On Tuesday night, Ashton Kutcher lent his support to Ellen, tweeting: "I haven’t spoken with @TheEllenShow and can only speak from my own experience. She & her team have only treated me & my team w/ respect & kindness." Then he took time to respond to the ensuing backlash. Kutcher is just one of several big names who've stuck up for Ellen over the past week, including Katy Perry, Scooter Braun and Suzanne Somers. The problem with the messages of support, says Justin Kirkland is that, while nice, they are beside the point. "While well-intentioned, it suggests that someone who did something good in your immediate life couldn't be guilty of doing something bad to someone else," says Kirkland. "In an era when people are brave enough to speak out against injustice and unsafe work situations, potentially risking their reputations and sources of income, those voices are being met by a series of 'well, but' statements. And the biggest issue with it is that those 'well, buts' are strikingly without context. Perry (a regular Ellen guest) and Braun (a record executive with a bench of clients who frequent DeGeneres' show) and Somers (a wealthy celebrity herself) are almost certainly going to have a different experience with DeGeneres than a production assistant might. Not to mention, it's not about 'being mean.' These refrains from celebrities ignore the culture and the circumstances in which these anecdotes allegedly took place, and use the massive platforms of Perry and Braun and Somers to suggest to their audiences that DeGeneres should be absolved based on their firsthand experiences. Coming to the defense of the people we love is a natural reaction, but it's also one that comes with consequences. Our reputations and influences have a butterfly effect that we forget a lot of the time, even in our small, plebeian circles. To volunteer your own unprompted, warm sentiments about DeGeneres and her show, especially in the cases where celebrities are leveraging millions of followers, is to passively say that the people brave enough to come forward and fight for the job that surely pays them less than the big names on the marquee (especially amid a pandemic) should shut up. Ellen DeGeneres has blazed trails for LGBTQ people, donated to countless charities, and made you feel good in your sad spot for the past 17 years. We can be grateful for that while also holding onto our knee-jerk reactions about her. Her trailblazing, in other words, has absolutely nothing to do with what's alleged to have happened behind the scenes of her show."
TOPICS: Ellen DeGeneres, NBC, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Ashton Kutcher, Katy Perry, Scooter Braun, Suzanne Somers, Daytime TV