An edit of the monologue created by Rafael Shimunov shows Ellen addressing her studio audience while harrowing images of the Iraq War play on-screen in the background. Not long after Shimunov had published the clip on Twitter on Tuesday (October 8), mass of takedown notices saw the video pulled over claims of copyright infringement.
However, plenty of people who have no interest in being buddy-buddy with warmongers reposted the video across the internet. Copyright lawyers and experts came to Shimunov's defence, noting the video clearly falls under fair use.
Speaking with Popula, Shimunov explained that the idea for the edit came to him after realizing DeGeneres was standing in front of a blue screen on her set. Not unlike a green screen, this allowed him to place any image behind her, though he "wanted it to be very obvious that, you know — that it was edited."
"The most interesting responses I got were from people who were confused; a certain proportion of viewers actually didn't realize I'd changed the background at all, they just thought I was reposting Ellen's thing," Shimunov said. "They're so desensitized to these kinds of images that they watched that whole video without even realizing what the background was."
Perhaps the edit's most shocking moment is when DeGeneres appears to mimic the pose of an Abu Ghraib prisoner set to be electrocuted (seen above). As Shimunov recalled, the timing was purely coincidental.
"I was randomly putting images in. And when I put that one in, that was the background while she was doing that pose, and I pushed it a little to the left, to the right, to make it match up, once I was hit with it," he explained. "But it wasn't like, a planned thing. Sometimes when you do this work, I don't know why. When you're doing something with meaning, I believe, sometimes these things happen, things just fall into place."
You can watch Shimunov's edit below.
Awesome video, Rafael. @TheEllenShow, @jack and @Twitter should be ashamed. It's obvious fair use, and protected First Amendment speech to boot. If they have any kind of counter notice mechanism, I'd file one in a heartbeat. If they don't, more shame. Ugh!— Brandon Butler (@bc_butler) October 9, 2019