If you’re wondering why Ellen DeGeneres is absolutely everywhere right now, here’s the go: she was photographed sitting next to the former US President George W. Bush at an NFL game.
The photograph has left the internet divided: some are saying that she’s setting a good example of tolerance and kindness, others are saying it’s completely baffling and morally wrong. There is no in-between.
If you’ve been living under a rock or simply don’t know the deal with Bush, here’s the key information:
- In 2004, when Bush was President, he announced that he wanted to amend the US constitution to ban gay marriage.
- Bush was also the president who instructed the US army to enter into war with Iraq and Afghanistan. His motivation apparently stemmed from the belief that these countries were harbouring weapons of mass destruction. Those countries, however, were not harbouring weapons of mass destruction.
Degeneres received so much backlash for the shot, she ended up speaking out about it on her show on Monday:
“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. We’re all different, and I think we’ve forgotten that that’s OK that we’re all different… Just because I don’t agree with someone on everything doesn’t mean that I am 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 you do. I mean be kind to everyone.”Ellen Degeneres
The people applauding Ellen’s stance are saying it’s a good, healthy thing to hang with people who share opposing opinions and that spending time with someone certainly does not equate sharing their beliefs.
The photo, however, has angered quite a few. It probably doesn’t help Degeneres’ case that earlier this year she backed controversial comedian Kevin Hart even while he refused to apologise for a series of old, homophobic tweets.
The real question here: would Degeneres and Bush share chips, guac and a nice glass of red on a Friday night? That’s what friends do, after all. It’s hard to imagine a man who literally tried to ban gay marriage for an entire country would be down to dine with married lesbians.
Ellen Degeneres probably just wanted to “keep the peace” by calling Bush a friend, which is sort of, well, disappointing. It would’ve been much more interesting and cool if she’d used her platform to assert the fact that she disagreed with Bush’s opinions yet made an example of being kind anyway.