Ellen no longer all in

27 Nov

Ellen Pompeo and Ellen DeGeneres

Since we’re all talking about Ellen today, it must be important to us. I watched the video of her conversation. Here’s what she says: “We have neighbors that have chickens. We get our eggs from those chickens ’cause they’re happy, they’re really happy chickens.”

She never says, “I eat eggs now.” But it sure does sound like it. So what does it mean? I think it means that she’s no longer vegan. Which means we’ve lost perhaps the biggest advocate for veganism. It seemed to me that she or Bill Clinton was the public face of veganism, to the extent it had a public face, and not just a generic hippie or hipster face.

When I first heard the news today I thought wow, I need to write a big post about this. But then when I started reading through the comments on the vegansaurus post my stomach started turning. True, that happens with almost any Internet comments, but it was just plain depressing. Ditto the handful of comments on SuperVegan.

Look, the point of reading Internet comments is to see how stupid our fellow Americans are. And so it’s really not surprising that vegans can be idiots, too. Nor is it surprising when people think people who disagree with them are idiots. (Guilty!)

But what does it really mean if Ellen’s not vegan anymore. I’m guessing it means she won’t talk about it so much anymore, especially when she gets wind of all the vegans trashing her. And I’m guessing that over the years she’s exposed a lot of people to the concept of veganism, and convinced a lot of people to give veganing a try. So to the extent she won’t be doing that anymore, what a drag.

It also seems likely to make some people throw up their hands and start eating eggs again, or dairy, or meat. But hey, those people are adults and we can’t really blame Ellen for that. But it’s kind of depressing that even if she remains an advocate for animal welfare and a critic of factory farming, she’s now moving toward a less restrictive position, in other words, moving in the WRONG direction.

Look, she can do what she wants. And she obviously does. Remember when she took the dog from the rescue agency and then clearly broke their rules by giving it to someone else? And then she went on her show and cried about it? Clearly, the woman is a gigantic asshole. But given that she has been an asshole who has done a tremendous amount for gay rights and veganism, that’s way better than the typical Hollywood asshole who is an asshole about things like blocking access to a public beach.

I know someone in Santa Monica with hens in her backyard. Friend of a friend. This person can not tell you enough times on Facebook how wonderful it is to have these happy chickens in her yard. And yes, if this person is going to eat eggs anyway, this is a way better way to do it than buying them at a supermarket that gets them from a factory farm. But this friend of a friend was never vegan. Ellen was. And now she’s eating eggs again.

I don’t know about you, but if I got some eggs from “happy” chickens (and this HAPPY bullshit is a whole other discussion) and started eating eggs again, then the next time I went to a restaurant where there was nothing at all on the menu for me, BUT there was some pasta that was made with egg, or a veggie burger bun made with egg, well, I know it would be a lot harder for me to be strong if I’ve been eating eggs every day for breakfast.

Since we, the remaining vegans in this world, don’t eat animal products for a reason, a reason we believe strongly in, we obviously want other people to do what we’re doing, so even less pain will come to the animals that provide so much of people’s food. So to the extent Ellen’s action reverses whatever trend there might be, that’s the fear. That Ellen’s move is a step in the wrong direction, IN THE REVERSE DIRECTION. A step that I think can do nothing but lead to MORE animal pain not less.

And that’s why it hurts. That’s why we’re all reacting so strongly to the news today. Because we realize it’s a setback. A huge setback. Our movement, to the extent that it’s a movement, depends on people knowing someone who’s vegan. On being exposed to the concept and the reasons for it. It’s word of mouth not to put this in our mouth. And we lost our most public mouth today.


37 Responses to “Ellen no longer all in”

  1. quarrygirl November 27, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

    “Clearly, the woman is a gigantic asshole.”
    My sentiments exactly.

  2. Jason Das November 28, 2012 at 7:59 am #

    Nice job articulating the retrograde aspect, and that once you let a little air in (or egg in), it becomes a lot harder to keep the rest out.

    Do you really think she was *ever* all in? This whole thing has made my wonder if she as ever particularly dedicated to eating vegan in the sense that we mean it. (Leaving aside other aspects of living vegan…)

    • insufferablevegan November 28, 2012 at 8:44 am #

      Hard to know if she was ever really all in. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt when they self-identify, whether it’s sexuality, religion, or something like veganing. At least until I see evidence to the contrary. It’d be nice to think that when presented with a neighbor’s offer of eggs from “happy” chickens, she really considered the ethical implications of this, and decided she was on firm ground. But I’m not sure that her type of personality does that or is capable of that.

      Let’s assume for a moment though that she was never all in. It still seems pretty unarguable that she did way more to reduce animal pain than someone without a TV show who quietly is truly all in. Ditto a Jonathan Safran Foer. He might still drink milk, or whatever he does that makes him seem to resist labeling himself one way or the other, but I have no doubt that this vegetarian did more to reduce animal pain by writing that book than pretty much any other vegan will ever do. He took two years out of his literary career to research and write that book, which is certainly a commitment, even if a different one than a vegan makes.

      Similarly, whether or not Ellen was ever all in, and whether or not she’s really eating eggs now, I hope this apparent change, and the backlash to it, won’t make her stop talking about these issues on her show.

      • Sage November 28, 2012 at 9:00 am #

        I don’t think she was ever “all in”. Do you remember her advertising on a segment of her show for Burt’s Bee’s products? That’s when I realized she wasn’t a very well educated or dedicated vegan, which, in my opinion, means she’s not vegan. To me, Plant Based is a “diet” and only affects what you eat. Vegan is a “world view” which affects every aspect of your life to the best of your ability. I wonder if she took the time to find out if her neighbors hens were purchased via mail order or from a feed store or what? Those all come from the same hideous, cruel factory that all chickens come from. The day those hens were hatched in their incubators, all of their brothers were probably ground up alive and fed back to their mothers who are being held captive in tiny cages and raped repeatedly to produce more hens. It’s a sad day indeed.

