Comedy talk show host Ellen Degeneres displayed some incredible class this week after the internet went abuzz over photos of herself palling around former President George W. Bush at a Dallas Cowboys game.
“After photos surfaced of her laughing with Bush in Cowboy’s owner Jerry Jones’ box, many on social media wondered why the talk show host, a gay woman, would be friendly with a former president who called for a constitutional ban on gay marriage, among other policy positions that seem at odds with her beliefs,” reports Entertainment Weekly.
In response to the internet backlash, the former “Finding Nemo” actress said on a clip from Tuesday’s show of “The Ellen Degeneres” show that people should “be kind to everyone,” including those with whom they disagree.
“So this weekend, I went to Dallas for the Cowboys game. And it may not seem like a big deal for a celebrity to attend a football game, but I never leave my house. So it is a big deal,” Ellen began. “So there were a hundred thousand people in this stadium. Portia and I were invited by Charlotte Jones — she’s the daughter of Jerry Jones, who owns the Dallas Cowboys.”
“So I gotta say, when we were invited, I was aware that I was going to be surrounded by people with different views and beliefs,” she continued. “But during the game, they showed a shot of George and me laughing together, so people were upset. They thought why is a gay Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative Republican president. A lot of people were mad, and they did what people do when they’re mad: they tweet.”
Despite the nasty tweets directed her way, Ellen shared a particular tweet that she loved: “Ellen and George Bush together makes me have faith in America again.”
Ellen then stated that she is not only friends with George Bush but also friends with people who share different viewpoints than her.
“Here’s the thing — I’m friends with George Bush. In fact, I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have,” Ellen said. “We’re all different, and I think we’ve forgotten that that’s okay, that we’re all different.”
“For instance, I wish people wouldn’t wear fur. I don’t like it, but I’m friends with people who wear fur,” DeGeneres continued. “But just because I don’t agree with someone on everything, doesn’t mean that I’m not going to be friends with them. When I say be kind to one another, I don’t mean only the people that think the same way that you do. I mean be kind to everyone.”
Indeed, Degeneres has proven time and time again to be a comedian and talk show host of genuine class who avoids mean-spirited ad hominems against those on the opposite side of the political aisle in favor of cheerful comedy, discussion, and even forgiveness. Nothing better put this on display than when she publicly defended comedian Kevin Hart after a mob of online trolls sabotaged his dream gig of hosting the Oscars over past jokes he made that offended members of the LGBT community.
In her hiring practices, Ellen has also shown herself to be an equal opportunity employer by counting the openly conservative comedian Adam Yenser among her writing staff.