As we all know, it’s been a tumultuous six months for Ellen DeGeneres. Back in the spring, stories about people having unpleasant encounters with Ellen went viral on Twitter, and her show came under fire early in the pandemic for how staff were being compensated (or rather, not compensated). Things only got worse over the summer, as current and former employees of The Ellen DeGeneres Show shared their stories of experiencing sexual harassment, racial discrimination, and other unacceptable treatment in the workplace. Following these allegations, the show’s production company launched a formal investigation, and multiple high-level producers were removed from their positions.
The show was on summer hiatus during the height of the drama, and when the staff returned in August, Ellen addressed the situation in a virtual meeting. But while there were some reports of Ellen’s general tone during this meeting, she didn’t publicly speak about what’s been going on until this week. On Monday, Ellen began its 18th season (with virtual audience members on some Black Mirror-esque video boards), and DeGeneres kicked off the new year by addressing the elephant in the room.
While Ellen didn’t get into the nitty gritty of the various claims, she began by saying, “I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously, and I want to say that I am so sorry to the people that were affected.” She continued by telling her audience that she understands her personal role: “I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power, and I realize that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show. This is The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and I am Ellen DeGeneres.” So basically… she should have known, but she didn’t know, but she takes responsibility, but she still runs the show? Cool.
She closed out that bit of the monologue by saying that “We have made the necessary changes, and today we are starting a new chapter.” Personally, I would have liked Ellen to be a bit more specific about what changes were made, and what things are going to look like going forward.
From there, DeGeneres moved into the second portion of this fun mess: all of the accusations that she’s a sh*tty person. She revisited the origin of her “be kind to one another” mantra—to spread positivity after the 2010 death of Tyler Clementi, a teen who took his own life after being bullied for his sexuality. While standing by this important message, Ellen noted the “tricky” nature of being known as the “Be Kind Lady.” She reassured her viewers that “I am that person that you see on TV,” but added that she is “also a lot of other things. Sometimes I get sad, I get mad, I get anxious, I get frustrated, I get impatient, and I am working on all of that. I am a work in progress.”
Honestly, Ellen is in a pretty tough position here, at least partially of her own making. Of course she has more sides of her personality than just giving out big checks on TV; I don’t think anyone thought she wasn’t human. But there’s a sliiiiiight difference between “I get frustrated,” and some of the more eyebrow-raising stories that have been told about her, like that people weren’t allowed to look at her, or speak to her, or chew gum in her presence.
All that being said, I was never a big Ellen fan before all of this drama, so I’m not really the demographic she’s trying to appeal to. When it comes down to it, she has millions of soccer moms and old people who adore her, and have probably been distraught about some of the things they’ve heard in the past few months about their beloved Ellen. I may not be 100% satisfied with her comments on Monday’s show, but I have a feeling most of her core audience is ready to love her again.
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Images: David Crotty/Getty Image
UPDATE: Given the avalanche of bad news about The Ellen DeGeneres Show, it was only a matter of time before some heads rolled, and the wait is over. In a staff meeting on Monday, it was announced that three of the show’s executive producers have been removed from their positions at the show. Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman, and Jonathan Norman were all named in last month’s Buzzfeed News report about the toxic environment at the show, and were reportedly suspended shortly after, as WarnerMedia began an internal investigation.
In Monday’s meeting, Ellen finally spoke directly to her staff about the recent turmoil at the show. A source told The New York Post that she was “emotional” in her remarks, and said that hearing the horror stories about conditions at the show “broke her heart.” While three senior producers are gone, Ellen obviously still remains at the helm of her show, and three executive producers that have been with the show since its 2003 launch are staying in their positions.
Original Article: This has been a sh*tty summer for pretty much all of us—at this point, I’m just resigned to being bored all the time, and have accepted that “vacation” is a concept that will have to wait for 2021. But for Ellen DeGeneres, this summer has been sh*tty for a very different set of reasons, and week after week, the bad press just keeps on coming. Months after a viral Twitter thread ignited long-simmering rumors of Ellen’s not-so-nice temperament, a dozen current and former employees came forward in a blistering report about the toxic culture at The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Following those allegations, WarnerMedia launched an internal investigation into the show. Since then, various celebrities have come forward in support of Ellen, but the stories from her former employees continue to tell a different story.
Last week, a former camera assistant on Ellen’s show went on Australian radio show Stav, Abby & Matt, where she spoke anonymously about her experience of working on the show. She said she chose to leave Ellen after a little over a year, and that the work environment on the show is “kind of like The Devil Wears Prada,” where “everyone is trying to make it to the year.” She added that a year at Ellen is so tough that it’s “a badge of honor to make it through that and have it on your resume.”
When asked about the other staffers coming forward, she commented that “It’s important to read their stories and listen to their truth, and believe them.” She also brought up the “I stand by Ellen” movement promoted by celebrities on social media, saying that “it’s really disappointing that people aren’t believing these victims.”
With many of the recent accusations directed at the show’s producers and higher-ups, and not at DeGeneres herself, there has been debate over how much Ellen actually knows about what goes on behind the scenes of her show. The staffer agreed that DeGeneres “had no idea” what was happening on her own show, because “Ellen has no idea who most of the staff even are.” So like, she didn’t know about specific situations, but only because she didn’t give a sh*t about the crew as a whole, lol. She added that, in her year at the show, she never actually met DeGeneres, and was never even allowed in the same room as her. She claims that it’s an unwritten rule that “when Ellen enters a room, you and your entire crew need to leave… You see her and you have to run.”
The former employee shared that the dismissive attitude toward the crew goes far beyond Ellen herself, saying that the higher-ups cultivate a “culture of competition” at the show. “You’re constantly reminded that you’re so unimportant” and that “the show will succeed with or without you.” Yes, TV is a competitive industry, but there’s a big difference between a healthy level of competition, and your employer treating you like the gum on the bottom of their shoe.
The former staffer acknowledged that long hours and demanding situations are standard in the film and television industry, but that Ellen took things a step further, denying crew members “certain basic rights.” She said that it comes down to things like “asking to be paid for your overtime, or you’re asking for water on a hot day on a hot set, and you’re told things like ‘if you don’t like it here, there’s the door.'” The previous allegations included issues with overtime pay, but the water thing is news to me, and it’s seriously disturbing.
This new interview is just further confirmation that there are major issues at The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and the staffer’s specific comments about Ellen’s attitude toward her staff are not a good look. Somehow, there are still many people who are devoted to defending their beloved host, but at this point, why? She may not have known about some of the more serious issues at her show, but if your employees can’t even be in the same room as you out of fear, that’s a personal problem.
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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.”
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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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There have been many unfathomable changes in the last month, but out of all of them, who would’ve thought that we’d all come out of quarantine thinking Ellen DeGeneres is a sh*tty person? Well, to be fair, I kind of thought that before, but over the past month, it feels like the floodgates on negative press about Ellen have sprung a major leak.
First, there was the viral Twitter thread, in which dozens of people shared their personal anecdotes of Ellen being a nightmare. Then, last week, Ellen got raked over the online coals for a tone-deaf joke about her quarantine being like jail. But while that joke was in poor taste, even more concerning is a new report about how poorly her TV show crew has been treated during this time.
Speaking to Variety, two sources from within the show shared how the core Ellen crew—around 30 people—were essentially ghosted after production shut down last month. According to the sources, the crew “received no written communication about the status of their working hours, pay, or inquiries about their mental and physical health from producers for over a month.” When pressed for more information, “Higher-ups in production would occasionally answer phone calls but reveal little” about what was actually going on. Considering that I start to freak out if my mom doesn’t respond to my texts within five minutes, I’m not even sure what I would do if my bosses stopped talking to me for a month. Especially now, we should all be communicating more, not less.
Today I learned Ellen makes $50 million a year and the show has been around for 18 years aaaand her crew isn’t being paid adequately. Hmm.
— roxane gay (@rgay) April 17, 2020
As if the lack of communication wasn’t bad enough, things got worse when the Ellen higher-ups did start communicating again. Last week, as the show resumed production from home, the majority of the crew was told to “brace for a 60% reduction in pay.” Normally, the crew works four 10-hour days a week, but after the first couple weeks of the shutdown, those were reduced to eight hours. Now, the crew have been told that their pay will be cut to two eight-hour days a week, which is… just not enough money. Reached for comment, a spokesperson for Warner Bros. Television, which produces Ellen, said that they “have made decisions first and foremost with in mind,” but that seems apparently false.