  3. epicureanvegan November 28, 2012 at 10:37 am #

    I think it’s a shame that she’s no longer vegan, but I don’t think she was “all in,” considering she’s a spokeswoman for Cover Girl cosmetics. If she was truly educated on veganism, she wouldn’t have signed that contract with them. After Ginnifer Goodwin went back to the dark side and then poked fun at veganism on Jimmy Kimmel, I decided not to get too excited when celebs go vegan…it only hurts the cause when they’re only doing it to jump (uninformed and uneducated) onto the bandwagon.

  4. John Mooter November 28, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

    She is just another celebrity that calls herself Vegan because it is hip now.

    • Cayman December 6, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

      I completely agree with you John. Just likie Beyonce and Jay Z going on a “spirtual retreat” of eating “plant based” for 22 days. Right until their christmas dinners.

  5. Marc December 1, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    If Ellen was eating the eggs she probably would have addressed it already.

    Ellen never said that she ate the eggs and it is quite possible that it is Portia de Rossi that is eating them. Portia has a history of eating disorders and veganism can’t cure that issue even if she is married to the vegan Hollywood spokesperson. Shaming her about her choices isn’t going to help her.

    We as vegans are quick to judge formers with the Scarlet O, but maybe we should be more supportive when former vegans stray and let them know that they will always have our support if they choose to stop eating meat again.

    • insufferablevegan December 1, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

      Hi Marc, thanks for your comment. I have to say that I am drawing some different conclusions than you are. You say: “If Ellen was eating the eggs she probably would have addressed it already.” My take on it is that if Ellen is NOT eating the eggs she would have said that already. In fact, the show TOOK DOWN THE VIDEO that they’d put on YouTube where Ellen talks about getting eggs from her neighbor. The video is marked “Private” now. That doesn’t seem to me like something Ellen would have done if it were all a misunderstanding. It sounds like a problem she wants to quietly go away.

      But yes, I’m only speculating that she’s eating these eggs, as is anyone who’s speculating that she is not. But it seems to me that if she was only getting them for her partner, or for a pet, that she would have realized what her words sounded like as they left her lips and clarified them immediately after saying them. She did not.

      Also, I used the word “if” in my post to make clear that I realized I was speculating. And you will see that I also called her an asshole over the incident with the rescue dog, because that’s what I think about how she handled that.

      And I didn’t even mention Portia de Rossi in my post, nor did I even know she has or had eating disorders, if you’re even right about that, so why you thought I was “shaming her” about these disorders is beyond me.

      I agree that vegans are quick to judge “formers” but I’ve also found that “formers” are often quick to judge vegans! The Internet is full of such attacks that are written by those who have resumed their consumption of animal products. And not only are vegans quick to judge “formers” — vegans are quick to judge other vegans! That seems to be the main result of all this, to read the comments on SuperVegan and Vegansaurus.

      Like I said in my post, pretty clearly, Ellen can do what she wants. I hope you’re right and that she’s still vegan, because if she is and continues to talk about it, she will continue to expose millions to the concept. And the potential loss of that is what I was lamenting.

      • John Mooter December 1, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

        She owes it to her viewers to clarify this. She called herself Vegan. If she is eating eggs, she sinply needs to admit it clearly so we can move on.

      • Marc December 2, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

        I agree she was wrong with the rescue dog incident. I really wasn’t accusing you as an individual of shaming her, but I go to the same sites and see the same nonsense in the comment areas and just want to get to the bottom of the story before coming to any conclusions.

        I’m a vegan my children are not. There are eggs in my house I would never buy them and I explain in detail of the whole egg, meat and dairy industry to them on why it is wrong and not necessary at all. So, I just figure that Ellen may not be the one eating them. I would prefer her to just make a statement to a vegan blog or magazine. She doesn’t even need to address it on her show.

        I’ve been a vegan for 17 years and vegetarian for 19 and I place no faith in Hollywood vegans. When I read one of Russel Simmons books and he admits that from October to the end of the year that he eats whatever he wants, I realize that Hollywood Vegan does not equate real vegan. There are some, but it always seems the loudest spokespeople that always play by their own rules.

        • insufferablevegan December 3, 2012 at 11:59 pm #

          I think it’s only a matter of time before some interviewer asks her about it, but I agree with you, I think that as someone who has been one of veganism’s more visible advocates, she should let people know if anything’s changed.

  6. Bonnie Shulman (@veganbonnie) December 1, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    She was never all in, and the shame is on US – all vegans – who willingly accepted her bullshit. We never called her on it, not in a way that made a difference – the whole Cover Girl thing spoke volumes about where her true feelings lie – with herself, not with animals. Can we never again make a golden calf out of an alleged vegan celebrity? Pleeeeeze?

