Ellen DeGeneres sued for mocking a realtor’s name: funny or puerile?


Talk show ace Ellen DeGeneres is being sent to the principal’s office for teasing. Only, the principal is the U.S. District Court in Macon, GA and instead of slapping erasers, she will be paying up if found guilty. Last February on her What’s Wrong with These Signs segment, Ellen featured sign for a retirement home called “Nipple Convalescent Home.” Following that, she showed this sign:


Ellen quipped that “Titty” Pierce,“sounds like she might have spent some time in that nipple home.” The problem with this little piece of playground humor is that Ms. Pierce’s name is pronounced “Tee-Tee” and that her personal cell phone displayed on the sign was not blurred out while it aired. As a result, Ms. Pierce has been forced to field a truckload of offensive phone calls and voicemails.

She is the daytime chat show doyen beloved for her inoffensive brand of comedy.

But that has not stopped a real estate agent called Titi Pierce from suing Ellen DeGeneres after she mocked her moniker on an episode of her show in February.

Her send up of the name during a segment called What’s Wrong With These Signs garnered plenty of titters, not least from the host herself.

Unfortunately Ellen pronounced the name like the slang name for a woman’s breast, rather than the supposedly grammatically correct, ‘tee-tee,’ which is said to have led to the woman being a source of mockery ever since. Titi claims it was the first time anyone had mispronounced her name.

In her suit the 35-year-old says when the segment aired her personal mobile phone number had not been blurred from the real estate sign featuring her name used on the show.

Realtor Titi, who also works as an Air Force base electronics engineer, claims she did not even see the segment when it initially aired, but soon afterwards received calls as she drove to a funeral, at the wake and during the service itself.

She claims she called the show in February and the following month to inform show staff the correct correct pronunciation of her name and that her number had not been blurred. She also begged that they do not reference her on the show or on social media.

While it was blurred on a video posted on social media, when the programme aired again April 15 her number could still be seen.

According to the Macon Telegraph, the Warner Robins, Georgia woman has been subjected to constant ridicule, with people ringing her mobile phone to leave cruel answerphone messages, including during a funeral.

Her name was apparently taken from the Nigerian word for flower, which her mother discovered in a book on Nigerian names.

[From Daily Mail]

I cannot believe no one blurred out the phone number; that’s a rookie mistake. If Ellen got a giggle out of this, obviously hundreds of sophomoric viewers were going to act on it. A relator has to keep her phone on at all times when she has active listings; Ms. Pierce couldn’t just shut it off or change her number. Although I am shocked this is the first time anyone has mispronounced her name, it sounds like a nightmare. Executive producers at the Ellen DeGeneres Show told The Wrap, “We try to have fun every day and make people laugh and never intend to hurt anyone’s feelings,” which, okay – but if that was the case, why did they rerun the segment with the number again on April 15th? Especially since they had already been contacted.

I used to watch Ellen when I was pregnant with number 2. At that time she was still the “nice” talk show host. Then the whole fiasco over the adopted dog Iggy happened. I felt she bullied the agency on national television while crying crocodile tears. Since then, I have seen cracks in her affable veneer. I’m sure I would have snickered had I seen this sign segment but I also would have assumed some form of permission had been granted prior to use. I think I’m #TeamTiti on this one.



Photo credit: Ellen Show, Fame/Flynet and Getty Images

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69 Responses to “Ellen DeGeneres sued for mocking a realtor’s name: funny or puerile?”

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  1. Locke Lamora says:

    Team Titty also.

    I’ve tried to watch Ellen but I just can’t. She’s so not funny and her humour is so bland, she’s almost as bad as Fallon. The dancing is just cringeworthy. And she’s one of the worst Oscar hosts ever.

  2. Tate says:

    I don’t blame the woman for suing. I can’t imagine dealing with those phone calls.

  3. Honey says:

    Possibly a stupid mistake the first time around but no excuse for airing the number the second time. Pay up!!

    • MC2 says:

      +1- that’s when I sided with Titi. For the show to not care enough at how their joke effected the woman after she called & do it again is messed up.
      That being said- funny names crack me up.
      Update- I wrote that & then saw the comment below. I giggle at ones especially where the woman married & didn’t change her name or didn’t keep her maiden. “Sandy Tush”- why wouldn’t you start going by “Sandra” professionally?
      I will think twice before giggling about names though……but still crack up when I see “Call Sandy Tush!”.

