Ellen sparks beef over the Reef

US talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has attracted a fair bit of comment today after her video message to help save the Great Barrier Reef.

“Australia, it’s me, Ellen DeGeneres. As you know I’m a fan of your great, wonderful Great Barrier Reef which is home to my favourite fish, Dory.

“And, as you may remember – but Dory probably doesn’t – she’s a blue tang and has many other amazing species that live in the Reef with her,” she said.

“It’s critical that we protect this amazing place and we’d like your help.”

She proceeded to promote rememberthereef.com -a Disney owned website which promotes the film before eventually linking to a donation site run by Australian non-profit group Greenfleet.

But as Karl Stefanovic pointed out on Today, her cause was heavily wrapped around the launch of the Disney film, Finding Dory, which sees the return of her Finding Nemo character (that would be the Indian Ocean fish with the American accent of course).

“My concern is she’s gotten involved in that around the whole notion of selling a movie anyway, and Disney’s got behind it as one of their linchpins for launching this film,” he said.

“The Great Barrier Reef Foundation is -I think- the best at doing work with trying to save the reef. They’re scientific-based and doing wonderful work.”

In 2012 Stefanovic revoiced the BBC series Great Barrier Reef for Nine.

Meanwhile Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt fired off a torrent of tweets to Ellen, promoting the work the Australian government has done to protect the embattled world heritage site.

“We all have a role & the Aust govt is doing more than ever to protect it.”

“Just last year @UNESCO recognised the unprecedented steps we’ve taken to protect #GBR & praised Aust as a global role model”

“We’re working to protect #GBR by tackling the short term problem of water quality & long term threat of climate change”

“But challenges remain, and so Australian governments are investing $2 bn over the coming decade to manage & protect the #GBR”

He finished by inviting Ellen back for a visit.

“We’d love to invite you out to visit the #GBR and see the Reef & some of the work we’re doing in the catchments”

But some followers responded to Hunt criticising the government’s position on carbon pricing.

Whether Ellen’s call was essentially to promote her new Disney film, or she took the opportunity to draw attention to the Reef, it has clearly raised awareness -including amongst some of her 60 million followers.

Source: Guardian


  1. It’s no different to people getting involved in charities only after a family member is struck by an illness or accident. Who cares how they come to it, as long as there’s attention drawn to it and help is given. Ellen has a heck of a following, as does Pixar and Disney, so it will make a huge impact.

  2. When Seven ran Finding Nemo recently they ran a lengthy commercial for Finding Dory in the top half of the screen during the credits. Was this counted in their commercial quota for the hour?

    • Unlikely – the guidelines about what is/isn’t an ‘advertisement’ are a little tricky, but the list of things specifically defined as ‘not ads’ include “a promotion transmitted during the closing credits of a Program”, and “superimposed text or visual matter occupying only part of the screen during a Program”.

      Since the TV stations write those guidelines & have them rubber-stamped by ACMA, that should come as no surprise…

  3. Who cares if it’s for promotion. She’s bringing attention to a serious issue regardless. I don’t doubt that Ellen is sincere with her concern either.

  4. Tend to agree with Karl and the Environment Minister. It’s funny how it all coincides with her movie coming out.

    Also Ellen’s only trip to Australia was partially funded by other companies etc. It’s not like she ever comes here on a private holiday.

    I used to like Ellen and watch her all the time. But now I’m tired of her.

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