Liza Opens Up About Ellen’s Oscars Joke
Ellen DeGeneres, who hosted the 86th Academy Awards Sunday, has been hit with some flack after making a crack at Liza Minnelli during her opening monologue. The Twitterverse exploded as some perceived the joke to be transphobic and generally mean spirited - especially after the camera cut to Minnelli, who didn’t look too pleased with DeGeneres’ remark: you’ve probably seen this animated gif of her reaction.
TMZ spoke with Minnelli Monday night to find out whether or not she was offended by the joke.
"What did you think about Ellen’s jokes last night?" a cameraman asked Minnelli, who was heading to a restaurant.
"I think she thought it would be funny," Minnelli said before a long pause. "But she never stopped after she said it and said, ’..my friend Liza Minnelli.’ So I think it went a little astray on her. I don’t think she meant any harm at all and she’s a wonderful lady and I think she did great."
DeGeneres came under fire on social media this week after joking that Minnelli looked like a drag queen.
"I have to say hello to one of the best Liza Minnelli impersonators I’ve ever seen my entire life," she said. "Just really, seriously. Good job, sir."
Soon after she made the joke, Twitter users reacted and some thought the remark was transphobic, including filmmaker Bruce LaBruce, who said the crack was "disrespectful." Chicago Tribune film critic Michael Phillips also took offense.
When the story was posted to EDGE’s Facebook page, however, several readers responded and said the joke was simply just that and not transphobic or offensive.
Minnelli was also asked if she was disappointed that she didn’t get in the epic selfie, which became the most retweeted tweet ever.
"No! It was funny because I was pushed out of the way!" she said, laughing.
You can watch the TMZ clip here.