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Ellen Degeneres Under Fire for ‘Jail’ Comment

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Ellen Degeneres Portia Derossi

Is quarantining in a $27 million house the same as being in jail? To most of us, this is a no-brainer. But the differences between her veritable mansion and prison were less clear to chat show host Ellen Degeneres in a comment she made about isolating during the coronavirus outbreak.

To say it was badly received would be an understatement. “This is like being in jail,” stated the “Ellen” host. “Mostly because I’ve been wearing the same clothes for 10 days and everyone in here is gay.” Ha, indeed. While there was obviously some humor intended, the comment fell like a ton of bricks.

‘Just Like Jail’

Ellen’s home is reportedly worth $27 million. It has “five bedrooms, 10 bathrooms and a cabana that doubles as a gym” according to Business Insider. Oh, not to mention the two guest suites. And the breathtaking view from the California hilltop. Safe to say, it doesn’t sound like any prison we’ve ever heard of.

Purchased in 2019, Ellen is self-isolating there with her partner Portia de Rossi and their several (very cute) canine pals. Her Instagram feed is full of cozy-looking photos of a seemingly relaxing isolation period. The house has an infinity pool, surrounded by decking and outdoor seats. It’s all complemented by the Balinese decor found throughout the property.

Indeed, it’s quite dissimilar to the situation many normal Americans have found themselves in during the current pandemic. Not to mention the conditions actual prison inmates find themselves in every day. Their isolation won’t end when the pandemic does.

The comment admittedly began in good humor, with Ellen thanking the frontline staff for their heroic efforts during this unprecedented time.

Then It All Went Horribly Wrong

“Today, I am filming this in my living room because it has the best light and sound and all the other rooms in my house are filled with toilet paper,” she laughed.

“It’s nice, actually. Because we get to spend time together and talk and really get to know each other,” she said.

So far, so good. Right? Well, it would have remained that way if she had just stopped talking.

“This is like being in jail,” she continued. The rest is history.

As is the case with Ellen and Portia, the rich and famous are self-isolating in residencies that are beyond the wildest imaginations of most of us. Living in a multi-story tower block with no access to a garden or being in prison, for that matter, is in no way the same as the luxury lives of celebs.

‘We’re All in This Together’

There has been understandable outrage from some of the public regarding the claims (not to mention the cringe-y video) that “We’re all in this together”. While, yes, the outbreak of coronavirus has affected us all in no small way, it was considered more than a little insensitive of the super-rich celebs of the world to claim there was any equality in the situation.

Faced with a formidable backlash from various keyboard warriors around the world, Ellen tried to claw back some face. And by claw back some face, we mean she very quietly deleted the comment from her most recent show. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done. The now-infamous chat show host has since remained tight-lipped on the matter, perhaps recognizing her misdemeanor.

People make mistakes. However, these are fraught times where uncertainty is rife and inequality has never been more evident. Perhaps it would be wise to consider one’s words before broadcasting them to millions of viewers.

We’re sure Ellen will be forgiven in time, just as we’ll all get past the “Imagine” travesty.

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