June 9, 2016 – Ellen Degeneres may have to form an itty bitty littie committee now that a Georgia woman has gotten litigious with the daytime talk show host.
Degeneres, usually known for dancing and kind-hearted fun on her show, is coming under fire after making a breast joke during the February 22nd episode this year. She was doing her segment “What’s Wrong With These Ads…and These Signs” when she showed realtor Titi Pierce’s real estate yard sign and pronounced her name “Titty.”
Pierce, a realtor in Warner Robins, claims in all her 35 years of life she has never had anyone mess up her name, which is pronounced “Tee Tee.” Degeneres messed it up after showing another sign that said “Nipple Convalescent Home.”
“Titty Pierce, sounds like she might have spent some time in that nipple home, I don’t know,” she joked to her amused crowd.
The quip slip was aired again on April 15th as a re-run and both times Pierce’s personal cell phone number was not blurred. The realtor said eventually her number was blurred out when the segment went onto the show’s social media sites. The lawsuit claims that Pierce contacted the show multiple times to inform them that ” (1) Ms. Pierce’s first name is ‘Titi’ and not ‘Titty’; (2) Ms. Pierce’s personal cell phone number was displayed on national television; (3) Defendant’s actions had caused Ms. Pierce much pain and suffering.”
Pierce filed the lawsuit against Warner Bros. Entertainment, parent company of The Ellen Degeneres Show, on June 2nd, 2016.
The realtor, who also is listed as an electronics engineer at Robins Air Force Base, stated that as a result of both the original and re-airing of the segment she has undergone public ridicule which has harmed her professionally and personally.
“While in the midst of attending a family funeral out-of-state- (she) began receiving ridiculing and harassing telephone calls and voice mail messages, which continued at all hours of the day and night,” the document states.
It also lists instances where she underwent ridicule at work, on the street, online and that her husband also heard repeated ridicule about his wife. According to The Telegraph, attorney Stacey Godfrey Evans said Pierce wants to be a voice and stop this kind of thing from happening in the future. “She’s a real person with real feelings,” Evans added. “She is a private, proud person, and she was humiliated on national television not once, but twice.”
“What’s Wrong With These Ads…and These Signs” is a popular segment on The Ellen Degeneres Show where she pokes fun at, often times, unintentional goofs in wording on advertisements. The “titty nipple” joke digs deep at Titi, because her name is a Nigerian name meaning “flower.” The lawsuit says Pierce’s mother selected this name with care and therefore she has strong, positive feelings towards it.
Pierce is suing for an unspecified amount in monetary damages and also asking that the episode no longer be allowed to air.