Comedian and talkshow host Ellen DeGeneres has come under fire, after making a joke that has backfired, on the first day back to her talkshow, on Monday. The 62-year-old, has been on the receiving end of a firestorm of condemnation after she jokingly said, “One thing that I’ve learned from being in quarantine is that … this is like being in jail, is what it is. It’s mostly because I’ve been wearing the same clothes for 10 days and everyone in here is gay.”
De Generes had been recording her show from the comfort of the living room of her $27 million mansion in Montecito, California.
After doubling over with laughter and clapping her hands together, she added, “The jokes that I have!”
The Emmy winner’s comment received an onslaught of backlash on social media, where viewers pointed out that inmates at overcrowded and often unsanitary prisons in the U.S. are particularly susceptible to the COVID-19 spread.
“What a great look for Ellen as thousands of people sit in actual jail cells just hoping for the best without soap and basic protections,” one Twitter user wrote. Another tweeted, “Ellen you quarantining in your mansion in designer sweats is nothing like prison.”
One critic pointed out that DeGeneres and her wife, Portia de Rossi, have a penchant for buying houses, fixing them up and selling them to make a profit. Architectural Digest published a timeline in 2019 that included at least 17 properties the couple have owned since 2003.
Despite the backlash, some viewers were undeterred by DeGeneres’ joke. One thanked her for “holding our nation together and helping people however you can,” while another tweeted, “Your show today made me smile and giggle and forget for the time being about my severe financial issues cause of this horrid situation.”