Ellen DeGeneres & other celebs are getting called out for their tone-deaf statements

Ellen Degeneres attends the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 05, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California © Jill Johnson/jpistudios.com

2020 has been the year of Cancelled Celebrities. I check Twitter every morning, and it feels like overnight, Twitter peeps have cancelled yet another celebrity. Some of those cancellations are well-deserved, and some of those Twitter callouts have gotten celebrities to apologize and make statements (Jimmy Fallon), but sometimes I don’t really see the point of just screaming into the void because a celebrity isn’t reacting perfectly to national or worldwide events. No one really knew what to do or say about the pandemic other than “stay home” and “take precautions.” Gal Gadot offered up that terrible “Imagine” cover/video and that was kind of the end of homemade quarantine projects from celebrities.

Now that everything is the absolute worst and kids are being tear-gassed and journalists are being beaten and black folks are still being killed by police, what is “the right thing” to do if you’re a wealthy celebrity with millions of followers and fans? Again, I don’t have the answer because there is no one answer. I think people should do whatever feels authentic to them, and to the white celebrities, I would say… listen to black activists and amplify their voices. Do what THEY suggest. Very few white celebrities are doing that though. Michael Blackmon at Buzzfeed did a fascinating piece about how so many celebrities are “being useless right now.” Blackmon points out: “Our culture’s collective tolerance for bullsh-t is at an all-time low, which is also why celebrities — and brands — are being called out for their hollow statements, pitiful donations, and sometimes outright disrespectful stances on the protests sweeping the nation.”

Blackmon calls out a lot of corporate statements, which I’ll include below, but I somehow missed that Ellen DeGeneres had to do a tweet-and-delete because she made yet another tone-deaf, weak-ass statement. This is what she posted over the weekend:

“People of color in this country have faced injustice for far too long. For things to change, things must change.” Deep huh. Obviously, people were not happy about it, so she replaced it with this:

The thing is, I expect Ellen to be tone-deaf. I expect Kendall Jenner to be tone-deaf. I expect a lot of these celebrities to not know what to say, because none of them wants to be the first one to tweet “f–k the police.” Should we expect more? Probably. But if we expect more, we’re just going to be disappointed. Ellen has shown who she is before now – believe her.

Here’s the NFL’s statement. Colin Kaepernick is still blacklisted from the NFL for his entirely peaceful protest of police brutality against black people.

Tiger Woods’ statement is awful. But, again, I wasn’t expecting anything from him.

A compilation of corporations who don’t actually support black people.

President Trump presents the Medal of Freedom to Tiger Woods

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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43 Responses to “Ellen DeGeneres & other celebs are getting called out for their tone-deaf statements”

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  1. Case says:

    All these statements are bad, but how dare the NFL comment on this when they told players they could protest off-camera in their locker room or be fined. How dare they.

    • Snazzy says:

      I saw a number of people on Twitter calling them out for it, and rightly so

    • Darla says:

      The NFL was really bad. Then the Washington Redskins tweeted out an empty black box yesterday and said black out tuesday or something. Man, did THEY get dragged. Where are the PR pros?? I’m going nuts. I see all this happening, and I have a background, and I feel like my brain is going to fall out. I even see it on FB. OMG the Karen isht going on. I can’t even get too much into it I’m afraid someone will piece it together. I almost had to be tied down yesterday, but the person in trouble is just not someone who takes advice. I could have shut it down in five minutes, but no, she kept digging.

  2. BlueSky says:

    TW was and is garbage, making sure not to alienate his white friends and fans. GFY

  3. Priscila says:

    Ugh Tiger Woods.

  4. Lucy2 says:

    Oof, Tiger’s is really bad.
    Did the NFL put this out there hoping no one would remember Colin Kaepernick?

    • Carol says:

      Jeez, so these Celebrity comments are not perfect. I mean come on. Of all the things people can get upset about, this is the dumbest. The absolute dumbest

      • Lucy2 says:

        Like it or not, celebrities have a platform and an amplified voice. Some use that well and step up as leaders, others…not so much. Why is it a problem to call those out?

        Also, I have to point out, this is a celebrity focused website, so that is going to be discussed here.

      • Erinn says:

        Really? Because it seems to be the least dumb. They literally lost their shit over a black man who peacefully protested and now they’re trying to convince others to think that they care about protest and injustice? Quite honestly, that was one of the MOST hypocritical statements out there.

      • Charlie says:

        It matters, because celebrities don’t exist in a vacuum. They are the amplification of the societies we create.

        I was one when the the Watts riots happened. My daughter was one when the South Central riots happened. That hollow “for things to change they have to change”, is the very real, physical manifestation of history repeating itself because we have not (and for too many will not) learned from our past.

