On 10 June 2016, comedian Ellen DeGeneres sat down with reporters to discuss about her new movie, “Finding Dory.” During the interview, DeGeneres addressed a rumor about the movie featuring a lesbian couple, saying that she didn’t know if the characters were gay. She then made a joke about a transgender stingray:
I don’t mind the question and I don’t know if it’s true or not or if she just has a bad short haircut. Who knows if she’s a lesbian. Actually, here’s a little secret that I’ll tell you, there’s a stingray that’s becoming StingRhonda. So there’s a trans-sting in the movie.
While DeGeneres’ comment was made in jest (laughter from the interviewer is audible in the clip), several people missed the joke and claimed that Pixar’s sequel to the 2003 movie “Finding Nemo” featured a transgender stingray:
THE ‘GAYING’ OF AMERICA.
‘FINDING DORY’ HAS TRANSGENDER STINGRAY
Ellen DeGenderes says creature is ‘becoming sting-Rhonda’
Disney/Pixar’s upcoming film Finding Dory features a transgender stingray who transitions to become “Sting-Rhonda,” the film’s star Ellen DeGeneres revealed in an interview.
Rumors about the transgender stingray started circulating well before the movie was released, but no transgender characters actually showed up in the movie. Reviewers criticized DeGeneres for joking about transgender people:
As well as ignoring the Finding Dory trailers, you also have to ignore Ellen DeGeneres, who continues to be a jerk to transgender people. Before the movie’s release she was joking around about a transgender stingray–“We have a stingray that become a sting-Rhonda”–and people started wondering if Finding Dory could be considered a film with trans representation. All trans people started panicking about cis-written trans representation and hoping that it wasn’t a mess. It turns out that this was another of Ellen’s jokes made in poor taste at the trans community’s expense–her third in recent years.
The StingRhonda character also doesn’t appear on the movie’s IMDB page, lending further weight that the character was nothing more than a joke from Degeneres.