entertainment

Ellen DeGeneres says she received death threats after coming out

The comedian and talk show host has discussed the threats, including a bomb scare, in a new interview.

2018-10-20

Comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has revealed she was threatened with a bomb after coming out. 

DeGeneres came out as gay in 1997 and the character she played in her self-titled sitcom Ellen, which ran from 1994-1998, came out soon after in an episode titled 'The Puppy Episode' from the fourth season. 

The episode became a huge success ratings-wise but the show was cancelled after one final season, a decision DeGeneres says left her feeling "blindsided". 

In a new interview with Adweek, DeGeneres recalled how she received multiple death threats after coming out to the public. 

She said: "When I came out, I had death threats and there was a bomb threat, but they misjudged the time of the taping. We had already finished, and thank God.

"I knew there would be people that didn't like it, but I didn't realise my show would be cancelled. I just thought, 'It's going to be interesting.'"

She continued: "We're living in a time now, the more controversial something is, the more popular it is. I just didn't happen to have a show on at that time." 

The star also revealed that she thought her coming out would have helped more people than it did. After the Adweek interviewer told Ellen that her coming out was important to other people who were coming out, she replied:

"I hear that a lot - that it started a conversation. It's definitely something I know helped a lot of people, and I was hoping it would help more people. Right after I came out, Matthew Shepard was killed, and it just devastated me.

"I just thought, 'This is going to make a difference.' The ignorance of me to think that I would make that much of a difference... It just broke my heart."