Ellen DeGeneres baffled fans recently when she hung out with President George W. Bush — but she says she’s not ashamed of their friendship.
DeGeneres, her wife Portia de Rossi, and George and Laura Bush all sat next to each other in a luxury suite at the Dallas Cowboys-Green Bay Packers game on October 6. People were very confused, and many were upset that a pioneering lesbian icon was cozying up to a conservative politician with an anti-LGBTQ track record.
On Monday, DeGeneres took to Twitter to address the concerns directly. She explained herself in a video that’s almost four minutes long.
“People were upset,” she said. “They thought, ‘Why is a gay Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative Republican president?'”
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) October 8, 2019
“Here’s the thing,” she continued. “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 that we’ve forgotten that it’s okay that we’re all different. … Just because I don’t agree with someone doesn’t mean I’m not going to be friends with them.”
Some fans were far from satisfied with this response, claiming that it’s not just about “beliefs.” The former president attempted to deny civil rights to people just like Ellen. He vocally opposed gay marriage as a central point of his 2004 re-election campaign. Moreover, the rights of LGBTQ workers are up in the air right now, and Bush’s presidency still has an effect on the outcome, as another Twitter user explained.
The Supreme Court is about to decide whether it’s legal to fire people just because they’re LGBT. I hope Ellen enjoyed her football game with the guy who put Roberts and Alito on that court. Bygones! (He also personally campaigned to get Kavanaugh appointed.) pic.twitter.com/mUwrXJsSiy
— Raphael Bob-Waksberg (@RaphaelBW) October 7, 2019
But others are on Ellen’s side, claiming that her friendship with Bush is a sign of progress.
This shouldn’t trigger you.
This should give you hope for our future. ✌🏽
— BAM (@swimbrave) October 6, 2019
Clearly, Ellen isn’t phased by the criticism. The talk show host recently signed a deal for four new shows on HBO Max.