Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres issued a call for kindness after she received backlash for sitting next to former President George W. Bush at an NFL game in Dallas, Texas, on Sunday.
During her monologue on NBC's "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" on Monday, DeGeneres told the audience that she and wife Portia de Rossi were invited to a Dallas Cowboys game by Charlotte Jones, daughter of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
The openly gay talk show host was seated next to Bush and former first lady Laura Bush, drawing heavy criticism from many on social media.
"When we were invited, I was aware that I was going to be surrounded with people from very different views and beliefs. And I'm not talking about politics. I was rooting for the Packers," DeGeneres joked. "So I had to hide my cheese hat in Portia's purse."
"During the game, they showed a shot of George and me laughing together. People were upset," DeGeneres continued. "They thought, why is a gay Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative Republican president? ... A lot of people were mad. And they did what people do when they're mad ... they tweet."
Instead of sharing some of the critical tweets aimed at her, DeGeneres shared one which said, "Ellen and George Bush together makes me have faith in America again,” drawing applause from the audience.
The comedian explained that she is “friends” with Bush, adding: “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 that we've forgotten that that's okay that we're all different ... but just because I don't agree with someone on everything doesn't mean that I'm not going to be friends with them,” she continued.
"When I say, 'Be kind to one another,' I don't mean only the people that think the same way that you do. I mean be kind to everyone. Doesn't matter."
DeGeneres concluded by thanking Charlotte and Jerry Jones as well as George and Laura Bush for a "Sunday afternoon that was so fun.”
Bush was a guest on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" in 2017. During the episode, it was revealed that DeGeneres and Jenna Bush are close friends. DeGeneres called the Bush family “lovely,” adding: “We teach each other.”
Last year, Grammy-nominated singer Lauren Daigle received criticism on social media after appearing on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Most of the critics argued Daigle was wrong to appear on the show because DeGeneres is a lesbian.
In response to the criticism, Daigle said she believes she is called by God to be “kind” and “be who Christ was to everyone," adding that those criticizing her have "completely missed the heart of God."
"[My music] is having crossover appeal, but it doesn't mean that I'm leaving one for the other or that I'm going to be swept up by one thing or the other,” Daigle told The Christian Post. “For me, it's like, 'Oh, everything just got even more clear.' Everything just got clearer as to why it is that we go and love people who are outside of the walls of our church, outside of the walls that we're comfortable with.”