  7. alex December 2, 2012 at 8:45 am #

    I’m a long time Ellen fan, so I’m subjective on the matter. I’m not fully vegan yet, but going there. First time I heard for the term vegan is from Ellen a couple of years ago.
    Of course I disagree about she is’ gigantic asshole’ on the adoption thing and I’m familiar with the story, you probably wrote this because it’s cool to trash celebrities , people feel better about themselves I guess.
    I watched Ellen’s interview with Katie Couric about what made her become vegan. Basically, the reason is compassion. As I watch her show, I think she is pretty consistent in promoting compassion in various ways. Also continues to use her fame for raising awareness about animal rights and promoting vegan lifestyle. Is she a jerk in private life, I don’t know. I think not, but who knows.
    Her comment about getting eggs from her neighbor and that they come from happy chickens (let’s say it means she actually eats those eggs), That means she believes those eggs come from a non-cruelty environment and she didn’t lie about caring for animals and about compassion being her motivation in choices about food. Consistency. Less restrictive, but it’s not falling off the wagon.
    This is not a story about how hens live in terrible conditions in factories, so people saying how she is now contributing that or trying to connect her with that are too like police-inquisition type, I feel it’s attacking Ellen on false basis.
    She didn’t say ‘I eat eggs. Fullstop.’ You take the first sentence for granted (like she is a dedicated egg eater, and question the second one (are they really happy chickens), You interpret it in a negative way by your own choice.
    Ellen, as I know, has a hobby of moving around alot, in the past 10 years she moved like 10 times, so maybe it’s a new neighbor, it doesn’t have to mean she eats eggs on a regular basis, it could be a one time thing or something new she decided to do lately. (if she in fact eats eggs, and it’s not for her staff or her pets)
    Like some people had written, chickens running freely and kept in good conditions lay lots of eggs and don’t nest all of them, so those remaining eggs stay where the chicken has left them and rotten or somebody eats them.
    .Her eating an egg under exactly defined conditions which she described -it doesn’t lead to more animal pain, it’s not a setback for veganism. Some people can interpret it as a green light for eating eggs in general, but it’s their wrong conclusion. Everyone makes their own choices and Ellen is not responsible for everyone. She is not a soldier (like some holier than Pope vegans would like her to be) or a saint, just a conscious and compassionate individual.
    Somebody said she would address the matter if it wasn’t true (that she eats eggs), but I’m not sure about that. I heard her address gossip and issues few weeks later cuz she doesn’t live her life obessesed with rumours on daily basis. Like when that one-millions-mums group asked jc penney to fire her cuz she is gay. She addressed it couple of days later. And she did it in non-controversial way. In general she rarely uses her talkshow for issues, it’s pure upbeat entertainement. To know the facts, we should wait for someone to interview her for real. One of the things I like about Ellen is her honesty, so I don’t think she will hide, she’ll clarify this. (I also admire her for focusing on what brings people together and searching the positive in others, what some of her critics lack).
    In the end, all it is, it’s a story about if she ate the egg, she is not a poster for the term vegan.. she doesn’t have the right to call herself a vegan. . She did refer to herself as vegan in the past, but I don’t see her going around sayin “I’m vegan, I’m vegan…” or that the term means more to her than compassion behind it.
    Bill Clinton is called vegan lately, and he said in the interview that he eats vegan most of the times but that sometimes he will make an exception like for Thanksgiving he’ll take a piece of turkey or something like that. Vegans can accept him like a positive example cuz he went down the good path or reject him cuz he is not a 100 dedicated. Him being associated to veganism and saying how much it helped him is good for making more people considering it. Other people (famous, non-famous) cross the line as well. Should they have a press conference – I was vegan for the last 6 months, but one afternoon in May a friend offered me honey and I took it, so I guess that excludes me from being vegan forever and ever.
    In the end, the whole point of veganism is to reduce suffering of animals and make their life better. And Ellen is part of solution, not the problem. She definetely is an advocate for compassion and I think she remains an advocate for veganism as well (regardless what she did with the egg), everything else is mixing priorities.
    I liked the Jonathan Safran Foer story, Someone can make a difference without labeling himself and despite not being perfect in every way.
    You said vegans don’t eat animal products for a reason they strongly believe, I don’t see any case here of her stopping to strongly believe in these reasons.

    • John Mooter December 2, 2012 at 9:29 am #

      Alex, in case you are not aware of this, if you have hens and raise them in that way, it is true that they are not suffering. What is not mentioned here is that 1. For every hen, there is a rooster. Those that raise chickens for eggs buy only hens, and maybe one rooster. The remaining roosters are killed at birth or raised to eat since lots of roosters in a chicken yard is not profitable and leads to aggressive males fighting for the hens.2. When the hens are about 5, they no longer are profitable egg layers and they become meat for chicken products. In the wild, chickens live many times longer than in captivity. For these reasons, eggs are no different than “humanely” raised cows, pigs, etc. This is why vegans avoid all animal products. and number 3. Vegans choose not to exploit animals for any purpose. This is the definition of Vegan from Donald Watson. It is a practice, and it has been watered down by many celebrities who do not take it seriously. Vegans are not elitist. In fact just the opposite. They do not consider themselves superior to anybody, be it human or animal.

      • Isabel December 2, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

        I see raising a hen as similar to adopting an animal from a shelter. Arguing that raising hens is wrong because there was an implicit death of a rooster is like saying it’s wrong to adopt only one pup from a rescue shelter, because the one next to it may be killed, or that pups have previously been killed at that shelter.

        Secondly, I’m pretty sure families that raise chickens as pets do not slaughter them when they are too old to produce eggs. Chickens are useful for eating garden pests, fertilizer, and plain old company. After several years as a pet, I’m sure it would be a member of the family. I would also challenge your claim that chickens live “many times longer in the wild.” When raised as a pet, they are provided nutrition, veterinary care, and protection. In the wild, they are susceptible to predation, starvation, sickness, etc.

        While ‘exploit’ means simply to use, it comes with a very negative connotation that the use of a resource is at the detriment of its provider. Chickens laying unfertilized eggs do not use the egg for any purpose. The egg is just bird period. (Ladies, do you save your period? Don’t.) For this reason, eating honey or an apple is more exploitative than eating an egg. (Honey is a bee’s food supply and the apple contains the seed and the flesh of the apple is supposed to feed the seed until the seedling grows enough to compete with nearby plants for sunlight and produce its own food.)

