US talk show queen Ellen DeGeneres is bewildered her call to protect the Great Barrier Reef has sparked a backlash in Australia.
DeGeneres made headlines earlier in the week with the release of a video public service announcement as part of the Remember the Reef campaign.
The comedienne was criticised by Nine Network’s Today Show co-host Karl Stefanovic and bombarded with five tweets from Environment Minister Greg Hunt.
“I put out a PSA because I do believe we should protect our oceans and protect the reef, and I don’t know what’s controversial about that,” DeGeneres said.
DeGeneres joined Disney, the Hollywood movie studio behind her new animated sequel Finding Dory, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority as part of the Remember the Reef campaign.
Stefanovic claimed DeGeneres had “missed the mark” and may have become involved in the campaign to help sell Finding Dory.
“My concern is she has got involved in that around the whole notion of selling a movie anyway,” Stefanovic told viewers of his show.
Hunt fired off tweets to DeGeneres praising the government’s work on the reef and inviting her to visit.
The reef is in decline, threatened by coral bleaching, poor water quality and crown of thorn starfish.
DeGeneres said she was pleased the federal government was attempting to combat the reef’s degradation.
“If they are pouring money into it, good for them,” DeGeneres said.
“I’m glad they are.”
Finding Dory, Disney’s sequel to the 2003 global hit Finding Nemo, begins on the Great Barrier Reef with DeGeneres returning as the voice of Dory, a blue tang fish with short-term memory loss.
Finding Dory opens in Australia on June 16.