Posts

makeup

ColourPop Faces Backlash After Harry Potter Collab

ColourPop is facing backlash for releasing a new “Harry Potter” themed makeup collection in collaboration with the franchise. The author of the “Harry Potter” series, J.K. Rowling, stirred up controversy in 2020 after revealing her views on the transgender community.

ColourPop is one of the most popular online beauty brands. In 2019, it surpassed Glossier and Mac in monthly visits.

Several influencers opposed the collab, citing that the collection would support Rowling monetarily. Since ColourPop used the Harry Potter logo and brand, some of its profits would have to go to Rowling under licensing agreements.

Embed from Getty Images

J.K. Rowling came under fire in June 2020 after posting a series of transphobic tweets. In response to the internet backlash that ensued, she doubled down on her views, suggesting trans-rights supporters are “offering cover to predators” in a 3,600-word essay.

The internet quickly labeled her a “trans-excluding radical feminist,” colloquially known as a TERF. The cast of the Harry Potter movie series, Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint, all publicly stated their support for the trans community soon after.

ColourPop is well known for releasing pop-culture-themed collaborations. In the past, the beauty company has released products themed around Star Wars, Sailor Moon, The Mandalorian, Animal Crossing and many others.

These collaborations are usually celebrated since the brand likes to release vibrant palettes that capture the iconic shades tied to pop-cultural references. The promo posts for this collaboration on ColourPop’s Instagram, however, were riddled with comments from influencers and loyal customers criticizing the brand.

“Wow, performative activism. You can’t claim to support marginalized groups and then collaborate and actively support and give money to those who hate and discriminate against those groups. Posting a fundraiser for an LGBT group instead of donating yourselves, and y’know, not collaborating with a TERF. Not it, Colourpop.”

Embed from Getty Images

ColourPop’s social media engagement strategy was one of the reasons it became one of the most popular beauty brands used by influencers with millions of followers. Temptalia, a well-known beauty blog with one million monthly readers, called out the company for not addressing the criticism head-on.

“I’m just gonna say it again… Not even having the decency to acknowledge WHY some of your customers are upset (because the creator, JK Rowling, has made transphobic comments over and over again, on top of other issues she has both past and present) is so damn disappointing… on top of green-lighting this collection anyway.”

The collaboration is still on sale on the site. It is unclear how much money Rowling would make off any profits.

pride

Far-Right 4channers Launch Attack on the Trevor Project’s Suicide Hotline

The far-right website 4chan launched a coordinated attack against The Trevor Project—a nonprofit organization focusing on suicide prevention among LGBTQ youth.

A post on the website called for users to inundate The Trevor Project’s hotlines with false phone calls for help and inaccurate location information. In a collective effort to use up as many of the organization’s resources as possible, users aimed to prevent at-risk LGBTQ youth from receiving assistance in their most critical moments.

The Trevor Project’s website lists grim statistics on suicide rates among LGBTQ youth. Nationally, suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10-24. At least one young person in the LGBTQ community attempts suicide every 45 seconds.

“The Trevor Project’s 2022 Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that 45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth.”

Embed from Getty Images

 4chan began as a messaging board in 2003 and quickly became known for its population of internet “trolls.” In recent years, the “alt-right” movement has taken over the website. The original post to mobilize was made on its most active board, “/pol/,” which stands for politically incorrect. In 2022 “/pol/” was the most active board on the website, serving as a primary platform for far-right extremists.

Real-world violence has been linked to the board. Racist, white supremacist, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, misogynistic and anti-LGBTQ commentary riddles its front page. In April, the gunman who shot four people in Washington D.C. posted a video of the shooting on 4chan. The perpetrator of the mass shooting in a Buffalo supermarket in May released a 180-page manifesto with language lifted directly from the website’s boards.

Users of the board referred to The Trevor Project as an organization of “groomers,” a term frequently used by the far right to equate the LGBTQ community and their advocacy with pedophilia.

Embed from Getty Images

Due to the influx of calls, the nonprofit had to place a banner atop its website that listed there would be delayed wait times as they struggled to maintain the demand for assistance.

In a statement to The Daily Dot, the nonprofit spoke on the morality of this coordinated attack.

“The act of attacking a crisis services line intended to prevent suicide among young people is egregious. Our crisis counselors work around the clock to be there for LGBTQ youth who feel like they have nowhere to turn, and it’s harrowing that anybody would attempt to compromise our lifeline or encourage suicide.”

