The photo, from 2013, captures the talk show host taking an exaggerated stare at Perry’s cleavage while wife Portia de Rossi laughs. The caption reads: “It’s time to bring out the big balloons!”
The “balloons” line references a lyric in Perry’s 2013 song “Birthday.”
But with sensitivities running high in the wake of sexual assault and harassment claims against producer Harvey Weinstein, director James Toback, journalist Mark Halperin and former President George H.W. Bush, the image struck a nerve.
Some Twitter users called out DeGeneres for perpetuating a double standard. Others dismissed the outcry as political correctness gone too far, pointing out that DeGeneres and Perry are friends.
Reps for DeGeneres and Perry didn’t immediately respond to HuffPost’s requests for comment.
Here’s a sampling of the reaction: