Is Ellen DeGeneres Mean? Her Jokes At Sofia Vergara’s Expense Would Suggest So

Ellen DeGeneres has fallen in a lot of hot water recently. While she was once beloved for her wholesome persona and openness about her sexual orientation, many celebrities have come out and said that her persona masks a habit of bullying and being mean behind the scenes.

On top of other celebrities who have spoken up about her poor behavior, people who worked behind the scenes have also spoken about being mistreated and verbally abused. Many people were taken aback by these revelations. However, other people realized that there had been incidents in the past that may have revealed the true Ellen. Was Ellen this mean all along?

Who is Sofia Vergara?

Sofia Vergara has been working in television almost as long as DeGeneres. She got her start on the Univisión in the 1990s before taking English-language roles in the 2000s.

In 2009, she was cast as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on the ABC sitcom Modern Family, and from there, her fame exploded. By 2012 she became the highest-paid actress on television and kept receiving massive pay for her acting work.

However, Vergara’s story is bigger than her acting. Vergara comes from Colombia, a country that has faced political strife and violence for years. While Vergara’s family was relatively well-off, this did not mean that they never faced hardship.

In 1998, Vergara’s older brother, Rafael, was killed in an attempted kidnapping. This murder was never solved.

Regardless, Sofia Vergara took this as a sign to stay and do her work in the United States, where she would be safer. While Vergara does not frequently discuss her brother, she has talked about her grief and pain occasionally, like in a recent episode of America’s Got Talent.

Less than five years later, Vergara was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Fortunately, she was able to have her thyroid removed and the cancer has not spread or caused other problems. But there are complications that come from having a thyroid removed, and Vergara has had to keep on top of medication and frequent doctor’s visits to ensure her continued health.

Sofia Vergara on ‘The Ellen Degeneres Show’

Vergara has been a regular guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Her first appearance was in 2010. Vergara’s native language is Spanish, and while her grasp of English is strong, her voice demonstrates her Colombian heritage. Because of this, DeGeneres — the two are both spokespeople for Cover Girl and have appeared in ads together — had Vergara perform a public prank that involved her heavy accent.

This is not the only time that DeGeneres has used Vergara’s accent for comedy. In another episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, DeGeneres jokingly “taught” Vergara English words, even though Vergara is fluent in English. In other clips, DeGeneres would make fun of how Vergara pronounced certain words, and mimic the pronunciations to her face.

While these incidents were spread out over the years, they do show a pattern. And after the revelations about DeGeneres being less kind and wholesome than she presented herself, fans of Vergara looked back and are empowered to voice concerns about how DeGeneres made jokes about Vergara’s accent.

Problematic implications

Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres | Brooks Kraft/Getty Images

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Vergara does has a sense of humor about her accent. However, when put together, the clips with DeGeneres and Vergara seem to show DeGeneres laughing at Vergara about her accent, not with her.

Fans pointed out: “If anybody said those things in real-life settings, nobody would be laughing.” They also said that the way that DeGeneres joked about Vergara’s accent was more “cringeworthy” than anything.

In these clips, what many people saw was a white American making jokes at the expense of a Latina woman’s accent. It’s also a privileged and tone-deaf joke — not to mention mean-spirited, the antithesis of DeGeneres’ “kind” brand — considering Vergara doesn’t owe anyone fluent English, as she is fluent in her native tongue.

Whether DeGeneres holds racist views is debatable. She’s criticized President Donald Trump for anti-immigration policies in the past, but she has not said anything about how she herself treated Vergara, an immigrant woman.

Even if DeGeneres has said that she is against people “being treated unfairly, not equal, or — worse — disregarded,” these past episodes in combination with the current investigation has made many fans see her as hypocritical. If anything, it spotlights how celebrities (and people) can be champions of some social causes, but still have problematic views.