Ellen DeGeneres Stirs Controversy for Joking Social Distancing Is Like "Being in Jail"

One of Ellen DeGeneres' latest social distancing jokes did not go over well among some viewers.

By Corinne Heller Apr 08, 2020 3:06 PMTags
Watch: Ellen DeGeneres Considers Ending Her Daytime Talk Show

One of Ellen DeGeneres' latest social distancing jokes did not go over well among some viewers.

Three weeks after suspending production on The Ellen DeGeneres Show amid the coronavirus pandemic, the 62-year-old comedienne resumed her talk series on Monday from the living room of one of her and wife Portia De Rossi's multi-million dollar California mansions.

"One thing that I've learned from being in quarantine is that people- this is like being in jail, is what it is," she said. "It's mostly because I've been wearing the same clothes for 10 days and everyone in here is gay. The jokes that I have. I feel bad for the kids at home, all the college students, all the parents. I feel bad for a lot of people. But I think that a lot of people out there need words of encouragement, and that's what I want to do. I want to spread light where there's shade."

While the online responses to her comments appear to be positive, shade and sarcasm are what she received from some viewers.

'This is like being in jail'......how full of yourself do you have to be to think sitting on your arse in your mansion is somehow anything like jail?" one person asked on YouTube "I think someone needs a bloody reality check."

Celebs Giving Back Throughout the Coronavirus Pandemic

"She's in fabulous jail," another YouTube user wrote. "Where she wakes up to a freshly made latte, sits in her beautiful sunroom and cries about not being able to leave."

"What a lovely $27 million dollar prison you have," a third person wrote.

"I live in 740sqf and it's doesn't feel like jail to me," another YouTube user wrote. "This is because I always have something creative to do. She, like many others, are useless."

Ellen has not responded to the negative remarks, which people also made on Twitter.

"Except your 'jail' is a warm home, with access to soap, hot food, and you're not likely to contract a deadly virus because you're stuck in a 6x8 concrete cell with people who could potentially infect you with #Covid19," tweeted user @BreatheNewWinds. "What a sadly out of touch and entitled thing to say, Ellen."

"Ellen wouldn't know the half of what people go through who are in jail & living under cruel conditions," tweeted user @HoodSocialism. "Ellen is one of the worst & her level of neoliberalism is dangerous."

During her show's short hiatus, Ellen has been entertaining her fans with home videos of her demonstrating her boredom at home—she toyed with the idea of completing a large puzzle, for examples—and, to the delight of many, phone calls with celebrities such as Jennifer AnistonChrissy Teigen and husband John Legend and Jessica Biel and husband Justin Timberlake.

Watch: Angelina Jolie Donates $1 Million Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Ellen has also offered words of comfort and used her star power and platform to encourage people to continue practicing social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

"I hope you like what we're doing with these shows," she said on her show on Wednesday. "I hope it can take your mind off of what's happening. I want to say that we know this is a very serious situation that we're all dealing with. So if anyone is at home sick, I'm sending you love. I'm thinking about you. And we're all doing our part. We're staying home, making sure nobody gets sick."

For the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic and for tips on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, please visit The Center for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov. To plan your vaccine, head to NBC's Plan Your Vaccine site at PlanYourVaccine.com.