        To InsufferableVegan- you don’t know that Ellen is now ordering breakfast burritos at McD’s now that she’s had a taste of eggs from her neighbor. If she is committed to only eating eggs from happy chickens, then her reasons for going vegan in the first place still apply when she goes to order at a restaurant. Like alex said, anyone who does otherwise is making an illogical conclusion, and that’s not Ellen’s fault at all.

        I’m vegan and I encourage any and all forms of reduced consumption. Pescetarian, ovo-lacto, vegetarian, meatless monday, “salad greens hold the ranch”, even buying one less hamburger every month! I find this approach to be significantly more effective in getting people to let go of that “I need meat” mentality and take a step (any size!) in the right direction. After that, encouragement and inertia can really go a long way. 🙂

        • insufferablevegan December 4, 2012 at 12:16 am #

          Thanks for your comment and for reading my blog. I actually feel like I DO know that Ellen is NOT ordering breakfast burritos at McDonald’s. I’d guess she has her own personal chef that’s either there in the morning or leaves stuff the night before that Ellen can heat up for breakfast when she awakes. But if, as you say, I don’t know that Ellen is ordering breakfast burritos, well then you don’t know, as you say, that she’s had a taste of eggs from her neighbor. Maybe she’s getting eggs from her neighbor for other people or for a pet. At this point we’re all just speculating.

          As for whether eating eggs from her neighbor’s chicken will affect her when ordering at a restaurant, I don’t think I am “making an illogical conclusion.” I may be reaching THE WRONG conclusion, but I don’t think it’s illogical at all. Haven’t you ever been at a restaurant where there’s only one decent option for you to eat, and then you find out that, let’s say, the bun has egg in it? I think that if I was eating eggs every morning, and that bun was the only thing keeping me from being able to order a real entree like my friends were, or some crappy iceberg lettuce salad, that it’d be pretty tempting for my brain to just think: “Oh what’s the difference, you eat egg all the time now anyway.” Sure other people think differently, and no doubt there are more disciplined people than I, but I would find it really hard to split hairs like that.

          Finally, I completely agree with your last point. Incremental elimination of animal products is WAY better than nothing. Vegans get into pissing matches with each other way too often, and the comment boards on Vegansaurus and SuperVegan on the Ellen thing are full of vegan-on-vegan crime. We are all trying to justify our actions to ourselves in a world that is still overwhelmingly hostile to us and so everyone can get a little holier than thou. If everyone did Meatless Monday it’d cut meat consumption by a seventh, and that’s no chopped liver.

  8. alex December 2, 2012 at 9:09 am #

    Also, in regards to taking down the video and making it private… If you’re subscribed to her youtube channel, you know she does that every time a content becomes controversial or potentially sending negative message, she doesn’t want that energy around her show (like she doesn’t want tortured animals energy in her body), Also if comments become too negative and people start insulting or trashing eachother they make posting comment unavailable for the videos. And it’s always unavailable for videos with ordinary people. It not to hide anything. But, like I said, I’m a fan, so I’m biased!
    P.S. Sorry for the long previous post, I was upset with the whole thing as well

    • John Mooter December 2, 2012 at 9:33 am #

      Alex, I am a fan as well, and a committed Vegan as well. Veganism is a philosophy, and is not about perfection but a practice. Ellen may not be aware that egg production always requires killing the males at birth, often grinding them up alive and turning then into food, sometimes feeding them back to the hens, a form of cannibalism, or just throwing them away. She also p\may not realize that laying hens become soup eventually. It would not be profitable to keep hens in a yard for many years if they are not laying eggs. People who raise chickens do not have them as pets. It is for profit and “food”.

      • alex December 2, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

        I get your point and thanks for the info, I didn’t know all that. If you look at the big picture, you have to take all that into consideration. You gave very detailed and clear explanations, I thank you for that.

        my grandmother used to have chickens and lived on the village, she really didn’t consider their fate or their feelings, they run freely but they had a purpose, the were food. It was not cuz she was evil, it-s just how she was raised most of her life,
        I live in the city, but I liked being on the village and spending time with farm animals. Some people like that and that-s why they have chickens and pigs… even if they are not profitable. (and are not egg producers) They don-t kill them, they take care of them. And sometimes they get eggs from chickens and don-t throw eggs, but eat them, which is not cruel in my book.

        I think it-s wrong to automatically accuse people who have chickens as abusers or collaborators in torture focused solely on profit. Egg eaters as well. Are there happy chickens anywhere in the world, is that impossible…

        It-s probably better from vegan perspective to avoid the whole thing altogether.
        So, if I meet a person who offers me eggs, I can refuse to be on a safe ground *as a vegan. But I have no right to critisize him unless I-m gonna be a police and check first / did the person on purpose buy hens for purpose of production, what are conditions in which they live, when the hens are about 5 will she kill them for meat, etc.
        More trying to understand than accuse…
        When I buy bananas at the store, I have no idea where it comes from, how was it produced, was the producer -kind to the environment, what subtances did he use, did he pay his workers fairly, were they underaged If I don-t thoroughly check all that, does that make me a terrible human being.
        Maybe I could help or do more in any field of my life. Maybe you should adopt 3 rescued dogs instead of 2 and save them, otherwise u-re not animal/friendly enough., or u-re not vegan enough if u don-t check hard enough is you-re friend-s wedding cake entirely vegan etc. etc.
        Until proven differently, I think some reaction towards Ellen is just gossip and negative, people love to preach others and love fallen stars. We can all be judged based on few words we said. Purpose doesn-t justify the means.

