I just learned that Ellen DeGeneres is in the news again. I learned this by my editor asking me if I had a take on all of it. I had to google what "it" was, because quite frankly, I have no strong feelings about anything involving Ellen because I've had a day job for the past 20 years. I've seen maybe an hour of her show, cumulatively in my entire life. Her existence, one way or another, bears absolutely no impact on my life. I'm not going to say, "Sorry, but not sorry," because truth be told, I have absolutely nothing to be sorry for. And if you want an honest take on all of the Ellen drama, this is all just a weird hypocritical hate-on we developed for the lady because, honestly, I don't know why. I've gone through this summary of Ellen's fall from grace, and I seriously don't get it.
First off, apparently what got under everyone's craw was that Ellen isn't as nice as she pretends to be on television. Well, no shit. I'm sorry, what's the problem here? A daytime TV host best known for entertaining the captive audience of dentist's waiting rooms isn't that saccharine sweet when the cameras are off? It's literally her job to be nice on camera. Slap me down an eight figure a year salary and I'll dance the floor with kids who say the darndest things and fawn over the vacuous lives of celebrities who are telling the same story they've told 50 times as they promote their latest direct to streaming movie co-starring post-peak Channing Tatum. And the second that camera turns off I'll march my ass straight to my dressing room and god help the stage hand that's distracted by DMing one of the soulless wraiths at TMZ a hot insider tip who accidentally knocks my drink out of my hand.
Don't lie and say you wouldn't become a grouchy entitled celebrity either when everywhere you go people expect you to have a Stepford smile and ambushes you for a selfie as you dash to the bathroom because the Lactaid isn't working anymore.
You seriously can't get mad at her for not being as nice in real life as she pretends to be. You're not as nice in real life as you pretend to be. Oh I'm sure you were totally going to go to Kelly's baby shower, but your grandmother who's been dead since the Clinton administration really needed you to go shopping for her that day. Also, Kyle, I really can't tell that you got hair plugs, it looks so natural. No Mrs. Thornton, it's okay, I don't mind accidentally stepping in your precious little Yorkie's crap on my lawn, what's that? Sure I'll bring your garbage cans in, you miserable old bat.
Besides, we absolutely love watching famous people be shitty to each other, and we'll "YAAAAAS QWEEEN," all damn day to it if the person doing it is the one we already like. There's an army of entitled, insufferable divas of all races and genders we turn into .gifs because they throw a shit eating grin to the cameras as they verbally reach right into people's chest and rip out their beating hearts. Oh, you think that attitude is just an act? Ask the production assistant they made cry for using Evian instead of Fiji water because they were all out. Bitch, its water.
Oh, she forgave Kevin Hart for his homophobic comments and dismissed you guys as haters? My dude, we forgive people for their homophobic, racist, sexist, transphobic shit all the time. All. The. Time. Hypocrisy, thanks to the internet, is not only dead, but the Saudis are pumping its rotted corpse out of the ground and selling it for $40 bucks a barrel. We've given so many crappy celebrities, politicians, friends, and family members a pass because we "simp" for them (cause capeing is so 2017). The fact that folks simp for Nicki Minaj, who said "Y'all can't run my life, Y'all can't even run y'all own life," when she started dating a registered sex offender because she hops on Twitter, pays people's student loans and has political opinions you love, just tells me that way too many of y'all can be bought. Cheaply.
And yes, your outrage is very selective. Like, yeah, Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel have done Blackface. Well guess what. So has Ted Danson. Yes, dear sweet Ted Danson from The Good Place. Not just wearing brown makeup, but full on minstrel show with top hat and gloves, and he used the n word while doing it. Have fun dealing with that kiddos or are you gonna try what you learned during your Groupon yoga classes to contort yourself into forgiveness because The Good Place was so funny?
Ellen had a picture with George W, Bush smiling and being friendly, and he's a horrible war criminal and a racist? Is that why you didn't post those pictures with your redneck veteran cousins from Christmas to your Instagram? You looked like you were having such a good time in them, though.
Oh, she was out of touch about the coronavirus by comparing it to being in jail? Remember that cringe video with all those celebrities singing, "Imagine?" I noticed you're still replying to their "Oh my god, being cooped up is so awful, thank god for Grubhub and Amazon," media posts with an "All the feels." Remember when we cared about Amazon workers? We almost, almost, cared for a full 72 hours when we learned how food delivery services rip off their drivers and small restaurants with fees. Remember when the big thing was treating the Walmart greeter like a grizzled war hero, and now we've not tweeted anything about "hazard pay" in three months? Good times. We don't care nearly as much about necessary workers and the people exposed to the public as our carefully curated Twitter feeds suggest. Amazon and Grubhub profits have exploded during the outbreak and they aren't all delivering to Mar-a-lago. We are all out of touch with the people holding our country together while we tweet between Zoom meetings in our underwear.
As for the sexual harassment accusations against her producers? The racism? Let me put this to you gently. When it came out that the Bernie Sanders campaign was full of racism and sexual harassment in 2016, we let him run again. We let him keep his seat in the Senate. A lot of y'all went to the mats to defend him for that. The big defense was "Well, he didn't know." Okay, sure. If Ellen, being the aloof out of touch celebrity, didn't know about what was happening, then what's the problem here? Why aren't people going out of their way to excuse and defend her? I thought women weren't accountable for the behavior of terrible men and that it is unfair to think they should have to be responsible all the time for these bad people. If all the rumors that come out of Hollywood about toxic, hostile, racist, and sexist workplaces are true, then the only people we should be allowing to be entertainers are the ones who just stepped off the Greyhound from Kansas.
Fine, cancel Ellen. Send her off into the night with her $300 million dollars in net worth. Let her wander, lost in the wilderness as a problematic celebrity. We've got hundreds more to decide that we don't like and to turn our collective hatred on like frenzied sharks smelling blood in the water. This stuff is patently absurd, and the truth is, we as a culture get off on it. We decide by random lottery to just utterly destroy a celebrity, a politician, or some rando with a badly worded tweet, and we are not satisfied until everything about them is a giant red smear on the ground. Unless we stan that one because they appeal to us, and then we'll die on that hill because you don't come for the King/Queen. Unless you're outnumbered, then you had better blend into the mob because my god, you don't want to be on the wrong side of a mob. We've seen what can happen, 'cause we did it ourselves to someone else last week.
And no, I'm not getting anything out of this. Ellen's head writer got the court to put a "do not contact" order on me five years ago.
Amanda Kerri is an Oklahoma-based writer and comedian, a regular contributor to The Advocate, and a former board member for Oklahoma City Pride. Follow her on Twitter @Amanda_Kerri.