        Change is action. Blowing smoke when you have the forum, the funds, the means to bring about change – then you are the problem.

  5. BC says:

    Just. So. Angry. Blind with anger. When i come back to my senses , i will block all these fools from my digital life. Sending love to all African Americans and all African migrants all over the world

  6. MrsBump says:

    i’m not american, so perhaps i am missing something here.

    But why do people care SO MUCH about what celebrities have to say? I feel like all this focus on them, whether it is calling celebrities out for not saying the right thing or applauding them for the right tweet is just hijacking the voices of those protesting.

    • Darla says:

      You’re right actually. I totally agree with this. But Twitter is gonna Twitter.

    • Sof says:

      Yes, I’m wondering the same. It looks as if they expect more from celebrities than politicians.

    • josephine says:

      I agree – this is what stood out to me from above —

      “Michael Blackmon at Buzzfeed did a fascinating piece about how so many celebrities are ‘being useless right now.’”

      Celebrities are just being useless NOW? “Celebrities” are useless. But the problem is with us – we make these people famous and practically ship them our money by buying the crap they endorse. We can be the change, and it includes ending the worship of people who have little value. Let’s pay more attention to those who are actually doing good in this world, who are decent, who are hard-working. Actors entertain, and that’s great and should be rewarded with fair pay, but let’s stop rewarding all of the “celebrities” whose real claim to fame is humiliating themselves, and let’s stop pretending that actors, musicians, etc. are anything other than talented people who entertain.

    • Christina says:

      @mrsBump, this is true. Entertainers are exploded in importance in the U.S. It’s bread and circuses, a distraction so that people of color, and now many newly low-income white people, don’t notice that they are being shafted economically, so that we will blame ourselves.

      Black and brown people don’t anybody’s pity. We want economic stability and to not be constant targets of white insecurity and narcissism. We want to enjoy our achievements and not have them dismantled because we are considered a threat. We want opportunity, not hand outs.

      COVID-19 has exposed how ineffective the government has been at truly protecting its citizens, at protecting all of us, but Black and brown people have suffered this since the inception of the the States. Now working class whites are upset because they can’t just kick the person below them to feel better. THEY STILL WANT TO as Trumps more violent supporters demonstrate, but they are at the bottom, too, and football is supposed to distract from the fact that you can’t find a secure job with a pension and benefits, and that Steve Mnuchin and Jared Kushner will always be A-OK and never cared about you anyway.

    • Kayleigh says:

      Have you seen who was elected president? Celebrity influence in America is staggering.
      For some reason people think if you’re on TV you deserve to be listened to.

    • Emily says:

      It’s because they have an unbelievable amount of money, and in the United States, money = power. Capitalism is based on it. So here they are, with all this money/power, that they more than likely don’t deserve (at least, no so disproportionately) and so we expect more of them. Their lives have been made very cushy/easy by their money, and it feels like part of the social contract that that means they should do good things with it. Especially someone like Ellen, whose TV persona tells us to “be kind to one another” and has more money than any of our families will ever see for generations.

      Also, we have a chance to get celebrities to listen. And if they believe that protesting or donating looks good for them, they’ll do it. And they’ll use their money to support candidates for office in ways we never can.

  7. Betsy says:

    I think it was Yvette Nicole Brown who asked on Twitter whether the three white triangles on Tiger’s statement are supposed to be Klan hoods.

    In that last pic of him, he looks like his soul is leaking out of his eyes.

  8. Chelly says:

    Tone.Deaf.

  9. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I think another reason, albeit probably subconscious, is that nobody is listening. We yell and yell and yell at our political representation for everything and for months and months, and it’s simply fruitless. Major shit goes down because nobody ever listens and acts upon grievances so we pounce. We pounce on celebrities, instastupids, anyone we can really. In the midst of our country actually burning, however, spouting need for change is laughable. If all a celebrity feels like doing is offering lip service, they need to StfU.

  10. AMM says:

    At this point, the celebs either need to stay silent or actually show up. Emma Watson, for example. No one would have even noticed if she didn’t say anything. She’s British and as far as I can remember hasn’t made money off of appropriating black culture or gone after Movies that show her as a white hero or savior. But she decided to speak up by putting up a black square on Instagram (with a white border so it matched her aesthetics) and nothing else. No links or text or anything. She ended up trending on Twitter for negative reasons when almost no one was looking at her beforehand. She inserted herself into a conversation by doing the bare minimum.

    Celebs like Arianna Grande were being looked at considering how controversial she’s been with appropriation, and she went out to a march instead of just hash tagging BLM on Twitter.

    We shouldn’t care about what celebs think, but if they want to get an Oscar nom for otherwise benefit from being involved in minority communities, then they need to actually show up.