        Donald Watson definition / it is not a religion, and if we take it literally, not many people will fall under the term vegan, if we closely scrutinaze everyone… e.g. I would say Bill Clinton lives a vegan lifestyle even if he „only“ lives it 364 days a year and on Thanksgiving he goes to his mother-s *or mother/in laws house and take a piece of turkey. Or in Ellen-s case, if she didn-t eat the eggs herself, she nevertheless received it for somebody else, she decided that was ok. That decision doesn-t change everything about her values.
        So when someone uses a quote „Vegans choose not to exploit animals for any purpose.„ and he thinks all is said, he-s wrong. cuz, there is a grey area we are not sure about,
        there are discussions among vegans about the consumption of honey… if blind people use dogs, is that exploitation of them for our needs… to not follow something blindly and make mistakes is not always watering values

        I like the part when u said it is s not about perfection but a practice
        We make choices every day, trying to be a better person to the best of our abilities. We don-t always get it right. It-s a journey.

        Thanks again for the feedback.

        • insufferablevegan December 2, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

          Alex, thanks very much for your comments. That’s a lot of good thinking there, and I really like what you had to say about so much of what you said. One thing I want to specifically comment on is when you said I called Ellen a gigantic asshole “because it’s cool to trash celebrities.” You say you are familiar with the story but I wonder how familiar you really are with it. Ellen adopted a dog as a rescue, and the conditions were made clear to her that she could not just turn around and give the dog to someone else — if she didn’t want it she must return it. She did not do that; she gave it to another family instead. Putting aside that perhaps she just thinks she can do whatever she pleases because she’s Ellen, an attitude common to many celebrities not just her, the real issue to me was that when she saw that her actions were generating negative publicity for herself, she went on her show and cried about how could they do this to her! It wasn’t about the dog anymore, or the family she gave the dog to that was upset about having to give it up, but instead it was all about her. She made such a big deal about it that the people at rescue place, who were completely in the right, started getting death threats. They were a small rescue place trying to do some good, and now suddenly they had to go up against Ellen’s money and media and power and legal machine. And Ellen seemed like she couldn’t care less that she was doing this to these rescue people — whatever it took to clear her name and make her not look like the bad guy. To me, gigantic is not even a gigantic enough word to describe the kind of asshole she was. But I am a fan in many ways too, and as you will see if you go back, I clearly commended her for her work on gay rights and promoting veganism. Anyway, just wanted to clarify that, and please comment any time, you have so much interesting to say. Thanks!

          • alex December 3, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

            Thanks for the reply. I appreciate you explaining your ‘gigantic asshole’ remark. And thanks for encouraging me to comment.

            If by any chance, people from the adoption agency are someone you know, I’m sorry for their trouble.

            Here is my take on the story; Ellen signed a contract to adopt the rescued dog. I think it was a good thing, she wanted to give him a home. She had a dog for a while, paid medical expenses (even paid the vet to take the dog home and not to leave him in the cage at the medical office while on treatment) and hired a trainer to help the dog get along with the pets she already had. She had every intention of keeping it. But it didn’t work out.
            She gave the dog to her hairdressers’s family who were looking for a dog, the person she sees every day and has known for years and family she knew. And when the agency contacted her, she told them about it.
            They were very upset, how could she do that. They did two things – yell on the phone and threatened with lawsuit and bad publicity and second, they came to this family’s home with the police and took the dog from two little girls who meanwhile bonded with the dog. There is a videofootage of them coming to their home. No dialog, talking to the family, just in and out with their “stuff”. So when you portrait them as ” a small rescue place trying to do some good”, what kind of practice is that? And how come Ellen was a good home for the dog and this family wasn’t even slightly taken into consideration. Are they focused on people with money?

            Now Ellen was upset because kids went through this hard thing because of her.
            So she broke in tears on the show and explained it was her fault, she made a mistake and those kids shouldn’t have to pay for it.
            I understand your ‘this is asshole behavior’ point of view, because she is a huge celebrity and she shouldn’t resolve her private issue on her talkshow. In relation to the ”agency people’ she was in position of power in the public eyes. It wasn’t responsible thing to do.
            Other mistake was signing the contract and breaking it.

            How I interpret it;
            when adopting, nobody plans failure, so while signing the contract they didn’t focus on all the implications from the contract, Was it a lazy celeb thing to do. I don’t think so. I think we all sign something every day in good faith and we don’t read all the articles, especially 50 pages contracts with different clauses and small letters. Otherwise we should have to take a lawyer with us wherever we go. Even getting on the bus has legal implications. Let’s not forget what the mutual goal was – millions of cats and dogs are killed every year in American shelters. The goal should be to find a good home for the dog.

            Did people from the agency tried to make the situation better, come visit the family and see where the dog is placed, is it a good home. They reacted like cold bureaucrats.
            Ellen crying on the show. Did she came to work soon after talking to the girls and couldn’t fake the happy face… was she helpless cuz people from the adoption agency didn’t want to talk and work things out and reacted in the wrong way? I saw the video and she seems genuinely upset. You say cuz of her vanity, she thinks she can do whatever she wants, it’s your impression. I see – trying to make things right for the kids in a wrong emotional way. Either she is too sensitive in regards of kids and pets or a huge liar.