The Trevor Project intends to continue its advocacy work despite the attacks, vowing to protect its counselors and people seeking its service. It is the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis organization for LGBTQ youth.

mobile

GLAAD Report Shows Social Media Giants Aren’t Doing Enough To Protect LGBTQ Users

When it comes to protecting groups that are vulnerable to slurs and harassment, a new report shows major social media platforms are falling short.

According to advocate group GLAAD’s Social Media Safety Index (SMSI), which assesses and provides recommendations for the five major platforms (TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter), all platforms scored below 50% out of a possible 100%.

The SMSI grades platforms on 12 LGBTQ-specific factors, which include gender pronouns on user profiles, third-party advertisers, content moderator training, actions to restrict harmful content, and stopping the removal of or demonetizing legitimate LGBTQ content.

Embed from Getty Images

Coming in the highest was Instagram (48%), while TikTok came in last with 43%. Twitter scored the most zeros across the 12 categories with five. How LGBTQ members are received on social media plays a big role in the real world, GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis explained.

“This type of rhetoric and “content” that dehumanizes LGBTQ people has real-world impact. These malicious and false narratives, relentlessly perpetuated by right-wing media and politicians, continue to negatively impact public understanding of LGBTQ people — driving hatred, and violence, against our community,” Ellis said in a letter.

Ellis noted that the strategy of using misunderstanding and hate to help support legislation by politicians, which have proposed 325 anti-LGBTQ bills since the start of 2022, is something “we’ve seen across history.”

The SMSI grades line up with how users feel. A survey by GLAAD found that 84% of LGBTQ adults agree there aren’t enough protections on social media to prevent discrimination, harassment, or disinformation, while 40% of LGBTQ adults and 49% of transgender and nonbinary people don’t feel safe on social media.

The five platforms did excel in certain areas. Meta (the parent company of Facebook and Instagram) was just one of two that disclosed information on the training of content moderators while having a clear policy on prohibiting LGBTQ-offensive advertising.

GLAAD also highlighted TikTok and Twitter’s feature of preventing users from misgendering or deadnaming nonbinary and transgender people and recommended all platforms follow that innovative lead.

Embed from Getty Images

“This recommendation remains an especially high priority in our current landscape where anti-trans rhetoric and attacks are so prevalent, vicious, and harmful,” GLAAD’s senior director of social media safety, Jenni Olson, said.

However, those positives were overshadowed by a sea of negatives that ultimately resulted in failing grades. Most were docked for their policies’ limitations and enforcement, while GLAAD explained TikTok was lacking “adequate transparency” in several areas.

“The company currently does not disclose options for users to control the company’s collection of information related to their sexual orientation and gender identity,” the report said, recommending it should give users control over their own data and diversify their workforce.

“Notably, TikTok was the only company that did not disclose any information on steps it takes to diversify its workforce.”

Ellis called the companies’ performances “unacceptable.” “At this point, after their years of empty apologies and hollow promises, we must also confront the knowledge that social media platforms and companies are prioritizing profit over LGBTQ safety and lives.”

The safety of social media is particularly important when considering the vulnerable states of young LGBTQ users. According to The Trevor Project, 45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered committing suicide in the last year, while 73% reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety.

Despite Death Threats, Jerusalem Proceeds With Pride Parade

Despite death threats against the organizer and lawmakers planning to attend, thousands of participants marched in Jerusalem’s annual pride parade, showing their determination and expression even in the face of danger.

This year’s march, which marked the 20th anniversary, attracted over several thousand and finished without a major incident. Police also arrested three individuals suspected of making threats about the event.

Embed from Getty Images

Police presence was heavy, with some on rooftops and a helicopter soaring above. All in all, there were about 2,400 officers present. Police identified and monitored around 180 people who were considered suspicious, with 20 of them likely to try and attack. The parade has been the center of previous attacks such as in 2016, when an Israeli man stabbed a 16-year-old to death while injuring several others.

Addressing the crowds at the end of the parade, Speaker of the Knesset Mickey Levy said that he was “shocked to the depths of my soul” over the threats made, and that he came to “stand against this evil specter.”

“You are entitled to love who you want, you are entitled to marry who you love, you are entitled to raise a family like anyone else. These are not privileges, these are basic rights for every citizen in the country.”

