Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is facing a backlash from viewers after jokingly comparing self-isolating with her wife in her Los Angeles mansion to being in jail.
DeGeneres made the comments during her first episode filmed from home — a five-bedroom, 12-bathroom Beverly Hills mansion — after several weeks off-air amid concerns over the Chinese coronavirus.
“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 began.
She explained that the period of self-isolation was not all negative as she and her wife Portia de Rossi could spend more time together.
“Porscha and I have been quarantining for three weeks now and it’s nice actually because we get to spend time together and talk and get to know each other,” she said. “Did you know that she was Australian?”
Yet the 62-year-old couldn’t help but express some degree of self-pity by comparing her situation to a form of imprisonment.
“This is like being in jail,” she remarked. “Mostly because I’ve been wearing the same clothes for 10 days and everyone in here is gay.”
The comments were poorly received by many viewers, who pointed out her extraordinary wealth and palatial surroundings.
What a great look for Ellen as thousands of people sit in actual jail cells just hoping for the best without soap and basic protections https://t.co/RBytt0Kl4B
— Caroline Darya Framke (@carolineframke) April 7, 2020
Ellen really is the worst. https://t.co/T4EUSo4Irk
— brain genius (@Millerheighife) April 7, 2020
ellen you quarantining in your mansion in designer sweats is nothing like prison https://t.co/RWFZGFKTJT
— diet coke please endorse me (@rkyr4m) April 7, 2020
Doesn't…..she buy / redecorate / sell like….. multiple mansions a year?
People are dying, I'm afraid to leave my house every day but I have to, but ok go off Ellen. Social isolation is bad, stressful, and causes increased depression and anxiety but it ain't jail. https://t.co/vrKeI0K05g
— nathan thomas (@nathrthom) April 7, 2020
I’d almost assume that Ellen’s stupid “everyone in jail is gay” joke would be nixed in a normal filming situation but she’s always been awful
— marshy (@sirmarshy) April 7, 2020
However, DeGeneres did express sympathy with the many people who are suffering as a result of the coronavirus or the impact of the lockdown, particularly children, college students and parents stuck at home.
“I think that a lot of people out there need words of encouragement and that’s what I want to do,” she said. “I want to spread light where there’s shade. I want to bring a glow where it’s gloomy. I want to stick a candle where the sun doesn’t shine.”