“Actually, no, that’s not the truth, Ellen.”
Since that fateful exchange, countless accusations surrounding the talk show host have gained momentum. The most notable example from Kevin T Porter, a writer and comedian, whose March Twitter thread called for people to share their stories of DeGeneres’s allegedly abhorrent behaviour, directly contradicting the show’s central “be kind” message.
The thread received over 3,000 responses with people eagerly sharing their experiences of working, often very briefly, for the star’s popular talk show.
DeGeneres’s success has been based on her perceived likability and her replacement has to live up to that.
However, I think we have moved past the need for unthreatening queerness.
Being a notable, likeable queer does not translate to advances in LGBT+ rights.
Many of those who watch The Ellen DeGeneres Show will laugh along at her jokes and then switch off their televisions and vote for politicians who are actively working to restrict her rights.
If 2020 has shown us anything, it’s that we aren’t as far along in the fight for equality as we thought we were. Being visible is no longer enough, her replacement needs to be a visible, vocal advocator.
DeGeneres’s position as a high profile lesbian and how the landscape of LGBT+ rights has shifted since she came out is something that will never be forgotten.
But perhaps it’s time we make space for other queer voices and more diverse queer stories to enter people’s homes through daytime television.
Because although DeGeneres’s decision to live her life openly has opened doors for many, perhaps her palpable queerness has left many others behind.