Entertainment » Celebrities

Was Ellen’s Liza Minnelli Joke Transphobic?

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Monday Mar 3, 2014

During the opening monologue of Sunday's 86th Academy Awards, host Ellen DeGeneres made a crack at Liza Minnelli -- the joke has since been labeled by some in the social media universe as transphobic and mean spirited, the Washington Post reports.

"I have to say hello to one of the best Liza Minnelli impersonators I've ever seen my entire life.," DeGeneres said. "Just really, seriously. Good job, sir."

The camera quickly cut to Minnelli who didn't look so pleased with the joke (her expression is forever memorialized with this gif), and it didn't resonate that well with the audience either.

It wasn't long before Twitter users took to the social media website to express their outrage, especially LGBT people, who said DeGeneres' joke was transphobic. The Washington Post aggregated a few tweets calling out the comedian's now controversial jab.

"I did not appreciate Ellen's mean joke about Liza. I found it transphobic and disrespectful," filmmaker Bruce LaBruce tweeted Sunday.

"Ellen DeGeneres, #Oscars emcee, pulls out a Liza-tranny joke that must've been laying around from last year's MacFarlane edition," said Chicago Tribune film critic Michael Phillips.

"If you missed what transmisogynist thing Ellen did, she called Liza Minelli an impersonator and said "Good job, sir". Lesbian icon, folks," Twitter user Emily Aviva Kapor wrote.

Minnelli was attending the Academy Awards for the show's tribute to "The Wizard of OZ," the film her mother Judy Garland starred in. About two hours after DeGeneres made the crack, the two women peacefully posed together for a selfie (though Minnelli was blocked out of the celeb-studded group selfie, which became the most retweeted tweet ever), the New York Daily News reports.

Watch DeGeneres's full monologue below (the Minnelli joke comes around the 2:15 mark):


  • Bob K, 2014-03-04 05:12:51

    It was a DRAG QUEEN Liza Impersonator joke, and Liza was totally in on it. Trans people supporters should not go gunning for drag queens.

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