No, it’s not a joke – Ellen DeGeneres was denied entrance into the White House because she forgot her ID.
DeGeneres reportedly arrived at the White House on Tuesday to attend the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony. When she arrived, however, she wasn’t allowed to enter because she did not have her identification on her.
The comedian took to Twitter to share her dilemma, captioning a photo of her sitting outside on a bench by saying, “They haven’t let me in to the White House yet because I forgot my ID.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) November 22, 2016
Ellen DeGeneres was eventually allowed to enter the White House, after having her identity confirmed, just in time to take on the mannequin challenge with some of the other award recipients. “I’m in,” she wrote along with the short clip. Check out the video of the challenge below.
According to a press release from the White House, the “Presidential Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
— CNN (@CNN) November 22, 2016
President Obama announced the 21 award recipients on November 16: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elouise Cobell, Ellen DeGeneres, Robert De Niro, Richard Garwin, Bill and Melinda Gates, Frank Gehry, Margaret H. Hamilton, Tom Hanks, Grace Hopper, Michael Jordan, Maya Lin, Lorne Michaels, Newt Minow, Eduardo Padrón, Robert Redford, Diana Ross, Vin Scully, Bruce Springsteen, and Cicely Tyson.
“The Presidential Medal of Freedom is not just our nation’s highest civilian honor – it’s a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better,” President Obama said.
“From scientists, philanthropists, and public servants to activists, athletes, and artists, these 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way.”
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 22, 2016
According to the press release, Ellen was chosen to receive the award because of her advocacy for equality and fairness. DeGeneres has been hosting her daytime television show The Ellen DeGeneres Show since 2003. Also in 2003, Ellen lent her voice to Dory in Finding Nemo and then reprised her role in 2016’s Finding Dory. In 1997, DeGeneres came out as a lesbian.
While presenting Ellen DeGeneres the award, Obama said the following.
“It’s easy to forget now, when we’ve come so far, where now marriage is equal under the law, just how much courage was required for Ellen to come out on the most public of stages almost 20 years ago. Just how important it was. Not just to the LGBT community, but for all of us. To see somebody so full of kindness and light, somebody we liked so much, somebody who could be our neighbor or our colleague or our sister challenge our own assumptions.”
President Obama awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to Robert de Niro, Diana Ross and more https://t.co/8WEPTfzilD
— TIME (@TIME) November 22, 2016
“Remind us that we have more in common than we realize. Push our country in the direction of justice. What an incredible burden that was to bear. To risk your career like that, people don’t do that very often. And then to have the hopes of millions on your shoulders. And she did pay a price. We don’t remember this. I hadn’t remembered it. She did, for a pretty long stretch of time, even in Hollywood. And yet today, every day, in every way, Ellen counters what too often divides us, with the countless things that bind us together, inspires us to be better, one joke, one dance at a time.”
The award ceremony on November 22 was Obama’s last of his presidency before President-elect Donald Trump takes over the Oval Office in January.
[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]