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Reese Witherspoon and Kristen Bell Defend Ellen DeGeneres’ Friendship With George W. Bush

Ellen DeGeneres found herself under fire after she was spotted sitting next to former president George W. Bush at a Dallas Cowboys football game — and the criticism she received only intensified after DeGeneres defended the unlikely friendship. But the saga doesn’t end there: Hollywood actresses are coming to the host’s defense — and getting dragged for doing so.

When DeGeneres was initially called out for spending time with the politician, she faced the backlash head-on on her talk show. “Here’s the thing: I’m friends with George Bush,” DeGeneres explained in in monologue. “In fact, I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have. We’re all different, and I think that we’ve forgotten that that’s OK. … Just because I don’t agree with someone on everything doesn’t mean that I’m not going to be friends with them. When I say, ‘Be kind to one another,’ I don’t only mean the people that think the same way that you do. I mean be kind to everyone.”

To say that DeGeneres’ statement was polarizing would be an understatement — but some of DeGeneres’ famous fans are standing up for the comedian. Reese Witherspoon tweeted a quote for DeGeneres’ monologue while thanking the host for raising an important point about kindness, but she received some comments that were distinctly unkind.

One Twitter used commented: “this reeks of privilege. there are people who literally want the death of other people or at least the denial of their basic human rights. expecting marginalized communities to babysit bigots’ feelings, to “bE kInD” as tho we’re disagreeing abt pineapple on pizza is so ignorant.” Another added: “Rich people stick together no matter what. It kinda sickening how they defend a man responsible for so many deaths as if the only difference is they both have different taste in movie genres.”

Another actress who came to DeGeneres’ defense? Kristen Bell, who posted her support on Instagram. Like Witherspoon, Bell is facing major criticism. “There is a big difference between sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner with your uncle who watches too much Fox news and paling [sic] around with the guy who lied us into a war that killed a million innocent people,” one follower commented.

Are there complicated, divisive issues being raised here? Absolutely. There is a lot to unpack about politics, Hollywood privilege, and many more issues. But, ultimately, DeGeneres’ message about kindness is a good one — and one that’s worth considering, even if you disagree with DeGeneres and her defenders on this issue.

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