People are calling Ellen DeGeneres tone-deaf after one of her jokes about coronavirus bombed this week. She is now being called out after comparing self-quarantine to “being in jail.”
Ellen, like many other TV hosts, has made her show virtual as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. She has been posting many videos to Instagram and YouTube from her home.
On Monday, she made a broadcast that rubbed many of her viewers the wrong way. In the video that has since been deleted, she said:
“One thing that I’ve learned from being in quarantine is that people—this is like being in jail. It’s mostly because I’ve been wearing the same clothes for 10 days and everyone in here is gay.”
“I feel bad for the kids at home, all the college students, all the parents,” DeGeneres continued. “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.”
By Wednesday afternoon, the video was unavailable on YouTube. But some early viewers left comments about the video’s tone-deaf approach.
Viewers considered Ellen’s remarks insensitive. This is especially true during a time when prisons across the United States are seeing spikes of inmates testing positive for coronavirus.
One viewer commented on YouTube, “Sitting inside her fifteen million dollar mansion complaining and comparing it to a prison. Very tone-deaf, Ellen.”
Another viewer on Twitter commented, “Except that people in jail can’t practice social distancing, don’t have enough water or toilet paper and are going to die at exceptional rates from COVID-19. Except for that, Ellen, your quarantine experience is just like being in jail.”