Following Sunday night's 2014 Academy Awards, host Ellen DeGeneres landed herself in hot water for what some perceived as a transphobic joke aimed at Liza Minnelli.
“Hello to the best Liza Minnelli impersonator I’ve ever seen,” DeGeneres joked about the icon who has been a favorite subject for female impersonators and drag artists over the years. “Good job, sir.”
In response, season five winner of "RuPaul's Drag Race" Jinkx Monsoon sat down with the Jason Rantz Show on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM to discuss the queer community's response to DeGeneres, as well as his own personal views about the nature of the joke itself. Jinkx Monsoon told the Jason Rantz Show,
A lot of people say if you're not trans yourself you don't get to decide what's offensive for trans people or not. And I am in no way trying to say that I get to decide what's offensive for trans people, but I am trying to say that I don't hear a transphobic joke here. I hear, maybe more than anything, Liza Minnelli being told that she looks like a man dressed as her -- that might be the most offensive thing in the whole thing... I think there are so many relevant examples today of homophobia, transphobia, sexism, racism, that if we call out every little tiny thing that wasn't actually warranting that sort of criticism then we make a mountain out of every little molehill -- and soon people stop respecting the actual fight for equality that's going on when actual injustice is being performed.
The whole interview can be heard here:
Minnelli has since responded to the joke, telling TMZ, "I think she thought it would be funny, 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. She's a wonderful lady."
Check out the interview in full above, where Jinkx Monsoon also discusses a challenge on the fifth season of "RuPaul's Drag Race" in which he experienced accusations of offensive cultural appropriation.
Curious to see more from Jinkx Monsoon? The "Drag Race" winner is currently engaged in an Indiegogo campaign to fund his documentary "Drag Becomes Him." Click here for more information.