Ellen DeGeneres Compared Quarantine to Being in Jail and People Are Not Happy

Ellen DeGeneres made even some of her most devout fans angry on Tuesday after making a joke that compared COVID-19 quarantine to jail. The comedian hosted The Ellen DeGeneres Show from her home for the first time due to social distancing regulations, and the joke—which, again, was delivered from DeGeneres' upscale home—didn't land.

"[Being in quarantine] is like being in jail," the host said. "It's mostly because I've been wearing the same clothes for 10 days and everyone here is gay."

Fans immediately slammed the comedian for comparing her lavish lifestyle to a prison sentence. It comes at a time when many people are also reminding their friends and family that being able to quarantine in the safety of one's own home is a privilege, not devastation.

Ellen DeGeneres
US comedian Ellen DeGeneres introduces Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus during the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards on January 26, 2020, in Los Angeles. ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty

COVID-19 continues to spread throughout America and other countries, though Wuhan, China, where the virus spread first, has officially reopened. One giant concern in America is the probability of a prison pandemic, which could see COVID sweep through aggressively due to tight confines and a lack of resources. Because of this, some prison systems have already turned to freeing inmates.

Twitter hounded DeGeneres for the comment. It even led to some researching DeGeneres' home and financial background to compare both to a small, state-funded jail cell.

People are literally dying in jail from COVID-19 while Ellen is out here making jokes about it. https://t.co/Z8cdnMDF5b

— Rebecca Kavanagh (@DrRJKavanagh) April 8, 2020

What a great look for Ellen as thousands of people sit in actual jail cells just hoping for the best without soap and basic protections https://t.co/RBytt0Kl4B

— Caroline Darya Framke (@carolineframke) April 7, 2020

ah yes because i’m sure ellen’s 27 million dollar home undoubtedly stocked full of food, ammenities, toiletries and any other thing that is inaccessible to the incarcerated population right now is absolutely comparable to being in jail ❤️ Stay strong queen! https://t.co/cwqyiUl2uH

— riley (@lgbtop) April 8, 2020

Ellen, a rich celebrity: I hate this quarantine so much. It feels like jail.

Me: I love it so much. I get to work from the comfort of my own home and I don't have to socialize with anyone.

— ❤️ SocLib Princess ❤️ (@libertarian_fem) April 7, 2020

My 19 year old daughter is considered an "essential employee". She's a fast food worker. She's exposed EVERY DAY.

No one GAF about Ellen's privilege pampers a$$ stuck in her mansion.

Show me @ellen working the lines @ the grocery store. NO mask, NO gloves. Then I might care.

— April - #NoWarButCLASSWar (@opnmindtexas) April 7, 2020

Others used DeGeneres' statement to ask for quarantine measures to end, or simply claimed the joke was funny.

Just think how rest of us feel! Ironically, while Ellen is spoiled, liberal, Hollywood brat...she is right. Isolation & loneliness can’t go on. It will kill more people than disease. Think of poor NYers in apartments in Bronx. That was my upbringing. https://t.co/coAIZ0Su4k

— Wayne Allyn Root (@RealWayneRoot) April 7, 2020

Being a person working one week, quarantine one week and repeat until this is all over....having a son in his 30's, that HAS been in jail a few times, and has himself said quarantine is like being in jail..am I offended by Ellen's remarks? No! It was meant to be funny people!

— Tena Ross (@TenaRoss12) April 8, 2020

So Ellen said that quarantine in her home is like jail! Because you don’t change your clothes for 10 days and every one is gay! I thought that was funny and cleaver! I laughed! The internet tore her apart! #whendidbeingfunnybecomeacrime? #keyboardwarriorssuck

— Nicology101 (@rybanic19) April 8, 2020

So far, DeGeneres hasn't commented on the backlash or issued an apology. Of course, this isn't the first time she's drawn the ire of the internet. In 2019, DeGeneres came under fire for her friendship with former President George W. Bush, after the two were spotted at a Dallas Cowboys' football game together.

She responded in a monologue on her show. "They thought, 'Why is a gay Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative Republican president?'" she shared. " A lot of people were mad. And they did what people do when they're mad... they tweet."

When it comes to the current coronavirus crisis, DeGeneres also isn't the only celebrity to be criticized for making tasteless comments. Don't forget that Vanessa Hudgens shrugged off the idea of quarantining—and the fact that many lives are at stake.

"Even if everybody gets it, like yeah, people are going to die, which is terrible... but inevitable?" she said via an Instagram Live video in March.

She later apologized for the insensitive remark. First, she claimed it was "taken out of context," and later issued a longer apology. "This has been a huge wake-up call about the significance my words have, now more than ever," she wrote.