Ellen DeGeneres Called Out For Jokingly Comparing Self-Isolating In Her Mansion To 'Being In Jail'

The talk show host was criticised for an ill-timed joke during her first at-home episode amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Ellen DeGeneres has been called out on social media for jokingly comparing self-isolating in her mansion to “being in jail.”

The daytime talk show host relaunched her eponymous talk show after a three-week hiatus amid the coronavirus pandemic and offered up the expected platitudes (“I want to set you free”) and some celebrity guests (John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, of course).

But she also managed to spark some backlash for joking, from her palatial mansion in Southern California, that: “One thing I’ve learned from being in quarantine is that ... this is like being in jail.

“Mostly because I’ve been wearing the same clothes for 10 days and everyone in here is gay,” she quipped in a YouTube video that’s racked up hundreds of thousands of views.

While making the underfunded and crumbling criminal justice system the punchline of a joke isn’t the best move in any climate, the incarcerated population is particularly in jeopardy during the ongoing public health crisis, as coronavirus sweeps through prisons across the US at an alarming rate.

Amid calls for non-violent offenders to be released on bail during the pandemic, steadily increasing numbers of inmates have tested positive for the respiratory virus. The Rikers Island jail complex in New York has been one of the hardest-hit facilities, with confirmed cases for 167 inmates and 137 staff members, as social distancing is a near impossibility due to overcrowding.

On Sunday, an inmate at the Rikers became the first in a US city jail to die after contracting Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

So, naturally, Ellen’s joke didn’t sit well with many on social media.

Her prison crack notwithstanding, Ellen offered her gratitude toward essential workers and others on the frontlines during the coronavirus crisis.

“Usually I walk out and people applaud me, but today I’m applauding you — nurses, doctors, hospital staff, first responders, supermarket employees, truck drivers, everyone who keeps us going, thank you so much,” she said.

Ellen has yet to respond to the backlash, but she’s not exactly a stranger to courting controversy.

She faced criticism last year after photos were published of her palling around with former President George W. Bush despite his poor track record on LGBTQ rights, among other issues.


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