Ellen Degeneres Called Out As ‘Racist’ Clips Of Her Mocking Sofia Vergara’s Accent Resurface
After accusations of racism behind the scenes of The Ellen Show, a clip has resurfaced of DeGeneres repeatedly ridiculing Modern Family actress Sofia Vergara for her accent.
The video posted on Twitter shows a compilation of uncomfortable interviews between DeGeneres and Vergara, who is Columbian-American, in which she tries to teach the actress an “English word of the day” and remarks that her accent is “getting worse.”
People were outraged at DeGeneres’ comments. Some branded her “racist” and others called out Ellen’s hypocrisy since she has never said she speaks more than one language, so presumably she only speaks English.
The video doesn’t even cover the full extent of Vergara being made the butt of a joke. In one appearance, DeGeneres dressed up as the actress for Halloween.
While many found DeGeneres’ comments offensive, others tried to dismiss it a joke, saying that it’s “not that deep.” But as many bilingual people in the Latinx community have argued, monolingual people don’t understand the struggle of being othered and ostracised for your accent. For immigrants especially who are repeatedly told to learn the language and assimilate, being persistently mocked for your accent is extremely discouraging.
These jokes towards Vergara are indicative of the misguided belief that English proficiency is a sign of intelligence, and the entitled expectation that everyone should be fluent in English.
Considering that Vergara studied dentistry before pursuing acting, you could hardly accuse her of being unintelligent. It’s simply just easier for her to express herself in her native language than English, and she should be applauded for her fluency in two languages, not mocked.
Modern Family even addressed this issue in an episode, as Vergara’s character Gloria spoke out about being ridiculed for her broken English.
These resurfaced clips follow multiple accusations of a toxic work culture from employees of The Ellen Show, who say they have “faced racism, fear and intimidation”, according to an explosive article from Buzzfeed News. Several producers have denied these allegations, but the show is currently under an internal investigation.
In another tweet, comedian Kevin T. Porter asked his followers for stories about DeGeneres, calling her “one of the meanest people alive.” Among the hundreds of replies, people accused Degeneres of instructing employees to not look her in the eye, as well as firing employees just for speaking to her. DeGeneres hasn’t commented on these allegations.
If one thing’s for sure, it feels like the backlash against DeGeneres isn’t going anywhere.