    • imqrious2 says:

      Not just the phone number, but her last name and the name of the Realty Co. should’ve been blurred as well. After all, who can’t google the woman’s full name/business and come up with the listed number?

      NOT COOL Ellen… not cool.

  4. Bey says:

    why would you even make fun of names? laughing about names is often a way for people of privilege to laugh about oppressed groups.

    • booklion says:

      I totally agree, its juvenile and pathetic to base your comedy on mocking peoples names. Unfortunately its a bit of a recurring thing with Ellen as she had a whole segment a while ago (cant actually remember when it aired) of her mocking and mispronouncing the names of Chinese viewers. I have never been a fan of the show (or ellen herself) but you would think that someone of her high profile and fame would be able to create and maintain a funny and entertaining show without using other people (typically oppressed groups and stereotypes of poc) as the punchline. It is just sad and I am glad that someone is actually calling her out on this.

    • UCatwoman says:

      And how do you know this woman is a member of an “oppressed group”? I truly am curious.

      • Ali says:

        The realtor is Nigerian. It’s sad that 40 year olds would find it funny to mock an “ethnic” sounding name. God forbid all of our mothers weren’t as uninspired enough to name us Ellen, Jessica or Stephanie.

      • Bey says:

        i said “often”.

        whose names are being made fun of? George or Aaliyah? Mrs O’Neill or Mr Putantipaklomoloman? people dont make fun of “common” names, meaning names the majority has, they make fun of minority names.
        in countries with no bigger minority portions the go to name jokes are jokes about names of the lower class.

        names can be an indicator of your social class which wouldnt be wrong if it wouldnt have such consequences.

      • delorb says:

        Yes they do.


        Jeez. There are words in English that don’t travel well to other countries as well. Should people be allowed to sue because someone made fun of that fact?

    • Hadleyb says:

      I have an unusual name and get so sick and tired of people – adults! making comments or even making fun of it/me.

      I had it through school, I am sure as shit am not going to put up with it as an adult.

      You want to name your kid Nicole or Jennifer fine, but there is no need to make fun of others unusual names. Grow up world!

      • Ursaline says:

        Sadly, I have to agree with you. My given name is Ursula, named for Ursula Andress, the original Bond girl and Viva Las Vegas counterpart to Elvis Presley. THEN Disney had to use it as the name for a sea witch when I was 19. I have had a grudge against them ever since, despite the coolness of having Rebel Wilson play the character.

        I’m not claiming to be innocent of doing things like that or of being catty (look at the site I’m posting on), but it’s still shitty to publicly make fun of a name that is different and post the personal phone number on national tv. The support staff should never have aired it without covering the phone number and the network will have to pay up for it.

      • Kitten says:

        *deleted wrong place*

      • imqrious2 says:


        I don’t know… first time I saw the name, I pronounced it TEE TEE… “titty” didn’t even come into my mind. Would adolescent boys mispronounce it? Probably, but not most adults. Grow the hell up, Ellen!

    • Lena says:

      My sister chose two beautiful but slightly unusual names for my little niece. Unfortunately she didn’t share them with anyone besides her husband before and never realized that together they sounded like something else- like people who heard the names for the first time would go “did she seriously just say X”. My niece now just goes by her first name and after not nosing if I want to laugh or cry I laughed for a long time.

  5. Toot says:

    I’m team Titi too.

    Looking at Titi doesn’t make me think of titty, so I can see how no one had ever called her that before. Hope the woman wins her suit since they couldn’t blur out her number. She probably got so many stupid calls.

    • Mary Mary says:

      I am Puerto Rican and Titi (pronounced “Teetee”) is a common form of endearment for “Aunt” in Puerto Rico. Making fun of a person’s name on national television and broadcasting their phone number is both insensitive and ignorant . Ellen has lost her touch. Hopefully, the lawsuit and publicity will call attention to Ellen’s on-stage fake persona and the “real” Ellen who is not the “all kind and niceness” that the SAHM want to wish and believe in.

  6. NewWester says:

    Ellen used to be a fun show to watch, but the last few years I have noticed a “mean streak” to her humour. I sometimes wonder if the guests she has on notice the subtle shade she throws at times.

    • Tate says:

      I used to dvr and watch it everyday but started noticing the same thing. Haven’t watched in years.

    • Alix says:

      Interesting observation. Remember when Rosie O’Donnell was the “Queen of Nice”? Not so much now…

    • Erinn says:

      I think I first started noticing it in like… 2007, 2008 ish. Honestly – she’s had a mean streak for a long time. It just didn’t show up quite as often.

      For someone who’s supposed to be so nice, she always has come off as incredibly condescending with ‘regular folks’. She kisses celeb ass but then is often kind of mean spirited to most other people. I always got the feeling that she was just mocking everyone.

      • Locke Lamora says:

        I noticed that too! The way she acts to the “regular folk”. I notice that with Graham Norton too.

  7. Don't kill me I'm French says:

    I don’t know her but with the little that I saw with her is I can’t stand her.
    I never digested the fact that THE selfie at Oscars show was a paid RP stunt by Samsung .She is fake and she is the reason why Bieber .

  8. Louise177 says:

    It was really wrong of the show to not blur out the number. Its as if Ellen wanted the audience to harass Titi. She probably has a case because of it.

    • tracking says:

      Yeah, whether or not you like it, the name thing falls under (sophomoric) comedic expression. Failing to blur the phone number is inexcusable.

    • delorb says:

      I thought it odd that the number wasn’t blurred. Usually they blur the number, unless they get permission from the owner. Maybe Titi thought things would turn out differently, so she gave permission? Or maybe someone in legal dropped the ball? Not team Titi or Ellen for that matter.

  9. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    I actually like Ellen, and I watch her show once a week at my nail salon because they have it on. I haven’t seen her be mean to anyone, but as I said, I don’t watch every day. However, even though I don’t believe that no one has ever mispronounced her name before (maybe not to her face) and I think everyone turns off their phone at a funeral, or they should, there’s really no excuse for not blurring out her phone number. Really there’s no excuse for using her name, because someone could look it up if she’s a realtor and it’s such an unusual name. Pretty silly segment anyway. Ellen should apologize and settle.

  10. Queendolly says:

    This is just mean on Ellen’s part, and I absolutely believe that it affected her business negatively. Can you imagine her trying to show a house and she keeps getting calls that she has to answer because it might be about a listing and instead it’s a lewd pervert who wants to make fun of her. She probably got fed up and stopped answering her phone. And even if she changed her number, she’s a real estate agent her name is out there all the weirdos have to do is google her name get her number and go at it again. I hope she sues and wins all the money

  11. Carol says:

    Hmmm. I don’t know if the joke was that offensive, it was a bit sophomoric, but they should have at the very least blocked out the lady’s phone number…..every time that bit aired.

  12. BFDL says:

    Ellen is old enough to be my mother so I don’t understand why she found this name so humorous. It’s just a name. Oh God! Tits and boobs and wow! Yeah, lame.

    I usually like her because she has that dry humor I love but I do think it’s wrong to use your national (or even international) platform to mock someone who can’t defend themselves.

    Anyone can sue but we’ll see who wins.

    • BengalCat2000 says:

      My mother’s name is Fannie, it’s an old Southern name (I believe) and she has heard ALL the jokes. She’s a sensitive woman and it always broke my heart when people would make fun of her.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Oh, that’s awful. It’s a classic old name, too. People are so mean.

      • BengalCat2000 says:

        Thanks GNAT, she’s developed a sense of humor about it over the years but it will always be a sore spot for me.

      • Kitten says:

        As someone with a REALLY crazy last name (Lithuanian and completely made-up) I totally feel for your momz–it freaking sucks. I’m not one to care about marriage but sometimes I want to get married just to get rid of my last name.

        Unfortunately, my boyfriend has possibly the silliest last name ever (rhymes with “dinky”) so…yeah, I’m f*cked, basically. 🙁

      • BengalCat2000 says:

        Embrace your name Kitten! I’m a Jones and it’s very bland, lol!

  13. grabbyhands says:

    It’s one thing to poke a little fun at a business name, particularly when it is obvious it is not related to an actual living person. It is quite another to mock a person’s name and then add insult to injury by not blurring out their phone number, not once but TWICE.

    And THEN, have the gall to issue a whiny statement saying that they were just trying to have fun and not hurt anyone’s feelings, with the inference being that she is making a big deal over nothing and bumming everyone out by complaining.

  14. Lucy2 says:

    I can’t believe they didn’t blur out the number. That alone should be enough for her case, but that they ran it a second time after she had contacted them???

  15. Christin says:

    Sounds like a settlement is in order. Imagine the time it took to weed through silly messages, plus the obvious frustration and embarrassment. The realtor is a private citizen and should not have had her name or number used on national TV.

  16. DIRTNAP says:

    Remember Don Miguel Angel Ruiz’s book “The Four Agreements,” which Ellen plugged so hard and helped to make famous?

    Agreement #1: Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.


  17. Susie 1of 3 says:

    The first few years I watched her show every day. Light easy humor. Interesting guests. Then she started jumping out to scare people in the bathroom and having an employee sneak up and startle guests while they were talking on stage. Funny to her at someone else’s expense. Now she’s moved on to making fun of a person’s name? I stopped watching a few years ago, the day she first had Kim K. on the show.

  18. Marty says:

    Ugh…this is triggering. My full name is Martita and sure enough people would emphasize the ‘tit’ part when it’s really pronounced Mar-tee-ta. That’s why I started going by Marty.

    Ellen is not a very nice person and I hope Titi wins her lawsuit.

    • Almondjoy says:

      I love your name 😍

      Ellen is wrong here. Making fun of names is completely juvenile, especially because the person being made fun of is usually is a minority. It’s like no effort is made to say it correctly. And then to add insult to injury, she doesn’t blur the woman’s number. Do better, Ellen.

    • Kitten says:

      Martita is a BEAUTIFUL name!
      “Marty” is cute too though.

      • Marty says:

        Thanks Kitten! My mom still refuses to call me by my self-appointed nickname, lol.

  19. meme says:

    I never found Ellen to be funny and I hope she has to give this woman a big payout for a stupid “joke.” And Ellen is so far up the Kardashians’ collective asses, it’s sickening.

  20. JenniferJustice says:

    I’d sue for showing my personal phone number b/c that was just dumb and unprofessional on Ellen and her team’s part, but I don’t believe this woman has never befor been teased about her name as it appears when written. And if nobody ever did tease her outright, they were definitely snickering behind her back.

    I don’t watch Ellen anymore because I believe she is not the nice person she wants us to beleive she is. I also lost respect when it became apparent that she pretty much buys her audiences with constant gift giving. It’s like she took Oprah’s 12 Days of Christmas and made it Ellen’s 365 Days of Christmas. It’s manipulative not to mention obvious and predictable.

    • Snowflake says:

      Yeah, there is no way anyone has ever NOT pronounced it that way before. Yeah, they should have blurred her phone number out, but I think titi is jumping on the opportunity to get a nice settlement.

  21. I Choose Me says:

    Ellen or her producers et al are totally in the wrong. I don’t have an unusual first (or last) name but I do go by shortened version of my name because people mispronounce it despite the easy syllables. I can’t imagine having a more unusual or ‘ethnic’ name and having people make fun of or butcher it. Even if you try to have a sense of humor about it, I imagine the jokes get old fast.

    Anyway, no excuse for not blurring out the woman’s number in the first airing but to do so twice?They need to pay up!

  22. Georgia says:

    Bad look for the show but it is their own fault and the deserve the bad press over this

  23. anniefannie says:

    Not blurring the plaintiffs # the 1st time could have been written off as a mistake and somewhat excusable ( but really?!?!) but the 2nd time?!? If I was on the jury I’d be awarding damages it’d be a case of how much. And I’m definetly w/the poster above that it’s lame for the shows producers to then try to paint the victim ( and she is one ) as a poor sport and not in on the “fun”

  24. iheartgossip says:

    Ellen is a passive/aggressive bully who now is so far up the back ends of the Trash Klan, Bieber and any other low life; her show is unwatchable. And it’s never been very watchable, for me.

