An Ellen DeGeneres publicist, not media, to blame for “weird” DWTS same-sex couple flap

Dancing with the Stars may have its first same-sex couple next season, with Portia de Rossi as its star half, and her wife, Ellen DeGeneres, does not think that’s “weird.” This is no surprise, but that’s what the media reported last week after Kelly Osbourne appeared on the show. Reports spread widely that Ellen thinks its “weird” appears to be mostly the fault of Ellen’s publicist, and we can also blame the media for blindly copying and pasting quotes from a press release instead of verifying them.

On her show today, Ellen said “different media reports were saying that I said it was going to be weird for a same-sex couple to dance together, and I thought, I’m an idiot. Why would I say that? But this is what they picked up on; this is what they reported.” You can watch that clip below, which includes clips from last week’s show.

Thursday, a publicist for Ellen’s TV show sent out a press release that included the widely reproduced quotation. It also has quotations like this one: “I heard that Portia de Rossi might be doing ‘DWTS.’ She’s wants you to do it.”

Besides the typo, she did say that first sentence, but she didn’t say the second sentence, at least not right then. In addition, the quotations in the press release were listed as if they were a conversation, but they were out of order.

Here’s the quote sent out by Ellen’s publicist, which, to begin with, lacks context. Ellen was saying that the controversy over or objection to a same-sex couple dancing together would be weird:

“Kelly: Yes, there is a same sex couple and who would of thought of all places to do it there.

Ellen: I think it’s weird. It’s not a romantic thing. It’s an art form and in dancing it doesn’t matter. We are just so used to seeing a men [sic] and woman dancing together. I think that’s great that they’re going to do that. I don’t know if she is going to do it or not. She won’t tell me. We’ll find out.”

More significantly, the quote sent out by the publicist left out key parts of what she said. Here’s what Ellen actually said, with the omitted text in [bold and brackets]:

“I think it’s [just] weird. It’s not a romantic thing. It’s an art form and in dancing it doesn’t matter. We are just so used to seeing men and woman dancing together. [It’d be nice to see.] I think that’s great that they’re going to do that. I don’t know if she is going to do it or not. She won’t tell me. We’ll find out.”

The context was important and should have still been included, but “nice to see” changes everything, doesn’t it? Also, you can tell who just copied and pasted from the press release because those publications included the “a men” typo.

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.


Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.