A Catholic school principal in Pennsylvania has demanded that students return all invitations to this year’s eighth-grade graduation dance because lesbian celebrity Ellen DeGeneres appears on them.
The principal has also apologized profusely to parents for the imagery and vowed to destroy every last one of the invitations, reports Philly.com.
The Catholic kerfuffle went down this week at St. Andrew Elementary School in Newtown, Pa., a quaint town suburban town north of Philadelphia.
The invitations to the “2014 Eighth Grade Graduation Dance” feature a big picture of a grinning, tuxedo-clad DeGeneres holding up an Oscar statuette. “Live From The Red Carpet,” they say. “Hollywood Nights!” At the bottom, the invites note: “And yes, there will be pizza.”
In an email to parents, St. Andrew principal Nancy Matteo said the school was “completely wrong” to put an image of DeGeneres on the invitations because she is a “poor role model” who “lives her life outside the teachings of the Catholic Church,” according to Philly.com.
Matteo, the first principal of the school who is not a member of a religious order, explained that she was “obviously NOT thinking” when she approved the invitations to the June 8 junior-high bash.
The principal then told parents that students must now give back the DeGeneres-festooned invites.
They will not meet a happy end.
“I need every single invitation returned and I will personally destroy them,” Matteo swore.
She added that new invitations will be issued. It’s not clear who – if anyone – will appear on them.
The email doesn’t discuss DeGeneres’s lesbian sexual preference, but come on. Everybody knows about that.
DeGeneres, 56, came out publicly as lesbian in 1997 on The Oprah Winfrey Show. The character she then played on the sitcom “Ellen” came out as gay shortly thereafter.
In 2008, DeGeneres married actress Portia de Rossi. Prior to that, she had a romantic relationship with actress Anne Heche that lasted from 1997 to 2000.
DeGeneres has hosted the Academy Awards twice — in 2007 and 2014.
A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia told Philly.com that the St. Andrew principal acted on her own initiative after parents had complained about the lesbian entertainer’s mug on the invites.
“All Catholic schools in the Archdiocese are firmly rooted in Gospel-based values and the teachings of the Church,” Archdiocese spokesman Ken Gavin explained. “As such, it is expected that any promotional materials developed by these schools would feature images and themes that correspond with their core mission and identity. That approach is logical and our school families have a right to expect it.”