  25. Kat says:

    I must be the only person/SAHM I know who can’t stomach Ellen at all!! I find her painfully unfunny and tedious and boring. I feel like if you’re a SAHM you’re practically required to love Ellen and her dancing and her “scaring” segments and jokes that can’t get even a small giggle. This whole Titi debacle was so rude. Who doesn’t blur out the identifying details, like phone numbers? And with a name as identifiable as Titi Pierce, wouldn’t you have rethought putting her name on the air AT ALL, factoring in how much harassment you’re probably throwing her way? I have seen some comments saying Titi should be happy or grateful for all the publicity but it’s just a dick move to make fun of someone for their name. This woman has a business to run and now she has to wade through all the people who want to phone her up and laugh at her name. Ellen needs to quit, I’m just so tired of her.

  26. Sam says:

    Yeah, I side with Titi. My genuine first name is unusual due to the fact that it’s a Native American name (Sam is the abbreviated version). I never really took heat for it, mostly because we grew up in a small town where people knew my dad, knew me, knew why I was named what I was. It doesn’t help that my name is traditionally male and my dad swore I was male and then I was born and he was all, “Ah screw it, let’s stick with it.” But I digress. But it must genuinely suck to see your name, which might have great significance in your culture and heritage, get mocked on national television. Ellen should apologize to her, on air. I think that would be a good start. She’s done a ton for anti-bullying efforts, especially for LGBT youth and then does this? Bad look, Ellen, very bad.

    And my poor husband, he has one of those 20-letter (yes, we counted) Indian last names that just kind of stump all other races. He’s reached the point of finding it funny to watch other people even try to work through it. He refers to it as “the bane of teachers everywhere.”

  27. Jess says:

    Eh, just the way this is worded sounds a grab for attention, on her way to a funeral? Why does that matter? Also have serious doubts this is the first time anyone has mispronounced her name, come on. Buuuut, if the producers didn’t blur her number and she can back up this harassment yeah she deserves some money! Shame on them.

  28. d says:

    I don’t know if showbiz changed her or what, but Ellen sure seems different from years ago. Or maybe she can’t contain her inner meaness? But personally I find her show unwatchable; it’s just too … wierd…there’s a wierd vibe and sometimes it’s a mean one. I still can’t forget the shennanigans over the dog or dogs a while back. I kind of think she must be quite difficult to live with.

  29. Robin says:

    You don’t choose your birth name and you don’t choose your sexual orientation. According to Ellen, it’s okay to make fun of someone for their name. By her standard, then, it must also be okay to make fun of someone for their sexual orientation, right, Ellen?

  30. Mylene-Montreal says:

    This guy just want money

  31. Dani says:

    This doesn’t surprise me. I know someone who met her very recently in LA at a very popular paparazzi restaurant where people go to be seen. She waited till Ellen finished her meal and was about to leave when she asked her for a picture. Ellen sighed loudly and said ‘I don’t have time for this’ and walked away.

  32. Saks says:

    I used to like Ellen but not so much now. I first notice that passive agressive thing with Sofia Vergara. Ellen keeps mocking her accent and her culture, sometimes way too mean, and I cant help but think “well at least Sofia is bilingual, how many languages do you speak?!”

  33. Taxi says:

    The # should have never been shown. I’m sure the name has been mispronounced often. In some parts of the U.S., “tee tee” is a common euphemism for urination when speaking with small children. It’s a common alternative to “pee pee” or “tinkle.”

  34. Creme1 says:

    Interesting that they did make such a rookie error. Ellen’s show is boring on top of everything (and you don’t swim in a cut-throat pool of narcissists and hardheads without becoming one a bit yourself) and she sucks up too much to celebrities and doesn’t get a single interesting thought out of them.

  35. teacakes says:

    Yeah, Ellen needs to pay up. Also, making fun of ethnic names? Not cool. If I saw that name, the pronunciation that comes to mind is ‘tee-tee’, which is in line with Kiki, Gigi and similar names. Not ‘titty’ (seriously how old is Ellen that she thinks this is funny?)

  36. Marianne says:

    Absolutely they should have blurred out her phone number. They should be held accountable for at least that.

    Otherwise, I dont think having a laugh over the mispronunciation of her name is a big deal. I don’t think Ellen meant harm…it can sound silly. And I kind of doubt someone has mispronounced her name before.

    Also as a random fact, Titi in Filipino means penis.

  37. Alldamnday says:

    Should have blurred the number, but then again, this person already had signs up with this number, so not having a seperate business phone line (or number) as a screening option seems like poor business sense. Also who are these people who are prank calling an adult?