Kelly Ripa is coming under fire for comments she made during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Tuesday. The host of Live With Kelly and Ryan was a guest on Kimmel’s show during his week in New York and talked about her son Michael Consuelos living on his own for the first time. Ripa joked that her son is experiencing financial hardship for the first time, but her comments aren’t sitting well with some viewers.
“I think he loves the freedom,” Ripa said about 22-year-old Michael, a student at New York University. “He hates paying his own rent, and he’s chronically poor. I don’t think he ever really experienced extreme poverty like now.” Ripa said that her son has been looking forward to the annual $20 his grandparents send him for Halloween, joking that he needs the money to pay for electricity.
Michael, who has previously acted on dad Mark Consuelos’s show Riverdale, is an aspiring filmmaker and has even cast his famous mom in some of his projects. Ripa revealed that both Michael and his younger sister Lola returned home only hours after being dropped off at college, joking that Ripa and Consuelos plan on sending their youngest son Joaquin to college in another state.
Unfortunately for Ripa, not everyone is laughing about her banter on Michael’s financial status. Between Ripa’s daytime TV hosting gig and husband Mark Consuelos’s acting career, the couple are worth millions, something that viewers feel Ripa flippantly glossed over with her comments. Some viewers had fun with Ripa’s exaggeration, while others took her words more seriously, noting that poverty isn’t something one can truly experience with a multi-million-dollar safety net to catch them.
When Kelly Ripa equates her son having to pay rent to extreme poverty… pic.twitter.com/yczpIRjvJq
— NatNiemi (@NatNiemi) October 23, 2019
Kelly Ripa claiming her son lives in extreme poverty pic.twitter.com/50dLM3vbZR
— Will Rogers (@Hocclevefanboy) October 24, 2019
@KellyRipa I hope by now you realize that joking about #extremepoverty is no joke. Your son is NOT living in extreme poverty. Why not volunteer at a shelter and meet some people who live in extreme poverty?
— PJ (@pjaycai) October 23, 2019
Kelly Ripa’s estimated worth is $120 million dollars, with an annual salary of $22 million. Yeah, this kid is suffering from real poverty……GMAFB!!!!!!
— Brian T (@BrianT_714) October 23, 2019
These folks become so disconnected from reality that they see poverty as an experience. We all know that her kid can always run back to the penthouse. #KellyRipa says son Michael Consuelos is experiencing ‘extreme poverty’ https://t.co/fPcaYmttEU via @pagesix
— Steve Alfaro (@stevealfaro) October 23, 2019
Hey @KellyRipa… there’s nothing funny or clever about your remarks. Your son isn’t living in extreme poverty or any poverty. Your comments are a slap in the face to 39 million Americans living in poverty.
Poverty isn’t funny. You should learn about it.https://t.co/UZOKZstxfp
— Ingrid R Shepard (@IngridRShepard) October 23, 2019
Ripa has now responded to the online backlash, something she’s done many times before, writing in the comments section of a picture she posted with Michael earlier this week, reports CNN. “Michael goes to college and is a senior and works full time. He is in his first non-parent subsidized apt with roommates. I’m used to getting a lot of slack because people love to have fake outrage over something they didn’t see. They only read a headline and wag their tired fingers,” writes Ripa, who adds that she and her husband Mark did not grow up with privilege. “We work and we expect our kids to as well. And the fact that a pack of fools want to b–ch about that, I say let em.”
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Although Ripa’s comments were made in a lighthearted manner, it’s understandable that people are offended considering the debilitating reality of living in poverty and under the crushing weight of student debt. Still, it’s encouraging to see Ripa and Conseulos pushing their kids to work hard and succeed outside of their parents’ success.