It was Katy Perry’s birthday on Wednesday, so natuarally, that meant that all her A-list celebrity friends would be posting cute photos and messages on social media. One such post got a whole lot of attention, and not the good kind. Ellen DeGeneres got some heat for posting a photo of herself, her wife Portia De Rossi and Perry where Ellen is staring gobsmacked at Perry’s bosom. She captioned the photo ‘It’s time to bring out the big balloons’–a lyric from Perry’s 2013 song, ‘Birthday.’
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) October 25, 2017
Now, maybe last year that kind of thing would have gone by unnoticed, but not in October 2017 when there have been literally hundreds of sexual assault and harassment allegations flying around Hollywood. At a time when women are finally feeling comfortable enough to come forward and talk about their experiences with sexualization and abuse, a post like this is tone-deaf at best.
Twitter users pointed out that if a man had posted anything of that nature, he would have been skewered by the Twitter community immediately. They then proceeded to skewer Ellen (which kind of weakens their own argument in a way). We should call out this kind of thing and people did.
If a man made this joke, Ellen would lead the cries of ‘SEXIST PIG!’ https://t.co/lgXNX82Nk8
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) October 25, 2017
Double standard much?
— LMaC (@LMac_1326) October 25, 2017
She’s obviously just having a laugh, but the issue is the double standard.
If a white, straight man did this, he’d be nailed to the wall.
— 6old Digger☄️ (@6oldDigger) October 26, 2017
Not appropriate, regardless of gender. I’d be offended if this tweet was about me on my birthday.
— Janet (@janetcwalsh1) October 25, 2017
Others pointed out the hypocrisy in posting an image like that when Ellen has been so outspoken the last month about exposing the sexual harassment in Hollywood. Why would someone who has been so supportive of victims and vocal about the system that allows this kind of thing to happen post something like that?
That is disgusting and so hypocritical considering current events. Thought you had more sense Ellen.
— Tish (@tish08902) October 26, 2017
Insensitive timing. Might be OK in private but not in public on Twitter right now. Enables more abuse and belittles #metoo
— Tom Geldner (@Geldner) October 27, 2017
Some users went as far as to compare DeGeneres directly to Weinstein, but an important distinction needs to be made here. Yes, she objectified Perry and sexualized her, but she is friends with Perry (though that doesn’t make it okay) and they are both women (still not okay) so there isn’t the same power dynamic as a male executive coercing a young female into a sexual relationship. It’s not okay, but it’s not fair to compare Ellen to Weinstein. She made a poor judgement call, she didn’t spend 30 years forcing women into sexual situations with the implication that their careers were on the line.
Ellen ogling Katy Perry's boobs isnt same as Weinstein.She doesnt have systemic power/history of sexual assault https://t.co/LrCUL6RzgW
— Mia Brett 👸🏻 (@QueenMab87) October 27, 2017
So Ellen slipped up. It’s a good thing that people pointed it out and that we don’t accept it simply because she’s a woman or a feminist.