Ellen accused of being ‘transphobic and disrespectful’ over Liza Minnelli ‘impersonator’ jibe

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Television star Ellen Degeneres has been accused of being “transphobic and disrespectful”, for a joke she made about Liza Minnelli whilst hosting the Oscars.

Whilst hosting the 2014 Academy Awards at the weekend, the openly gay host joked that Liza Minnelli was actually an impersonator.

She said: “Hello to the best Liza Minnelli impersonator I’ve ever seen… Good job, sir.”

Some took to Twitter to express disapproval of the comment, suggesting that it was offensive to trans people.

Famed director Bruce LaBruce was one of those to heavily criticise the jibe.

The selfie he refers to was taken with stars including Meryl Streep, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Lawrence, Lupita Nyong’o and Bradley Cooper. It went viral and was retweeted by over three million users.

LaBruce also tweeted that Ellen has “as much edge as contemporary western gay culture,” and that she makes “everything seem elitist”.

Today, he tweeted an article titled: “7 Reasons Why Liza Minnelli Was the REAL Star at the 2014 Oscars ”

Despite the criticisms, commenters on social media, and respondents to a poll appeared to jump to the defence of Degeneres.

The Huffington Post poll allowed users to answer ‘yes’, ‘no’, or ‘I think the issue is more complicated’, to the question of whether or not the joke was transphobic.

51% said no, they did not think it was transphobic, 21% said yes, and 27% said they thought it was more complicated.

What do you think?