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TV host Ellen DeGeneres defends being “friends” with former US President Bush

Popular American TV host Ellen DeGeneres has recently come under fire for her comments towards former US President George W. Bush. Pictured together at an American football Dallas Cowboys game, Ellen was seen laughing and taking selfies with Bush. After a firestorm of Tweets and criticisms asking why she, as an openly lesbian woman, would support a President who called for a ban on gay marriage as well as helped instigate the War on Terror, Ellen issued her own response:

Defending her friendship with Bush by stating that she believes that everyone should be friends with those who share different beliefs, Ellen has stated that despite Bush’s War on Terror, which has lasted almost 20 years now and killed hundreds of thousands of civilians across the Middle East and Asia, she believes a friendship can still be formed:

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 we’ve forgotten that that’s okay, that we’re all different.”

The fact that the War on Terror killed Muslim civilians, in far-off Muslim majority countries that have little interaction with everyday Americans, may well be at the heart of why it becomes so much easier to forgive and forget the atrocities of former President Bush. Bush has been almost re-branded in American media as an innocent grandfather, often described as “cute” or “peaceful” with examples given of his new hobby of painting portraits of Iraqi war veterans, for example, to help soften his image.

In response to Ellen’s defence of her friendship with Bush, many have been openly critical of her decision. Many claim that we cannot simply forget his involvement in human rights abuses and war crimes across the world in his War on Terror, and the continued support and defence of him by celebrities and politicians only highlights the blatant disregard for Muslim lives and dignity:

While Ellen and her show have long been praised for its discussions and support for so-called liberal ideas and morals, it becomes worrying when she openly supports a former President who arguably did more to support Islamophobia than any other President alive. With Bush’s involvement in the War on Terror, that left hundreds of thousands of civilians dead across the world with countless more severely traumatized and destitute, it becomes imperative on our parts to not let faux celebrity friendships cloud our judgements when it comes to war criminals and human rights abusers being held to account.