Public Security Minister Omer Barlev also gave some encouraging words to attendees, stating that the event was “a victory of light over darkness, a victory of sanity over extremism.” Barlev expressed disappointment that police had to watch over the event, instead of “protecting citizens from crime and terror.”

“We will not allow the Pride Parade to take place in Jerusalem, the holy city. Shira Banki’s fate awaits you,” was the message of the threat sent to liberal Labor party politician Gilad Kariv, a longtime LGBTQ supporter, and organizer Emuna Klein Barnoy.

Embed from Getty Images

“This post surprised me this morning and is definitely very disturbing. On the other hand, it is an important reminder of the importance of the march in Jerusalem,” Barnoy said before the march, still emphasizing others to come. “I believe that the real answer to this kind of incitement and threats is that everyone who supports freedom, equality and pluralism in the State of Israel will come to march with us tomorrow.”

“Our power as one large and powerful unit will make it clear in the clearest way that the LGBTQ-phobic cries that grate our ears belong to a marginal and extreme minority.”

The parade faced opposition elsewhere with Lehava, a far-right anti-LGBTQ group, holding a counter protest not far from the center of events. While Middle East countries have shown inequality towards LGBTQ communities — with it even being a crime and punishable of up to 14 years — Israeli has become a friendly destination for them.

Controversial ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Passes In Florida Senate

On Tuesday, the Florida Senate passed a bill that would disallow any kind of instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in the state’s kindergarten through third grade, while being criticized for its potential to marginalize the LGBTQ+ community.

The legislation is titled the Parental Rights in Education bill, but has become known by opponents as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. With the 22-17 vote in hand, it now heads to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is in favor and expected to sign.

Embed from Getty Images

“Don’t Say Gay” passed through the Florida House last month. The bill also “prohibits school district personnel from discouraging or prohibiting parental notification & involvement in critical decisions affecting student’s mental, emotional, or physical well-being.” Parents would be able to sue school districts in the event of violations of “Don’t Say Gay.”

The bill would not prohibit classroom discussions about students’ families that are LGBTQ or LGTBQ history. However, it doesn’t actively promote what can be discussed, while further confusion  — and lawsuits — could occur should parents decide what kind of gender identity and LGBTQ talk violates the bill thanks to vague legislative language.

Backlash has been swift, with some students in the state organizing walkouts as a form of protest. “This bill, from its introduction, has been used as vehicle to marginalize and attack LGBTQ people,” Democratic Rep. Carlos G. Smith said — noting it sends a terrible message to children — while President Joe Biden had previously called the legislation “hateful.”

On the other side of the political spectrum, supporters of the bill like Republican Sen. Danny Burgess feel it will help to give parents more control over what their children do (and don’t) learn from the education system. “This bill says parents, your right to raise your children does not end when they walk into a classroom,” Burgess said ahead of Tuesday’s vote.

“This bill recognizes that parents are not the enemy. The bill simply says that there should be an age limit on certain discussions, it’s not a new concept, nor is it radical.”

Embed from Getty Images

The bill has also attracted the attention of an entertainment giant. Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced he will be meeting with DeSantis — along with LGBTQ+ members of their senior team in Florida — to discuss the bill.

According to Chapek, Disney — which has made numerous efforts in various media and attractions to become more diverse and inclusive — was opposed to the “Don’t Say Gay” legislation from the beginning, but opted not to take a public stance and instead work behind the scenes, “engaging directly with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.” “Ultimately, we were unsuccessful,” Chapek said.

In addition to the meeting, Disney will be donating $5 million to LGBTQ activist groups while signing the Human Rights Campaign’s statement that opposes similar legislations. “I understand our original approach, no matter how well-intended, didn’t quite get the job done. We are committed to support the community going forward,” Chapek stated. Disney currently employs over 62,000 workers in Florida.

Legislations that target LGBTQ+ communities have been enacted at a record-setting pace, with 2021 seeing 17 laws passed, the most since 2015’s 15. Florida possesses 12 bills currently being considered that Freedom For All Americans terms “anti-LGBT.” Should DeSantis sign the bill, it would go into effect on July 1.

