There are very few figures in the entertainment industry who've worked as long, or become as loved, as Ellen Degeneres. Until recently, the Ellen Degeneres host was essentially Hollywood's untouched sensation - a comforting presence who, despite initial backlash for her sexuality, became ubiquitous in households across the globe.
However, in spite of this position as one of the country's loudest LGBTQI icons, Degeneres' actions of late have left people outraged. The backlash began when Kevin Hart visited The Ellen DeGeneres Show in early January. Despite Hart's years-old homophobic jokes about young gay black men — which he refused to re-apologise for when they resurfaced in December and which ultimately forced him to rescind a previously accepted offer to host the Oscars — DeGeneres encouraged him to host anyway.
On Jan. 30, openly gay African-American Empire star Jussie Smollett was the victim of a supposed hate crime in Chicago.
Two people yelling “this is MAGA country” reportedly accosted Smollett with racial and homophobic slurs and wrapped a rope around the actor’s neck. An outpouring of support for Smollett and disgust for the acts committed against him rang out on Twitter.
Hart, too, took to Twitter to express his sadness at the attack. But, many were quick to comment on the hypocrisy of his statement.
In 2015, Smollett came out as gay on DeGeneres’s show. In response to the violence against him, Ellen tweeted: “Four years ago, @JussieSmollett came out on my show. I’m sending him and his family so much love today.
Fans immediately responded.