It’s been a couple weeks since the bombshell report of workplace misconduct at The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and the controversy around the hit talk show, and especially its host, has not died down. If anything, Ellen and her team are facing more scrutiny than ever, with the show’s production company launching an official investigation into the allegations, and widespread rumors that Ellen either wants to quit, or might be removed from her hosting role.
In a letter to her staff last week, Ellen suggested that she was hearing about the issues at the show for the first time, writing that she was “disappointed to learn” about the issues included in the report. In the message, she largely passed the blame onto others on her staff, saying she “relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I’d want them done,” and “Clearly some didn’t.” In the letter, she did not address other stories and reports about people having negative experiences with her personally, and naturally, many were skeptical about her self-proclaimed ignorance of the issues at hand. Even Brad Garrett tweeted about it:
Sorry but it comes from the top @TheEllenShow Know more than one who were treated horribly by her. Common knowledge. DeGeneres Sends Emotional Apology to Staff – Variety https://t.co/D0uxOgyyre
— Brad Garrett (@RealBradGarrett) July 31, 2020
We’ve been hearing negative stories about Ellen for a while, and for someone as famous as Brad Garrett to call this behavior “common knowledge” feels major. Not everyone would have the balls to tweet something like this, but some people in Hollywood must be aware of the stories and rumors. That said, Ellen has a lot of famous friends, and some of them have used their platforms to show their support.
For someone with as many Hollywood connections as Ellen DeGeneres, it’s no surprise that some celebrities are coming to her defense. On Monday, Ellen’s wife Portia de Rossi shared a post declaring “I Stand By Ellen,” and thanked their fans for their continued support. She also hashtagged “stop bot attacks,” which I don’t really understand, considering the allegations against Ellen and her team are coming from very real people who actually worked for her, not random Twitter bots.
I digress. It’s not surprising that Portia is taking Ellen’s side in this whole debacle, but posting this graphic just feels unnecessary? Portia’s Instagram feed is notably devoid of any mention of the Black Lives Matter movement, which I would argue is far more important than whatever strife Ellen is facing right now.
Portia isn’t the only celeb using her voice to support Ellen. Brandi Carlile commented on Portia’s post, noting Ellen’s contributions to the LGBTQ community, and saying that “she’s NEVER stopped making life better and easier for all kinds of people.” She’s not wrong. Ellen has been an important voice in the movement for queer rights, and certainly, she’s helped a lot of people over the years. But that’s not really what people are questioning. Ellen giving someone on her show a big check is great, but it doesn’t negate the fact that people who work for and with her have had such negative experiences. Carlile says that “this attack is unprecedented,” which I don’t think is the word she was looking for, but either way, an attack isn’t automatically wrong just because it hasn’t happened before.
On Tuesday morning, Katy Perry threw her hat into the pro-Ellen ring, tweeting that she’s “only ever had positive takeaways from my time with Ellen.” She acknowledged that she “can’t speak for anyone else’s experience,” and that’s the key issue here. As a talk show host who directly benefits from her relationships with other celebrities, of course Ellen is going to be nice to someone like Katy Perry. It’s basically her job. Ellen being nice to Katy Perry when she’s promoting her album has nothing to do with the way she treats those who aren’t in a similar position of power.
1/2 I know I can’t speak for anyone else’s experience besides my own but I want to acknowledge that I have only ever had positive takeaways from my time with Ellen & on the @theellenshow. I think we all have witnessed the light & continual fight for equality that she has brought
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) August 4, 2020
2/2 to the world through her platform for decades. Sending you love & a hug, friend @TheEllenShow ♥️
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) August 4, 2020
And also on Tuesday, Kevin Hart made an Instagram post in support of Ellen. In his caption, he called Ellen “one of the dopest people on the f*cking planet,” and criticized the “crazy world of negativity,” saying that “this hate sh*t has to stop.” Later in the post, he clarified that he simply wants to show what his personal experiences with Ellen have been like, and doesn’t mean to “disregard the feelings of others and their experiences.”
View this post on Instagram
It’s crazy to see my friend go thru what she’s going thru publicly. I have known Ellen for years and I can honestly say that she’s one of the dopest people on the fucking planet. She has treated my family and my team with love and respect from day 1. The internet has become a crazy world of negativity….we are falling in love with peoples down fall. It’s honestly sad…When did we get here? I stand by the ones that I know and that I love. Looking forward to the future where we get back to loving one another….this hate shit has to stop. Hopefully it goes out of style soon….This post is not meant to disregard the feelings of others and their experiences….It’s simply to show what my experiences have been with my friend. Love you for life Ellen…
In the Buzzfeed report, former employees spoke about losing their jobs because of their medical circumstances. They spoke about experiencing racist treatment at their workplace. They spoke about not being taken seriously by those in positions of power. I don’t doubt that Katy Perry, Kevin Hart, and many others have nothing but kind things to say about Ellen, but maybe that’s not the point. Maybe her (former) employees are the ones who really need the support.
Along with all the rumors about Ellen coming to an end, there are also new rumors about who could potentially take her place in the daytime TV space. The Sun published a report claiming that the top choice to replace Ellen is James Corden, who currently hosts The Late Late Show. Finally, a straight, white man might get an opportunity in the entertainment industry! This is far from confirmed, and The Sun certainly isn’t the most reliable source, but James Corden seems like an extraordinarily bad choice for this gig. Aside from the aforementioned straight-white-man-ness, Corden might be kind of an asshole. Much like Ellen DeGeneres, he’s cultivated an image as a friendly jokester, but some reports have suggested that’s just for the TV cameras. One person even claimed that Corden once advocated for lower pay for late-night writers at a private Writer’s Guild meeting. Oof. Doesn’t this seem like the exact opposite of who should be replacing Ellen?
News and rumors about Ellen are still coming out left and right, so it will be interesting to see how the cookie crumbles in the coming days and weeks. Whether or not she continues to host her show, it seems that the perfect illusion of kindness has been irreparably damaged. Let’s just hope that whether Ellen stays on or not, she makes good on her promise to make the show an inclusive and supportive place.
Images: David Crotty/Getty Image; realbradgarrett, katyperry / Twitter; portiaderossi; kevinhart4real / Instagram
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