Stars Weigh In On Ellen

Pandemic or not, August is typically the slowest time in entertainment – at least in terms of consumption.  When I cannot watch The View shortly after waking, I feel out of step with the world.  And when I cannot watch The Talk shortly after breakfast, I know it’s August.  And yet, in the midst of this wasteland, television news continues to be generated – whether it is speculation on if Meghan McCain will return to The View after her baby is born (she claims she will), whether Sara Haines will return to The View since her GMA offshoot has been cancelled, and what will happen to Michael Strahan…and his lisp?

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The controversy surrounding Ellen DeGeneres continues to swirl out of control.  I have one overall thought: no performer is paid to be nice.  Nice is something manufactured by the media, which I suppose I am a part of.  I’ve had limited interaction with DeGeneres.  While there is a small handful of people who have pointedly refused to be pleasant (Halle Berry, Heidi Klum, and Geena Davis come to mind), Ellen has always been solicitous.  However, a friend of mine is quick to point out that when I brought him to a taping of her show, all we got as a giveaway was a coupon for a Marie Callender’s pot pie!  I must correct him – I believe we were also given a Liz Phair CD.

In addition to my dubious endorsement, several celebs have also weighed in.  We already know that Brad Garrett and Lea Thompson concur that the “nice” moniker is far from accurate.  Someone joining their ranks is Ellen’s former DJ, Tony Okungbowa.  “I have been getting calls asking me about the Ellen Degeneres Show and I would like to address the time I spent there.  I was on air talent from 2003-2006 and from 2007-2013.  While I am grateful for the opportunity it afforded me, I did experience and feel the toxicity of the environment and I stand with my former colleagues in their quest to create a healthier and more inclusive workplace as the show moves forward.” 

On the other hand, people like Katy Perry, Ashton Kutcher, Alec Baldwin, and Diane Keaton have come to Ellen’s defense.  It should be noted that Keaton also spoke up in favor of Woody Allen.  Then there’s Kevin Hart, who had this to say: “It’s crazy to see my friend go thru what she’s going thru publicly.  I have known Ellen for years and I can honestly say that she’s one of the dopest people on the fucking planet.  She has treated my family and my team with love and respect from day 1.  The internet has become a crazy world of negativity…we are falling in love with peoples down fall.”  It bears mentioning that Ellen was supportive of Hart when his past homophobic jokes resurfaced and squashed his opportunity to host the Academy Awards.  Where does the truth lie?  And, more importantly, does it matter?  To most people reading this, it only matters in terms of gossip – and who am I to minimize that?  But deep down, I doubt anyone cares.  If Ellen entertains you, great.  If not, change the channel.

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