Ellen DeGeneres is facing backlash after she was filmed sitting next to former U.S. President George W. Bush at a baseball game, talking and laughing with like they are old buddies.
Laura & George Bush sitting with Ellen Degeneres and Portia de Rossi is not something I expected to see at an NFL game pic.twitter.com/AbWbhXd3RC— Paid man gets bored (@cjzero) October 6, 2019
In response to critics, the talk show host went on her show and explained that she is indeed friends with Bush and others who “don’t share the same beliefs that I have.”
Ellen DeGeneres explained why she was hanging out with former President George W. Bush at a Dallas Cowboys football game. "I'm friends with George Bush," she said. "In fact, I'm friends with a lot of people who don't share the same beliefs that I have." https://t.co/UJkBtBFJ5U pic.twitter.com/rpgVjlkVww— CNN (@CNN) October 8, 2019
“But a lot of people were mad, and they did what people do when they’re mad—they tweet,” said DeGeneres. “But there’s one tweet that I love, and this person says: ‘Ellen and George Bush together makes me have faith in America again.'”
She went on to compare her being friends with Bush, who famously pushed to a constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as being only between a man and a woman, to being friends with people who wear fur even though she thinks it’s wrong to do so.
“And I’m friends with people who are furries—friends who should tweeze more,” she joked. “But just because I don’t agree with someone on everything, it doesn’t mean that I’m not gonna be friends with them.”
However, many people were unsatisfied with this explanation, to say the least. Some are calling this a poorly-timed sentiment, considering the Supreme Court began hearing arguments today on a case that is expected to decide whether employers can legally fire people for being LGBTQ+. DeGeneres herself is married to a woman, leading to no small amount of bafflement.
George Bush said he’d support an amendment to the Constitution to ban same sex marriages, yet here we are.— FunctioningSadaholic (@JacobDisagrees) October 7, 2019
I keep saying it but again, the rich have class unity, do you? https://t.co/oR0sxJNUts
Others have pointed out that there might be a significant difference between being friends with someone who wanted to deny a group of people equal rights and humanity, started a long and deadly war over what was later revealed to be lies, and likely committed international war crimes, and being friends with a hairy person.
Good hang. But saying it’s about “beliefs” is a dodge. Be friends with people who disagree. Be kind to everyone. Bush led the campaign against your marriage. His two Supreme Court justices dissented in the marriage equality case.
— Jon Lovett (@jonlovett) October 8, 2019
There is a vast space between spitting in someone’s face and a sort of kindness that requires ignoring the world and everyone else in it, which is not very kind to people who don’t get invited to such places.
— Jon Lovett (@jonlovett) October 8, 2019
The debate around the moral question of whether you can remain friends with someone who holds beliefs that could lead to people being harmed has been raging on and off since the 2016 election.
Some quickly cut off friends and family who voted for Trump, while others argued that political beliefs shouldn’t ruin relationships. The latter attitude may be put to the test, however, when the relationship is with someone who has done more than hold potentially harmful beliefs.
In response to Ellen DeGeneres, no, you don't HAVE to love everybody--nor should you. And that goes ESPECIALLY for torturers who trampled our civil rights and threw the US into a state of perpetual war like George W. Bush. He's war criminal trash and should be in jail.— Anthony “The Rock” Fantano (@theneedledrop) October 8, 2019
There may also be a difference between being kind to people when you happen to come across them and maintaining a whole friendship with that person without being like “what about those war crimes, though?”
It may also not be the best sign when self-identified “ambassadors” to Turning Point USA are applauding you.
If you’re tweeting negatively about #EllenDeGeneres after seeing her laughing w/ George W Bush - you are the problem w/ America— James McCoy Taylor (@james_mccoy_t) October 8, 2019
She’s being kind to someone with different views
This should be normal. We should ALL spend more time with ppl who think differently. Proud of Ellen
Others have pointed out that the people who really need kindness and friendship can’t afford box seats at baseball games and some of them had their lives entirely destroyed by George W. Bush.
Dear @TheEllenShow,— Shailja Patel (@shailjapatel) October 8, 2019
You know who else needs friends besides George W Bush? The babies of Fallujah. Your friend George W Bush bombed Fallujah with depleted uranium. 15 years later, Fallujah suffers a rate of birth defects higher than Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the atom bomb. https://t.co/TKTWCx5HCL
The debate on whether it’s good or bad to be kind to bad people may never end. But can we at least agree that having an entire friendship with someone responsible for millions of deaths is an entirely different subject?