When Ellen Degeneres shared a video message with Australia last week giving us a gentle nudge to care for our “beautiful, great, wonderful” Great Barrier Reef, for the most part, we were all pretty chuffed.
But then a few things happened she probably wasn’t expecting:
1. She was bombarded on social media by our Environment Minister Greg Hunt who sent her no fewer than five tweets, informing her he was doing already doing a lot for the reef (*cough* approving the world’s largest coal port right next to it *cough*) and inviting her to come for a visit.
2. She was also accused of just trying to “sell a film” and told she’d “missed the mark” by fellow talk show host Karl Stefanovic.
c) She was then labelled a lecturing Hollywood star trying to “bring up their own stocks by acting like they’re great virtuous activists to sell a film”, by right-wing columnist Miranda Divine.
It just so happens the Great Barrier Reef is home to Ellen’s favourite fish, Dory the blue tang, along with countless other colourful species, which she pointed out in her video.
“I didn’t know it was a controversy but that’s exciting that people are talking about it,” Ellen told the Herald Sun, surprised to hear people were apparently concerned about it.
“But that’s a good thing, right?” she said. “There’s nothing wrong with trying to protect the reef.”
Karl hit out at Ellen on the Today show yesterday (post continues after video):
Ellen is currently promoting her new film Finding Dory, the sequel to Pixar’s Finding Nemo, which was so wildly popular it seems unlikely she’d be desperately feigning an interest conservation to sell a few extra tickets.
“Look, this happens to be a movie about the ocean and about fish, so obviously I’m not going to say, ‘Save the rainforest’,” she said.
“It coincides with the oceans and protecting our waters and the fish in every single way.
“That (Remember the Reef) is a campaign a group of people came up with and I am happy to put my name on it and get behind it. It’s important to me — I think we have to pay attention to the entire planet. This is just one aspect of things that we should be protecting.”
‘Remember the Reef‘ is a collaboration between Disney and number of not-for-profit environmental groups, including The Great Barrier Reef Foundation, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Greenfleet.
The company will be providing Finding Dory-themed education materials to both educators and consumers “to help raise awareness of the decline of the reef and inspire people to make a difference” as well as providing resources to restore the coastal wetlands that help counter coral bleaching.
Sounds pretty good to us.
Thanks Ellen, you just keep swimming.