            You made a lot of assumpions that can be true, but you can’t be sure of that. It’s your interpretation, like some things I said is my interpretation. Like, I asssume Ellen is not a liar and has good intentions, but I don’t really know. I don’t really know people from the agency and Ellen is now under public scrutiny more than 20 years, so I trust her more.
            Here are some of those assumptions;
            you say ‘”the conditions were made clear to her that she could not just turn around and give the dog to someone else — if she didn’t want it she must return it’
            it almost sounds like you were there and someone clearly mentioned it and she deliberately did the opposite. Ellen said she was not aware it is wrong at the time and that she didn’t read the contract fully.
            Second, it’s not the case she didn’t want the dog or it was too much of obligation to take care of the dog or didn’t like the dog. There was an adjustment period, she had previous rescued pets in her home, cats and dogs, and they didn’t get along with the new dog.

            You write she reacted on the show “when she saw that her actions were generating negative publicity for herself”. I’m not sure whether the public knew anything about it till Ellen first mentioned it or that it was ever negative publicity.

            Agency people were not up against Ellen’s money and media and power and legal machine. Ellen asking them on the show please, please, please return the dog to this family while crying was her only effort in trying to change their mind.. So it was just up against her popularity.
            In fact, they were the legal machine, and disregarded the best interest of the dog and children to teach a disobedient celeb a lesson.

            If her behaviour is gigantic asshole type, we (that all make mistakes) are assholes couple of times of months. It’s just we are not in the public eye, so it’s never a controversy.

            I thank you a lot for bothering to answer and for sharing your thoughts in general. I like the story about carrying the cupcake to your non-vegan friends, made me laugh…

          • insufferablevegan December 3, 2012 at 11:30 pm #

            Another great comment. I feel lucky to have people like you reading my blog. No, I don’t know the people from the adoption agency, but I live in Los Angeles and I can remember that it became a news story even before Ellen went on TV and cried. She was already facing a lot of bad publicity before she did that. I suppose neither of us can know why she really did it, and we each feel we are right. But I’m curious, how did you know the rescue people threatened Ellen with bad publicity. Did they admit to this?

            You are wrong though when you say I called her an asshole because I felt she shouldn’t resolve her private issue on her talkshow. It’s her show and she can do what she wants as far as I’m concerned. The problem for me is that while I’m sure she felt bad about those kids losing the dog, what really concerned her in my opinion is the negative wave of publicity she was facing. I believe she was worried about her image and about what people would think of her going forward, and so she decided to get out in front of the issue. Much like Richard Nixon and his “Checkers” speech she decided to go on the air and try to turn things around and make people feel sorry for her instead of people thinking she was the bad guy here. You like Ellen so you don’t see it that way; I like Ellen but not as much as you do and I see it this way. You could be right and I could be wrong, and vice-versa. Two different guesses as to her real motivation, and the percentage thereof.

            Yes we all sign contracts every day but I think it is possible that Ellen was aware that she would need to return the dog if it didn’t work out. As you say, she was so concerned about whether it would get along with her other pets that she hired a trainer to work on this. So to me it is very possible that the rescue people and Ellen had discussed this possibility. In this sense, it doesn’t seem to me like some buried information in a legal document. I think it is very possible she did what she wanted to do when she passed it along to that family, even if she knew she was supposed to return the dog if she couldn’t keep it, because to her she thought she was doing a good thing by putting the dog in a loving home, and she figured the rescue people would agree, or at least understand, or very possibly she didn’t even think that far ahead because she’s used to doing whatever she wants. I am saying this based on my impression of humans and celebrity humans.

            When you say the rescue people were the legal machine and disregarded the best interests of the dog to teach a celebrity a lesson, I feel you are really out their on a limb guessing. Ellen is much more powerful than these people, even if they had the letter of the law on their side. Ellen waged a publicity campaign against them. They received death threats. Also, how do you know they disregarded the best interests of the dog? You don’t know if this family met their guidelines for adoption. You seem to be wildly speculating here just to support Ellen.

            Finally, not all mistakes make us assholes. But IF she disregarded rules she was aware of because she felt she can do what she wants, then to me that’s an asshole mistake. But not nearly as big as the publicity campaign she waged to try to turn the public around and feel sympathy for her.

            Basically, while she has made a fan of both of us, I think you are the bigger fan. Therefore, I think you are more inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt on these things. That is fine, and maybe you are right. Do you have a blog of your own? Do you write about vegan or animal issues anywhere? You have a lot of smart things to say.

  9. alex December 9, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    Thanks for saying nice things about my comment. Thank again for taking the time and replying and writing blogs in the first place. Sorry for taking you to this off-topic road.

    I like the Nixon comparison, although I think it’s not applicable on this matter.

    you asked, how did I know the rescue people threatened Ellen with bad publicity and whether they admitted it? They didn’t really explain where they stand clearly, not only about that but in general, but I recall Ellen saying that. I made a quick search and there is a youtube video – ‘Ellen DeGeneres – The Iggy Saga 4’ where she says so.
    You probably have better things to do with your time, but I bet you can’t find something that supports ‘that it became a news story even before Ellen went on TV and cried’ and how “She was already facing a lot of bad publicity before she did that.”. Why should she have a bad publicity, for rescuing the dog?

    I actually agree that I’m biased cuz I like Ellen a lot so I see things from her shoes more. But, also I think is logical that – When someone is used to getting whatever he wants, it’s a habit. That means it’s a repeated behaviour. With Ellen, public attention is on all the time. (I bet if you said you get your eggs from neighbor, no one would write a blog saying you endangered the whole vegan movement, based of one sentence). When she goes out to go to the local store, even then paparazzi follow her.
    so, it would not be a one time thing, more things from her past and future would indicate this part
    of her character. If it’s one time thing, it’s a more a misunderstanding and there was no one
    on the other side who was willing to work things out.
    And doing things what you want is not necessarily a bad things, because our environment tries to direct us all the time on what to do, so I think listening to your own voice, being yourself is good as long as you don’t hurt anyone.
    I’m, of course, sorry that rescue people received threats (all celebs have crazy fans) and that their reputation was ruined.
    Like I mentioned, millions of cats and dogs are killed every year in American shelters. It seems to me that the rescue group focus should be to find a home for the dog and go and save another dog, so I’m having a hard time to see what’s their motivation.

