“How do you say Modern Family?” he asked in Spanish. Sofía quickly realized that Pablo seemed to be mocking her English, and replied, “Oh, because you speak better English than me? Ah,” before questioning how many Emmy nominations he had under his name.
As soon as a clip of the awkward exchange surfaced online, several internet users praised Sofía’s “classy” response to Pablo.
“She’s absolutely right because English is merely a language; it is a means of communication, not a measure of intelligence or knowledge,” one person tweeted, while someone else pointed out that Sofía’s Modern Family character, Gloria, quite literally highlighted this in the series when she questioned: “Do you even know how smart I am in Spanish?”
Before long, Sofía’s response to Pablo reminded fans that sadly, the Modern Family actor has had to endure similar mockery in other interviews over the years.
Back in 2015, Sofía appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to discuss a CoverGirl commercial that she and host Ellen had filmed together. During their conversation, Ellen questioned why Sofía had been given the “hardest lines” to read in the commercial, saying: “She has such a hard time pronouncing any of the ingredients.”
In response, Sofía quipped back, “I think because you're much more famous than me and older than me, they give you priority and you read the script first, and then you're the one that makes me say those words.”
But in spite of this, many people have continued to raise eyebrows at some of Sofía’s other past appearances on The Ellen Show.
When Sofía appeared on the show again in 2017, Ellen memorably told her, “I have been trying to teach myself Spanish, so I’ve been doing a Spanish word of the day. So, I thought I would teach you an English word.”
Sofía looked taken aback by Ellen’s remark, while the audience burst out laughing. She then shrugged and said, “OK. I know English very well.”
Ellen replied, “I know,” before proceeding to “teach” her words like “flabbergasted” and “discombobulated.”
The following year, Ellen told Sofía — who, this time, was joined by the Modern Family cast — that her accent had gotten “worse and worse over the years.”
“You’ve been on the show for 10 years, and your accent has gotten worse. How is that possible?” she questioned, before later adding, “It’s gotten worse and worse over the years. I can barely understand you.”
Sofía laughed along and told Ellen, “It’s a talent. I made a commitment with myself that I am going to be Gloria — very thick Latin-spoken woman.”
Many viewers took issue with Ellen saying that Sofía’s accent had “gotten worse,” and hopped into the comments on YouTube to express their disappointment.
“There is nothing wrong with Sofia's accent so it can't get ‘worse.’ That's a very rude thing to say to your guest, but Sofía handled it beautifully,” one person wrote. “Really wish Ellen wouldn’t use ‘worse’ to describe her accent. It’s gotten more pronounced, thicker... Please use something other than a negative adjective,” another user agreed.
“She smiles but you can tell that at a point of constant humiliation she’s feeling hurt,” someone else speculated of Sofía’s response.