BY: ALEXIS COPE
On Sunday, October 6, celebrity talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, accompanied by wife Portia de Rossi, attended a Dallas Cowboys football game with former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura. During the game, DeGeneres and Bush were pictured laughing together during the second quarter, and DeGeneres herself took a video of the four of them together enjoying the game.
Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms exploded with the news, users responding very strongly to these pictures, both with heavy support and heavy disgust. Celebrities like Kristen Bell, Jamie Foxx, Mark Ruffalo, and Jameela Jamil even voiced their own opinions on the subject.
Many users were distraught that she was sitting with Bush, who, during his presidency made a series of highly controversial decisions, including a devastating post 9/11 invasion of the nation of Iraq. Bush explained the reasons for the invasion in October of 2011: “…to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein’s support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people.” It is estimated that 3,200-4,300 civilians were killed during the conflict.
Others, however, were supportive and backed up the talk show host, saying she inspired them and was sharing a message that the world needed to hear: love.
24 hours after the photos went viral, Ellen responded on her show with a monologue biting back at the hateful responses. “People were upset,” she said. “They thought, why is a gay Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative Republican president?” She then went on to say how she believed that we need to remember that it’s ok to have different opinions and that people should be more accepting and courteous to those we disagree with.
“When I say be kind to one another, I don’t mean only the other people that think the same way that you do. I mean be kind to everyone. Doesn’t matter,” DeGeneres concluded to roaring applause. “Even people who are already playing Christmas music.”
A collection of tweets and instagram posts highlighting opinions on the topic.