“Modern Family” Star Ed O’Neill Said He’s Returning His Honorary Degree From Youngstown State After The University Chose A MAGA-Loving House Rep. As Its New President

It's nice to see that some people still have morals and standards.


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Ed O’Neill has played a variety of different, beloved characters throughout his successful acting career — ranging from Modern Family’s Jay Pritchett who lovingly supports his gay son and is married to a Columbian immigrant to the former high school football star turned suburban shoe salesman, Al Bundy, who definitely peaked in high school and would’ve voted for Donald Trump… Twice in the show Married… With Children. 

But when it comes to real life, Ed O’Neill leaves nothing up to interpretation with regard to his feelings on Donald J. Trump, the MAGA movement, the 2020 election, and those who choose to support the whole mess.

Suffice it to say, the sitcom actor is firmly on “our” side.

O’Neill has been known to fiercely campaign for Barack Obama in his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio, and even spoke at the virtual 2020 Ohio Democratic Party Convention in support of now-President Joe Biden. Ed O’Neill knows where he stands and he’s not afraid to say it.

The popular sitcom actor made this clear as crystal when he learned that his almost alma mater, Youngstown State University, had dolled out a “slap in the face,” when their Board of Trustees recently appointed the election-denying, MAGA-loving, Trump-supporting Republican House Rep. Bill Johnson as the esteemed university’s new president.

O’Neill actually attended Youngstown State in his former years, before dropping out of the university for what ended up being a very short-lived career on the Pittsburg Steelers in 1969. O’Neill was cut during training camp and went on to pursue his now-successful acting career in lieu of returning to the university.

However, Youngstown State always held a special place in his heart and he was truly honored to receive an honorary doctorate from the university in 2013.

Until now, anyway…

Following the appointment of Rep. Johnson as the school’s new president, O’Neill said he’s giving his honorary degree back, as he cannot stand in support of a person who voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election and just recently endorsed Donald J. Trump for a second White House term.

Speaking with MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell on a recent episode of The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, the sitcom actor explained his decision to return the honorary degree:

I was so disappointed when I heard about this decision. I frankly couldn’t believe it. …. We’re going with this guy who has no prior experience in higher education.’

He’s an election denier and he’s not the biggest fan of the gay community. He’s anti-choice. He’s just a polarizing far-right-wing fanatical guy. … The faculty, the students, the alumni—they don’t want somebody like this.

I was very proud of [the honorary degree], but I can’t keep it. It doesn’t mean anything to me now. That the university would do a thing like this, it’s a slap in the face to all of us. … I’m giving it back. I just have to find the right way to do it. I want everybody to know I’m doing it.”

Rep. Johnson is slated to take control as president of Youngstown State University, which boasts upwards of 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students, in early March of this year.

Watch Ed O’Neill’s MSNBC appearance here:

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