In the past few weeks, production has ramped back up on Ellen, and DeGeneres is now doing a full five episodes a week from home. But while new episodes of Ellen are airing every day, the sources told Variety that only four of the core crew members are actively working on the at-home version. So it’s understandable that the rest of the crew was reportedly “incensed” when the show hired an “outside, non-union tech company” to handle the production.
While at the moment, it doesn’t sound like any crew members have been fired, hiring an outside company that isn’t unionized with the same skills as your long-time employees is a pretty major slap in the face. But above all this other nonsense, the sources say that the most upsetting part of all this is the “lack of personal outreach from show leadership to check on longtime employees” during this difficult time. I hate to say it, but this sounds pretty in line with some of the other stories we’ve heard about Ellen DeGeneres recently, no?
Obviously, this is a tough time financially for a lot of people, as well as a lot of businesses. Millions of people have been laid off or furloughed, and the entertainment industry is certainly not immune to this. But considering that Ellen DeGeneres makes $50 million a year from her TV deal, it seems like she could be doing a lot more for the people who work for her. When it comes to paying the crew, that obviously involves a lot of other people, but Ellen has the resources to actually do something about it. Variety reports that during Jimmy Kimmel’s initial shutdown, he paid his show’s stagehands with his own money. Obviously, not everyone can afford to do that for their employees, but um, Ellen can.
Or if she’s not going to give them money, you know, maybe a check-in phone call or a text would be nice? Just a thought! Gotta say, the last month has not done any favors for my opinion of Ellen DeGeneres. It’ll be interesting to see whether she cooks up some elaborate damage control PR campaign, but I have a feeling she’ll just go about her business like nothing is happening. The midwestern moms probably still love her, so that’s what really matters.
Images: David Crotty/Getty Images; rgay / Twitter
It’s fair to say the past few weeks have been tough for everyone. Of course the doctors, nurses, and essential workers are putting their lives on the line every day, but it’s also a tough time for celebrities. Some of them are totally alone in their mansions, with nothing to do but swim in their pools, or go to their in-home movie theaters, or go on Instagram Live and complain about being bored. As we’ve seen with instances like Gal Gadot’s ill-fated “Imagine” video, people are not really in the mood for celeb bullsh*t while they’re losing their jobs and trying not to get sick. Case in point: Ellen DeGeneres getting dragged for a tone-deaf joke on her show this week.
Like everyone else with a show, Ellen is making the most of the situation and broadcasting from her home, which you can probably guess is pretty f*cking nice. In her monologue uploaded to YouTube, Ellen tries to keep the quarantine mood light. The first couple minutes of this video (which has now been taken down) reminded me how funny Ellen can be—she jokes that this is the only room of her house that isn’t filled with toilet paper, and that Portia is her entire film crew.
But then, she gets to this part.
is Ellen DeGeneres the new Prison Mike? pic.twitter.com/0OXZO67Psn
— Betches (@betchesluvthis) April 8, 2020
If you can’t be bothered to watch videos with sound, Ellen says, “this is like being in jail, mainly because I’ve been wearing the same clothes for 10 days, and everyone in here is gay.” You can’t see my face right now, but I’m making the same expression as that one GIF of Chrissy Teigen. You know the one.
While I think the punchline of the joke is decent, it’s just not a good look for someone like Ellen DeGeneres to compare anything about her situation to being in jail. First, look at where she’s f*cking sitting. She’s in front of an entire wall of glass, that looks like it’s in front of a full jungle. Wherever she is, it’s nice as hell.
The jail comparison wouldn’t be a good take under normal circumstances, but it’s especially tone-deaf right now. Due to close quarters and questionable conditions, jails and prisons are seen as one of the most high-risk places to be during this pandemic. This week, the Federal Bureau of Prisons gave an update that “138 inmates and 59 employees have tested positive and at least seven inmates have died” due to COVID-19, and in the New York prison and parole system alone, over 300 employees and inmates have tested positive.
I think this tweet just about sums it up:
Can we all just agree jokes about jail/prison are just…bad? Putting humans in cages is not funny. Things that happen there are not funny. And anything you’re going through right now in your apartment (or your fucking mansion, Ellen) is not comparable.
— Shana Knizhnik (@shanakn) April 8, 2020
This was just one of many tweets slamming Ellen’s jail comment, which I’m assuming is why the video has been taken down from YouTube. Good thing we have screen recording! Obviously, Ellen is doing okay with her gorgeous house and hundreds of millions of dollars, but this has been a rough few weeks for her on social media. Last month, we broke down a viral Twitter thread in which hundreds of people shared their horror stories about Ellen being an asshole. You can read the article for the full breakdown, but I can’t resist sharing a few more of my favorites here.