    I don’t write a blog, I couldn’t keep it up regularly, but I enjoy reading yours.
    This topic got me interested cuz it involves Ellen and vegan perspective, which are both close to my heart.

    I like the story with cupcakes cuz I was in sort of similar situation. I had a joint birthday
    party with someone and I wanted to have only vegan food this year. But no one I know is vegan
    and only one person I know is vegetarian, so I was afraid that in their perspective it
    would seem I’m serving them some kind of strange, unnatural food just cuz I’m going through
    this weird phase. And how I’m making it all about me. Will they want to try it? Should I mention if before they try a certain dish and warn them? In the end my friend brought most of the food, and I made an apple cake that everyone liked before and which had most of vegan ingredients in the original recipe so it was not a big change.
    In general it feels good that someone else has same awkward situations, has same questions… thanks for writing and hope you’ll keep it up.

  10. alex December 10, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

    Nice research. As a fan of both Ellen and Portia it was fun to catch up with the story.

    Thanks for sharing. Anyway, I promise I won’t write back, so this wouldn’ last forever. we had a discussion and we have different conclusions. I’ll come back to read some of your past and future blogs cuz I like your writing style and when all is taking into consideration, it seems we both like animals and we believe in emphaty and treating them fairly.

    Anyway, none of this articles prove your point that Ellen was ever facing negative publicity. TMZ story doesn’t make Ellen look bad, it makes the rescue group look bad, because of the way the entered their home and removed the dog from their possession (and in general, because of the way they decided to handle the whole issue). In fact, the rescue group accused Ellen people for inviting tmz on purpose.
    Nobody ever thought she was the bad guy in the story… in fact her breaking down only made her more human. What it proves she knew tmz was there so it’s gonna be in the press and maybe wanted to explain her side of the story.

    Ellen says: I feel totally responsible for this, so she acknowledged it… The point is – what happens next – when we breach the contract? And it wasn’t a contact about buying some stuff, it involved couple of living beings – a dog and children who both attach easily? If the regulation is not to give puppies to families with small children, but what happens in life, the dog by mistake ends up in that family and spends with them 2 weeks – what do you do? What you don’t do is pretend you come to someone’s home for inspection and then grab the dog and call the police, refusing to communicate in any way with the family? Did the reason they had that particular regulation, reason for caution became reality, they didn’t bother to check … That family already had another dog, how did they treat him, did they get him as a puppy…

    In fact, in one of the links, it was mentioned “Batkis says that because of the way she’s been treated by DeGeneres, she absolutely has no intention of giving back the puppy.”
    so it sounds more like spite and getting back to Ellen than looking after the best interest of the dog.

    One of the reasons this discussion could last forever cuz we both take what better suits our “theory”. Most of discussions end up like that. Like for example, I disregarded the agency claiming Ellen representative theatened them although I read that even before for 2 reason, first cuz that lady Bush (ellen representative) denied it and second because the message they played was something agency’s own lawyers could have told her. So if it is authentic it is not clear is it a threat or a just notifying them what they are gonna do after they exhausted all the other options “We’re filing a legal case against you. We’re going to be contacting the media. This is not going to be good for your store or your organization,” You, on the other hand, interpreted it how Ellen’s representative threatened the rescue group not the other way around. You on purpose disregarded there was in fact the other way around, which happend before in time. tYou ignored how Ellen said (in the video I mentioned in previous post) that lady from the agency called her and Portia and yelled at them the whole conversation and theatened them with bad publicity, attorneys and police, which the rescue group didn’t deny. (like she threw dog on the street instead of took care of him). So, you consider that piece of information irrelevant, and the previous one relevant, which is totally subjective.

    When you say that Ellen claimed she signed the contract, although in fact it was Portia, sort of suggesting she was lying on purpose, you’re fishing (sort of like a police… analysing every word), cuz Ellen’s name was in the contract and she took the obligation as well, so that’s too much reading into it.
    And also it’s contradictory with what you confidently claimed before : the conditions were made clear to her that she could not just turn around and give the dog to someone else’. And now it turns out she wasn’t even there when signing took place.

    Also, what rescue agency lawyer said was just plain negative and mean: “She got rid of the dog not because it didn’t get along with the cats,” Fink said. “She didn’t like the dog.” was denied by the trainer who worked with the dog.

    It was fun exchanging arguments, thanks for answering, good luck with the blog!

    • John Mooter December 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

      If Ellen really cared about the vegan Movement, she would have addressed this egg thing by now. Time has passed. and she says nothing as far as I know. There is so much misinformation about Vegans. Somebody on Facebook was trying to tell me that Betty White is Vegan. There is a pic of her eating a hot dog, her favorite food, and no, it is not soy, but pig. Ellen has avoided discussing Veganism for awhile. Perhaps it was a fad? She owes it to the vegan community to be strait forward, thus no ambiguities or confusion, It is difficult enough to convince people to go Vegan in this culture as it is!

      • insufferablevegan December 10, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

        John, I agree that the fact she didn’t address the story by now seems to make it more likely that she is indeed eating those eggs. Otherwise I imagine she’d get word out that they were only for Portia or her pets or something. Either way, I hope she’ll continue to talk about vegan issues on her show. As others have said, she can do a lot more as a “95 percent vegan” with a TV show than I can with my stupid blog. Also, did you see the interesting interview with her chef on supervegan.com? He is asked about the eggs although he says he doesn’t know enough about it to answer. Still worth a read though.

