The opinions of a number of celebrities are split over talk show host Ellen DeGeneres’s defence of her friendship with former President George W. Bush, after a photo of the pair and their spouses seated next to each other at an NFL game this past weekend went viral.
After taking some flack over her friendly hangout with Bush, the 61-year-old “Ellen” host addressed the issue when opening her show on 8 October.
Yes, that was me at the Cowboys game with George W. Bush over the weekend. Here’s the whole story. pic.twitter.com/AYiwY5gTIS
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow)
”Here’s the thing. I’m friends with George Bush. In fact, I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have. We’re all different, and I think we’ve forgotten that that’s OK that we’re all different,” DeGeneres said.
The TV personality went on to add that just because she didn’t agree with someone on everything did not rule out her friendship with them.
“When I say “be kind to one another”, I don’t mean only the people who think the same way you do”, DeGeneres added.
There was a mixed reaction from a number of celebrities online to Ellen DeGeneres’s monologue.
A twitter post quoted by The Hill attributed to Reese Witherspoon, that has since been deleted due to much criticism, praised the TV host on Tuesday:
“Thank you for this important reminder, Ellen! ‘I have friends who don’t think the same things that i do. When I say be kind to one another, I don’t mean be kind to the people who think the same way you do. I mean …Be Kind to Everyone.’”
Another fan of the television personality, actress Kristen Bell posted DeGeneres and Bush’s photos together on Instagram with the caption: “She’s my [queen!]”
However, actor, producer and activist Mark Ruffalo took issue with the comedian’s response and call for general kindness after hanging out with a man whose “résumé” includes the invasion of Iraq in a tweet on Wednesday afternoon.
“Sorry, until George W. Bush is brought to justice for the crimes of the Iraq War, (including American-lead torture, Iraqi deaths & displacement, and the deep scars—emotional & otherwise—inflicted on our military that served his folly), we can’t even begin to talk about kindness,” Ruffalo wrote.
Sorry, until George W. Bush is brought to justice for the crimes of the Iraq War, (including American-lead torture, Iraqi deaths & displacement, and the deep scars—emotional & otherwise—inflicted on our military that served his folly), we can’t even begin to talk about kindness. https://t.co/dpMwfck6su
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo)
Actress Susan Sarandon also had a negative response to Ellen DeGeneres’s “kindness” statement, tweeting a quote from comments on her remarks published by Out magazine on Tuesday.
“But missing the point entirely, DeGeneres framed the issue as simply a matter of her hanging out with someone with different opinions, not a man repeatedly accused of being a war criminal,” the quote read.
“But missing the point entirely, DeGeneres framed the issue as simply a matter of her hanging out with someone with different opinions, not a man repeatedly accused of being a war criminal.” https://t.co/OCyYEfNRQl
— Susan Sarandon (@SusanSarandon)
Addressing the backlash generated by the sight of Bush and DeGeneres together at the Sunday game, in a statement to Fox News, a spokesman for the former President said he and the former first lady “really enjoyed being with Ellen and Portia [de Rossi] and appreciated Ellen’s comments about respecting one another”.