President Biden Reflects On ‘Deadlist Year On Reacord For Transgender Americans’ During Day Of Remembrance 

President Joe Biden released a statement for Transgender Day Of Remembrance, where he paid tribute to “those we lose in the deadliest year on record for transgender Americans.” 

“We also remember the countless other transgender people, disproportionately Black and brown transgender women and girls, who face brutal violence, discrimination, and harassment.” 

The White House marked the day on Friday with a vigil in the Diplomatic Room of the White House, hosted by second gentleman Doug Emhoff. 

Transgender Day of Remembrance is meant to be the final day of Transgender Awareness Week, and it takes the time to memorialize victims of anti-transgender violence all across the country. The Human Rights Campaign recently declared 2021 as the deadliest year on record for transgender and nonbinary people, with at least 45 transgender or gender-nonconforming people on record being killed in hate-filled acts of violence. 

Embed from Getty Images

 “Our hearts are with all who knew and loved the 45 people who have been killed this year. The march to end this epidemic of violence continues.” White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a tweet.

Within his statement, Biden called on the Senate to pass the Equality Act, which amends the 1964 Civil Rights Act to protect people from being discriminated against based on sexual orientation and gender identity. 

“The Equality Act will ensure that all people are able to live free from fear and discrimination, a right all Americans should have.” 

The Equality Act was passed in the House back in March, but has since been stalled by the Senate. “In spite of our progress strengthening civil rights for LGBTQI+ Americans, too many transgender people still live in fear and face systemic barriers to freedom and equality,” Biden wrote.

According to news reports, “the administration also released a report Saturday from the first Interagency Working Group on Safety, Opportunity, and Inclusion for Transgender and Gender Diverse Individuals, which is made up of representatives from the US Agency for International Development, the Departments of State, Justice, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Education, Homeland Security, Labor, Interior and Veterans Affairs, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the US Interagency Council on Homelessness.”

Embed from Getty Images

The report also emphasized that the “violence against transgender Americans is the direct result of systemic anti-transgender stigma and hate, pervasive discrimination, disproportionate criminalization, and marginalization and exclusion of gender minorities, with violence against transgender communities heightened today due to a historic spike in legislation targeting transgender people for discriminatory and unjust treatment.”

Biden’s statement is the latest in a series of administrative motions that aim to support the LGBTQ+ community. Biden has since revered former president Trump’s ban on transgender Americans in the military, reinstated a special envoy for LGBTQ+ rights, and issued the first presidential proclamation to mark Transgender Day Of Visibility as an official day in March. 

Beyond the heightened violence that transgender Americans have faced this year, from a legislative standpoint their rights were also being consistently threatened. In fact, 2021 also marked a record year for anti-transgender legislation; 100 bills have been introduced among state legislators across 33 states all of which aimed at restricting the rights of transgender individuals. 

A majority of the bills target transgender youth, to which Bien responded:

“To ensure that our government protects the civil rights of transgender Americans, I charged my team with coordinating across the federal government to address the epidemic of violence and advance equality for transgender people,” Biden stated. 

“I continue to call on state leaders and lawmakers to combat the disturbing proliferation of discriminatory state legislation targeting transgender people, especially transgender children. Today, we remember. Tomorrow — and every day — we must continue to act.”

U.S. Issues First ‘X’ Gender Mark On Passport

According to a statement released on Wednesday by Ned Price, a U.S. State Department spokesman, passports will now carry an “X” gender marker for “non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming persons.” The Department stated it hopes to add the option to all routine passports by early 2022.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken had previously announced in June about the Department’s intentions to change the issuance of U.S. passports for all genders and identities. “The process of adding a gender marker for non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming persons to these documents is technologically complex and will take time for extensive systems updates,” Blinken stated at the time.

Embed from Getty Images

Prior to his election, President Joe Biden had made a promise to progress accurate LGBTQ+ identifications through the use of gender markers on legal documentations, building upon what the Obama-Biden administration had started.

Speaking to CNN Travel back in March, Gemma Hickey — a Canadian who identifies as “trans masculine nonbinary” and uses they/them — had a bad experience in 2017, when airport officials questioned their documentation. Hickey, who was flying to Ontario for top surgery, described themself at the time as being “vulnerable.”

Now, Hickey has expressed their happiness after the country finally issued a third-gender document in 2019.

“I was just delighted to report, after the fact, that I didn’t have any issues, especially for young people out there who are concerned about this.”

According to the Associated Press, the U.S.’ first “X”-gender passport was given to Colorado native Dana Zzyym who, like Hickey, also uses a gender-neutral pronoun. Zzyym had been in a legal battle over passport identification with the U.S. government since 2015, after he put “intersex” above the “M” and “F” boxes – which led to his passport being denied.

Zzyym was born a male, but had “ambiguous physical sexual characteristics.” After several surgeries that failed to make Zzyym appear fully male, they then decided to identify as intersex. As the AP notes, due to his passport being denied, Zzyym was unable to attend an International Intersex Organization meeting.

“I’m not a problem. I’m a human being. That’s the point,” Zzyym told the AP, while also stating this battle is important for the next generation of intersex people who want to be recognized as citizens with equal rights.

Also speaking to the AP was U.S. special diplomatic envoy for LGTBQ rights, Jessica Stern. Stern commented that the passport decision brings legal documents in line with “lived reality.” Additionally, Stern explained that when a document shows a person’s true identity, that person is given greater respect and dignity.

Embed from Getty Images

The U.S. isn’t the first country to adopt a third gender on its passport. Argentina, India, Germany, Iceland, Canada, Nepal, and Australia are just some of the countries to also adopt X’s and O’s in order to promote inclusion for the LGBTQ+ communities worldwide.

Still, other nations are reluctant to change identification procedures. In March 2020, a campaigner lost a court of appeal challenge in the U.K. after calling for gender neutral passports. The High Court had previously denied the bid in 2018.

Additionally, legal licenses in the U.S. have already had gender markers for quite some time. Arkansas has been issuing “X” drivers licenses since 2010, and 20 states since 2017 have also followed suit. Yet, according to the 19th News, not all LGTBQ+ updated their licenses to include the “X,” possibly due to further harassment and unwanted attention. Only time will tell if those individuals feel the same way about three-gender passports.

Trans Netflix Employee Suspended As Dave Chappelle’s ‘The Closer’ Special Finds Itself In LGBTQ Firestorm

Stand-up comic Dave Chappelle is known for pushing the boundaries on many cultural, racial, and sometimes controversial topics while almost always turning them into laughs. However, his recent Netflix special, “The Closer,” has come under heavy scrutiny for anti-LGBTQ comments.

“The Closer” is Chappelle’s sixth Netflix stand-up special, and his first feature length special since 2019. As of Wednesday, it sits at third overall in Netflix’s top-10 shows in the U.S. During the special, Chappelle touches down on a number of issues that were the driving factor behind the sudden outrage.

Embed from Getty Images

Chappelle joked about DaBaby’s recent homophobic comments— where the rapper stated HIV and AIDS can kill you in two-to-three weeks— saying he “punched the LGBTQ community right in the AIDS.”

“DaBaby shot and killed a n**** in Walmart in North Carolina. Nothing bad happened to his career,” Chappelle said. “Do you see where I am going with this? In our country, you can shoot and kill a n**** but you better not hurt a gay person’s feelings.”

Chappelle later discussed how the LGBTQ community canceled notable people such as Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, and called himself a TERF (trans-exclusionary radical female), which refers to a feminist who disregards transgender women from being part of their fight for women’s rights.

“I’m team TERF. I agree. I agree, man. Gender is a fact… Every human being in this room, every human being on earth had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on earth. That is a fact.”

In regards to the acronym of TERF, Chappelle said that trans people just “make up words to win arguments.” Chappelle also stated he wasn’t a fan of “newer gays,” calling them “too brittle and sensitive,” and detailed a fight between him and a trans woman who he “beat the toxic masculinity out of.”

Chappelle’s comments caused such a stir that three Netflix employees — one of them being Terra Field, a queer/trans senior software engineer — barged into “QBR,” or quarter business review, which is a virtual, two-day meeting with Netflix’s top employees.

Embed from Getty Images

Having not been invited to QBR, Field and the two other employees were promptly suspended by Netflix. While the billion-dollar streaming company has since reinstated her, Verge reported that Netflix’s trans-employees have organized a company-wide walkout on Oct. 20.

Field took to Twitter to post a lengthy thread explaining how Chappelle’s stand-up routine was hurting the LGBTQ community.

“Promoting TERF ideology (which is what we did by giving it a platform yesterday) directly harms trans people, it is not some neutral act. This is not an argument with two sides. It is an argument with trans people who want to be alive and people who don’t want us to be.”

According to Variety, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos sided with Chappelle in a memo, stating that Chappelle is one of the most popular stand-up comics today while citing Netflix’s history with him. “As with our other talent, we work hard to support their creative freedom,” Sarandos said, “even though this means there will always be content on Netflix some people believe is harmful.”

The public reaction to Chappelle’s special have been greatly mixed. “Dear White People” trans executive producer Jaclyn Moore tweeted that she would no longer work for Netflix if they continue to put out transphobic content.

On the opposite side, black trans stand-up comic Flame Monroe, speaking with Yahoo! Entertainment, explained that as a comedian, she wouldn’t want to be censored, and that it’s a comedian’s job to bring uncomfortable issues to the forefront.

What did Chappelle, 48, have to say about the matter? “If this is what being cancelled is like, I like it.”

Ellen Sign

Ellen DeGeneres Draws Criticism for Friendship with George W. Bush

On Sunday, Ellen DeGeneres drew attention for what seemed to be an unlikely occurrence: she was spotted in a suite at AT&T Stadium watching a football game while seated next to none other than former President George W. Bush. Initial reactions to the pairing were ones of humorous bewilderment; it seemed inconceivable that DeGeneres, a Hollywood liberal who is happily married to her wife Portia de Rossi, would be so close with a President who infamously supported a constitutional amendment to define marriage as being a union between one man and one woman. 

This surprise turned into outrage as Twitter users argued that Bush, responsible for starting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, was in fact a war criminal whom DeGeneres ought not associate herself with. The controversy, which continues to unfold even after DeGeneres addressed the criticism by urging kindness among people with political disagreements, speaks to the increased polarization of modern American culture and raises questions about the role of celebrity in shaping the image of politicians even after they leave office.

Embed from Getty Images

Adopting her trademark cheeriness and sunny disposition, DeGeneres sought to downplay criticisms of her friendship with the former president by stressing the importance of remaining civil even with people who don’t “think the same way you do,” and asserted that it’s okay not to share beliefs with people whom you consider to be your friends. Reaction to DeGeneres’ monologue were split; while many viewers applauded the talk show host for her willingness to extend an olive branch across the ideological divide that characterizes much of American political life, other, more vocal critics accused DeGeneres of leveraging her privilege as a celebrity to whitewash Bush’s image when she had an obligation to instead call him out for his crimes. 

This is but one criticism of the event; other denizens of the Internet pointed out, in detail, the former president’s long history of advocating policies that discriminate against LGBTQ people, and some argued that DeGeneres’ philosophy of kindness was ill-suited to the modern political era. The general consensus among internet thinkpiece authors was that DeGeneres enjoyed the privilege and freedom of being able to maintain friendships with people who represent harmful political ideologies because her celebrity status protects her from the consequences of these ideologies.

The fact that several other celebrities, including Kristen Bell, Blake Shelton, and Reese Witherspoon quickly took to social media to rush to DeGeneres’ defense did little to satisfy critics who saw DeGeneres’ friendship as an example of how celebrity privilege can whitewash criminal behavior. Rather, these same critics interpreted this wave of celebrity defenses as an example of class unity, as rather than engaging with the arguments of people with genuine political grievances, the celebrities simply protected a member of their tribe.

Embed from Getty Images

That being said, a handful of celebrities were among those voicing their dissent. On Twitter, Mark Ruffalo suggested that “we can’t even begin to talk about kindness” until Bush was “brought to justice for the crimes of the Iraq War,” among which he claimed were “American-lead torture, Iraqi deaths & displacement, and the deep scars—emotional & otherwise—inflicted on our military that served his folly.” And Susan Sarandon, quoting a piece from out.com, suggested that Degeneres’ lighthearted framing of her friendship with Bush was disingenuous, as she treated the former president as someone of differing opinions rather than acknowledging his numerous accusations of being a war criminal.

Whether or not one considers DeGeneres’ handling of the controversy to be responsible, the episode has opened up a broader conversation about celebrity privilege and how fame enables even members of marginalized groups to tacitly support oppression under the guise of friendship. While DeGeneres and her allies would argue in favor of reconciliation between political groups as an opportunity for healing during an era of extreme partisanship, those who are on the receiving end of political oppression would beg to differ.