My brother is a Wish kid. His wish was to be at the 12-days of Ellen, which was arranged.1 month before they cancelled because, “Ellen refuses to interact with disabled people.” Crushed his heart.
— Linzy Jamba (@ljamba) March 26, 2020
Oof. Obviously, Ellen has helped and given money to a lot of people on her show, but this isn’t the only story in the thread about her reportedly being cruel or dismissive to Make-a-Wish kids, or other people with disabilities. Who would do that?
Another friend of mine was a PA on her show and when Russell Brand came into the employee break area to chat with the crew and hang out, Ellen came in and got mad at him – saying he didn’t have to interact with these people, that’s why guests have their own area backstage.
— Josh Levesque (@JoshBLevesque) March 20, 2020
The Make-a-Wish anecdote was really sad, but this one is just ridiculous. Even if Ellen doesn’t like interacting with her own crew (still bad), why should she give a sh*t if her guests want to? Some people are actually just friendly—a wild concept!
Ellen scares people??? With the things they are notoriously afraid of?????Everyday???? On live TV????
— mcp (@meek_mollz) March 20, 2020
And finally, I don’t think we talk enough about this. Ellen DeGeneres absolutely loves scaring people. What is that all about? Like, I get a prank, or a little jump-scare, but this is next level. If you haven’t seen the video of Sarah Paulson literally hiding under a table to get away from a clown, please watch it now. This isn’t normal.
So basically, Ellen DeGeneres should probably stay off of Twitter right now, because her mentions aren’t exactly flooded with positivity. And we should all keep in mind that jokes about being in jail while quarantined are pretty much never a good idea. If you’re unsure, just don’t. You can’t afford to be getting canceled right now!
Images: David Crotty/Getty Images; betchesluvthis, shanakn, ljamba, joshblevesque, meek_mollz / Twitter
It’s been almost seven months since Kim Kardashian got robbed in Paris, and she’s finally talking about it. Well, she’s been talking about it for a while, including the entire episode of Keeping Up about it, but she’s finally ready to do TV interviews about it. Our girl Ellen DeGeneres got the first interview, and honestly it was pretty interesting.
Ellen is the master of getting people to talk about things they might not want to—*makes mental note to invite Ellen over next time I confront my boyfriend for doing something shady*—but Kim clearly came prepared to tell the whole story so Ellen barely had to do anything. Kim talked about how the robbery has made her way less materialistic, and that she “knows it was meant to happen” to her. I’m happy Kim is alive and well, but come on, that has got to be the epitome of “shit rich people say.” Like, when I had a string of armed robberies in my apartment complex (#Atlanta), it didn’t make me “less materialistic,” but it did make me pay more attention to my surroundings at all times, never walk around with headphones, and always carry my keys wedged between my index and middle finger in case I needed to do a quick stabbing. Were those good life lessons to learn? Definitely. Would I have much preferred to learn those things without living in fear I’d get a gun shoved in my face in my parking deck? You fucking bet!
Don’t get me wrong, we’re glad Kim learned a lesson from that horrific experience—which we wouldn’t wish on anyone BTW—and we’re not mad that her Instagram has transitioned from flashy jewelry pics to grainy 1970s-style photographs. But like, Kim thinking she was “meant to” get robbed because she was materialistic is a whole Pandora’s box of victim self-blaming, which I’m not even gonna open right now. But whatever, I guess we all deal with tragedy in our own way.
In the interview, Kim talked about how she doesn’t really wear jewelry anymore, which makes sense tbh. She says she’s now a better role model for her kids—her sharp decline in thirst trap photos supports this statement—and that she views her whole life in a different way. She started to cry right on cue, and we can just imagine Kris watching gleefully as the crowd ate it all up. Behind every well-orchestrated TV interview, there’s a high power Momager pulling the strings.
We can’t believe we’re saying this, but at this point Kim might be the most down-to-earth member of her family. (If you’re wondering, it used to be Rob before he made it clear that Eggos were more important to him than his own daughter.) Kim seems happy and the most normal she’s been in basically…ever. How long will it last? Probably until the next time E! needs a ratings boost, so approximately seven months from now.