfaced again.
DeGeneres called Hart onto her show and told the world that she had forgiven him “as a homosexual person,” before pleading with the Academy to reinstate him as host.
In the Los Angeles Times, Matt Brennan offered a fantastic study of Ellen DeGeneres’ rise and fall, in which he argues why this moment “may be more startling for what it says about DeGeneres than what it says about Hart”:
The talk-show host’s defense of her guest depended not on his decency, regret, or even their relationship, but on… his portrayal in the movie ‘The Upside,’ which she slipped between performance and personality with amazing, even hilarious alacrity.
… To confuse a fellow celebrity’s role in a $100 million tearjerker with moral rectitude is a uniquely Hollywood sort of category error; it’s as if DeGeneres’ promotional interview muscle memory couldn’t adjust to the demands of the moment.
Three years later, DeGeneres wraps up her program at a time when the stakes for LGBTQ+ individuals have never been higher. Unfortunately, by reasoning her way out of speaking out against the rising tide of anti-gay discrimination, she gives the idea that she is standing with the famous and powerful against those who would benefit from a significant act of kindness.
DeGeneres says she wants to take a break before doing something else, but she’s not sure what that something is. Aniston encourages her to return to live stand-up comedy, a large and diverse field that contains transphobic jokes in some corners. In his new Netflix special, Ricky Gervais agrees with her on Hart “He begins by explaining that no one should take him seriously before launching into a barrage of gags about “the new ladies… the ones with beards and cocks.” They’re worth their weight in gold; I adore them!”
Anyone who condemns jokes about transgender people, he believes, is virtue signaling, “trying to tear people down in order to elevate their own status.”
Gervais, who has hosted the Golden Globes several times, and Dave Chappelle, whose Netflix special “The Closer” made news for its transphobic humor and sparked a Netflix employee walkout, both have a sizable fan base. After that, Chappelle doubled down, riffing that his assailant was “a trans dude” after being assaulted on stage. (The suspect, on the other hand, isn’t.)
In his new show, Gervais outlines the topics about which he makes jokes, including “AIDS, famine, cancer, the Holocaust, rape, pedophilia… but there’s one thing you can’t make a joke about: identification. The topic of transgender people should never be joked about. They simply want to be treated the same as everyone else. I concur! It is for this reason that I have included them.”
What a generous person. Except for the reality that the transgender community is being attacked in a violent manner. Perhaps Gervais was unaware of new laws in Idaho and Alabama criminalizing gender-affirming health care for transgender children, as well as a Texas law requiring medical professionals and teachers to report parents who assist their children in receiving such care to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). Bill Maher, on the other hand, is.
Maher went on a nine-minute, 21-second anti-trans tirade on an episode of his HBO series “Real Time” less than a week ago, scoffing at the idea of gender-affirming medical care for youngsters who identify as transgender, stating that some kids are claiming to be trans because it’s “trendy.”
When people point out that not everyone they’re laughing about has equal authority, comics adore the equal opportunity offender argument. There are entire corporate apparatuses dedicated to eradicating AIDS, famine elimination, and cancer research; there are able comedians who have proved that it is possible to joke about these topics, as well as rape and worse, without demeaning people.
If a performer is unable to do so, they can at the very least use their platform to give voice to those who are suffering rather than repackaging the terms used against them as jokes.
Relationships and sexual orientation
DeGeneres came out as a lesbian in 1997. The revelation of her sexual orientation piqued American tabloids’ curiosity. Her professional career was hampered by the contentiousness of the media coverage, which left her “mired in sadness.”
Betty DeGeneres admits being astonished when her daughter Ellen came out in her book Love, Ellen, but she has since been one of her most ardent supporters; she is also a member of PFLAG and a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign’s Coming Out Project.
DeGeneres began a love relationship with actress Anne Heche the same year she came out, which lasted until August 2000. DeGeneres had a long-term relationship with photographer Alexandra Hedison from 2000 to 2004. The couple was featured on the cover of The Advocate after their divorce had already been publicized.
DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi have been dating since 2004. DeGeneres and de Rossi were engaged and married in August 2008 at their home in Beverly Hills, California, where they live with their four dogs and three cats, following the repeal of California’s same-sex marriage law.
Proposition 8 placed question on their marriage’s legal validity, but a subsequent California Supreme Court ruling upheld it because it took place before November 4, 2008. De Rossi filed a petition to legally alter her name to Portia Lee James DeGeneres on August 6, 2010. On September 23, 2010, the petition was approved.