    • MrsBump says:

      how does one get an oscar from being involved in minority communities ?

      • osito says:

        I think that “for” was a typo (read as “or” uncouples the Oscars from relation to minority communities), but the points AMM made about cultural appropriation fit here.

        There’s also been lots of public discussion of the weight of black buying power — without access to the approximately $1.2 trillion collective spending power of the black American community, there will be no Oscar noms or Grammys or Emmys… I don’t think that’s what OP was referencing, but it also fits.

        And lastly, careers and awards campaigns are built over *years*, and appearing woke without actually having to lift a finger can generate a lot of positive spin around a celebrity persona, which translates into money and clout. As a black woman who completely agrees with AMM, I have to say that it feels really awful to know that for many, this performative solidarity means nothing and possibly has a deleterious effect, and yet it still further enriches people who profit from white supremacy.

      • SofiasSideEye says:

        Because, like it or not, actors get oscars through mostly PR. We follow gossip and we know when we’re seeing people like Ben Affleck and his family for reasons of PR. It needs to be pointed out that these people usually only do things for others if there’s a benefit there for them.

        I think it’s always important to point out hypocrisy when we see it especially among people who use Social media to constantly promote themselves. If they’re going to put themselves out there as someone whose down for the cause they’d better be actually doing something other than just yet again trying to center themselves. Or they need to shut up and let people who know what they’re talking about have the stage for once because we’ve heard enough from them already.

      • AMM says:

        I meant all the white actors that flock to period pieces about slavery or the holocaust in order to get an easy Oscar nomination, and then never ever mention the communities ever again.

      • osito says:

        Ah, AMM, sorry for misunderstanding. I still think your point was absolutely correct.

    • Jules says:

      I see your point but celebs need to do more than just post something on insta. Because that just looks like PR, that they took 2 minutes to post something and then went back to their lux life and tuned out what is actually going on in the world. So if we are gonna talk celebrities we need to look at their lifestyle and the gross inequality of wealth in the US and across the world. The fact that actors and athletes make ridiculous amounts of money compared to teachers, medical professionals, etc. That celebs have closets full of of designer clothes, shoes and bags while others are homeless, have no food. So at this point it’s not so much about showing up, it’s more the simple fact that the very fact that celeb lifestyles and worship has gotten to this point. And it is disgusting, and it needs to change.

  11. Veronica S. says:

    There’s huge drama among the cast members of a show fandom I’m in because the black cast members called out their fellow white members for taking a few days to respond, and like….I get their anger. I really do. They have a right to their fury about something that directly affects them, especially since the black male cast mate went on to talk about his encounters with police as a young man. But on the other hand, it’s like….it’s impossible to be anything BUT a spectator to race in America when you’re white, even more so if you’re a wealthy celebrity, and how do you post about it without feeling like an asshole that’s coming across as pandering or possibly tone deaf and self-congratulatory about a donation, especially on a platform as toxic as Twitter? Not to mention the horrific stress everybody’s under already from the pandemic that’s left so many overwhelmed over the past week with it all compounded. (Or people who can’t, for one reason or another, be part of the protests, who are just donating inside.)

    I don’t know if there’s a right answer sometimes. Like I want to believe celebrities should have the responsibility to use their platforms to promote good, but the reality is that so many of them are uneducated or inarticulate that I’d almost prefer if they didn’t at times. And also just the general assumption people make that social media activity translates to real life utilization of their privilege to do good – for all we know, a hashtag is just that and nothing is being done behind the scenes. I’m not going to police the anger of black celebrities and social media voices because, holy shit, do they have a right to that anger, but the rest of us need to stop pretending social media is the end all of social justice. Frankly, with how powerfully weaponized it has been by Russia and other entities, I don’t know more people haven’t left those platforms yet. I’d rather direct my anger at the institutions that are creating these problems than put too many energy into celebrities who will change nothing.

    • Darla says:

      I’d love to know which show? If you don’t want to say, ignore the question please.

      I agree with all of your points. I’m definitely not here to police black thought or anger, and if they want to call out certain celebrities, especially their co-stars, whom they know a lot better than I do, that’s their business. But I’m white and my attention needs to be on institutional racism, and not to mention, my own damn family.

    • ethy says:

      “But on the other hand, it’s like….it’s impossible to be anything BUT a spectator to race in America when you’re white”

      Have you been listening? White people need to be ANYTHING but spectators in this fight because at the core, racism is a problem within white people. And celebrities with a platform should 100% be using it.

      Black people are tired of excuses.

      • osito says:

        I support you, Ethy.