    • John Mooter December 10, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

      Yes, it is all very sad. I would rather have a committed not so well known Vegan than an insincere famous one.

    • insufferablevegan December 10, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

      Alex, I’m not sure what else I can say. You had said, “I bet you can’t find something that supports ‘that it became a news story even before Ellen went on TV and cried’” and I did that, and not just some tiny news story, but one on TMZ. We both like Ellen and a lot of the things she’s done, so let’s just leave it at that. Thanks again for reading my blog and for taking the time to comment. Best of luck to you in the future.

  11. Vicki February 21, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

    First off, let me openly admit that I am a city girl and know very little about farm animals of any kind. That said, I believe that chickens can lay eggs without a rooster. Those eggs would be infertile and a hen could sit on an infertile egg for days or even weeks and it would never hatch because there is no baby chick inside. Therefore, in this scenario, there are no male chicks that are tossed alive into a garbage can and suffocated, ground up, etc.
    Back when I was a vegetarian and had not yet gone vegan, I cut way back on eggs and dairy and deleted honey totally. I drank soy milk and ate soy yogurt, but did occasionally buy dairy cheese simply because I could not find a decent vegan cheese. I did not buy eggs and I did not order eggs for breakfast in a restaurant. I purchased Veganaise instead of mayonaise and switched to Italian dressing or oil and vinegar on my salads rather than honey mustard or ranch dressing. However, when I ate cake or pie, for example, I was aware that it probably contained eggs.

    A co-worker had chickens in her back yard. There were about 6 or 7 hens and no rooster, as far as I know. These hens had a very large and comfortable hen house. They were free to roam around a big back yard to hunt and peck and scratch around for several hours each day. They were put into the hen house in the evening or at times during the day when the family’s dog was in the yard. This was, of course, for their own protection. These hens were well-fed and well cared for. Occasionally, my co-worker might bring 2 or 3 eggs that she had just gathered that morning to share with me. Maybe I was wrong, but I had no qualms about consuming those eggs. I knew those chickens were healthy and not mistreated in any way. They were allowed to roam and scratch around in the yard. Isn’t that considered “natural” chicken behavior? I knew that no male chicks were killed because the eggs were infertile. My co-worker and her husband kept a close eye on the hens for any signs of illness or injury. They spoke in soft voices and always moved slowly around the hens so as not to stress them. They had read books and done research online before purchasing the hens; they didn’t do this on a whim. Given the conditions I’ve outlined above, would all vegans start eating eggs? Probably not, but I didn’t feel that I was contributing to animal cruelty or exploitation in any way. However, I have changed jobs and I don’t see this lady now. Of course, I do not purchase eggs at the grocery store as I am certain they came from caged hens kept in horrendous conditions. I don’t think I would have a problem eating an egg or two a week if the hens were cared for and their basic needs were not only provided for, but respected, too. I am certain my co-worker’s hens were never going to be slaughtered even after they got too old to lay eggs.

    Does that make me a terrible example of what a vegan is supposed to be?

    • insufferablevegan February 21, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

      Thanks for your comment! I grew up in the suburbs of a big city and have no farming knowledge whatsoever. My understanding of how the male chicks suffer in your scenario is that most people who raise hens in their backyard get them from a hatchery, and that the hatcheries are killing the male chicks. But I could be wrong.

      • Vicki February 22, 2013 at 6:48 am #

        I think you’re correct. In the somewhat twisted world of animal husbandry, I suppose it is the hatcheries killing the male chicks because they are of “no use” for laying eggs. See, I wasn’t joking when I said I was a city girl and didn’t really understand much about farm animals!

        I have often wondered why most men aren’t outraged by practices such as killing male chicks and the terrible cruelty committed against male baby cows in the dairy industry where they, too, are deemed “useless”. Wouldn’t you think that more men would be upset about the rampant “sexism” toward males of various species?

        Sorry…I know this whole discussion was supposed to be about Ellen and whether or not she is now or ever has been vegan and I certainly got off the track there. Thanks for your response to inform me about hatcheries.

        • insufferablevegan February 22, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

          I think men aren’t more outraged because they push any connection between lunch and killing animals to the back of their brains, just like women do.

          Feel free to get off track and thanks for reading!

    • JOhn Mooter February 22, 2013 at 9:39 am #

      No, you are just not a vegan. Vegans do not consume animal products, period. Call yourself something else, please.

  12. Canadian Vegan March 16, 2013 at 9:19 am #

    Ellen was never vegan. While she was eating a strict vegetarian diet with no animal products, she was still modelling in ad campaigns for Covergirl, one of the top companies known for animal vivisection. She cares more about money than she does about animals. She directly supports animal experimentation.

    • John Mooter March 16, 2013 at 3:24 pm #

      We must stop using these celebrities to impress others. There are some celebrity vegans, like Alicia Silverstone, which is great. Most of the so called Vegans, like Bill Clinton, are not totally vegan, although Bill is catching on. The word is misused for the most part. Veganism is a practice, as Vegans know, not a diet. It involves consciously choosing non-violent options not only in food but clothing, avoiding products that involve animal experiments,avoiding circuses, horse races, etc. I am happy to see all of the doctors recommending a plant based diet, but Veganism is an ethical choice first. Vegan cook Christina Pirello put it best when I talked with her. She said that if it was proven eating some animal “food” would improve her health, she still would not eat it. that is what a Vegan is.

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