        @Veronica and Darla, you don’t really understand why those black cast mates — some of who probably thought of their white cast mates as *friends* — were angry? Like, you’re saying you do, but then you go one to say that it makes sense that their white cast mates can’t say things like “publicly executing people for non-capital offenses is both illegal and wrong, and Derick Chauvin should be prosecuted for doing so” or “racism is wrong and it’s time for racist systems to be dismantled” or to express any form of empathy. You understand their *silence*, when they are using their black friends and co-workers as human shields and that silence as a wall. And then you go on to make this incredibly condescending argument where black people get to be angry about “lesser” things like celebrity (but we earned it, I guess!) but “everybody else” needs to focus on the “real” problems. Maybe see the focus on celebrity as an aspect of American society that reflects and broadcasts a subset American ethics and moral values? It has value because people pay attention to it.

        There are correct answers here. Maybe the first one you need to learn is that “Racism is wrong and won’t be tolerated” is a message that is *never* patronizing. The second is that silence is complicity, and if you have an especially large platform and sphere of influence, then your silence can shift society’s collective opinion to a place where members of the white hegemony are the true victims of the racist structures that were built to protect them and not the other way around. Again, that you think white people can’t be anything but spectators on race speaks to your sense of ingrained and learned white fragility. The correct answer is that we need you to be made of tougher stuff.

      • Veronica S. says:

        I am not disagreeing. My statement on being a spectator is not that white people should stand by and do nothing. To clarify, I’m talking about spectatorship in terms of *experience,” which may have not been the proper term to use. My intent was to state that white people cannot possibly imagine the experience of black Americans at anything from a distance and must be aware of that. We can witness it, we can be involved in social justice movements against it, we can speak out again that, but at the end of the day, I get to go home and have the privilege of being white. That is essentially what white privilege is – the ability to move through a society without the experience of the racialized context. Being able to say, “This is wrong and racism is wrong” is not at all the same thing to me as being able to speak from the experience and standpoint of somebody who is black and having to live with that experience of blackness in a country that is racist. That is all I meant by that statement – not that whites shouldn’t be using their privilege to fight racism or that it is not an moral imperative but that the experience of blackness is not something we can truly empathize with on an absolute level, which is why I question whether our voices are the ones that should be highlighted right now.

        I did not at all mean to suggest that they don’t have a right to that anger – I absolutely do not think they’re at all wrong to call out their coworkers – but was looking at it more from the problematic aspect of leaning so heavily on celebrity as we do on a culture specifically because they are separated from society by so many levels of privilege. However, you are right that my point was thoughtless and, inevitably, rather privileged, and I apologize for that. I’m conflating a lot of my frustration with the way social media has been weaponized by interest groups, which is a separate issue, and should have thoughtful about how that came across – not that *only* black people should care about this subject but more that people in general should be questioning the value of input by people so wealthy and privileged that it’s their ONLY point of recommendation for speaking. I apologize for that, and you are right, I do need to examine and be more aware of how my own privilege influences my perspective on it in ways I in which I may not be aware, but to clarify – no, I’m not of the opinion that white people should be standing by in race issues. My worry is about the power and reach of social media as the only gauge for social justice effort because inevitably the real work has to be done at the political level. I’m just very aware after doing years of groundwork in civil rights and union organization in my twenties how easy it not to follow through with a promise stated publicly, so I’m extremely wary of giving it too much weight.

      • osito says:

        @Veronica — thanks for clarifying your point. Your second statement makes more sense, but white people experience white supremacy by both directly and indirectly benefitting from it. They can speak from that experience. In fact, it’s becoming a requirement that they speak from that experience.

  12. GoogleIt says:

    Instead of Kristen Bell posting images on Instagram of white cops and the bright side of police, it would have been a good time for her to apologize for taking a role as a biracial character.

  13. a reader says:

    HA! Judd called out my employer.

    I wish I could discuss what my corporate overlords have been communicating to employees about this but I can’t risk being doxxed.

  14. Tiffany says:

    You can add Hugh Jackman to that list. But its been a minute for him and his privilege anyway.

    • Anon says:

      Jackman is good friends with… Jared and Ivanka Kushner… and a very good friend of Rupert Murdoch. To the point of publicly defend these awful people.

  15. Ms_The_Tea says:

    As an inside – the combination of facial fillers and pointed ears and a monk-like haircut is an interesting choice. Yeah, I went there…

  16. Ines says:

    Celebrities are “being useless right now.” Correction: celebrities ARE useless. Why do we give them so much power? Many of them barely have an education. Their job is to look good and sell films, or shows, or music.

    On thing they do have is money, so I suggest that If they want to be useful (and look good in the process, which we all know they do), they should make a contribution to a civil rights organisation, share the link and ask their followers to support as well, either by donations, or with likes, follows and shares.