Ellen DeGeneres has faced a series of allegations and stories that have impacted her public image. But what exactly led to the widespread scrutiny surrounding one of television’s most recognizable personalities?
The Ellen Degeneres Show and Its Impact
Ellen was once celebrated for her humorous, warm-hearted shows that spanned 19 seasons and 3,000 episodes. However, by May 26, 2022, ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ aired its finale, marking the end of an era.
For years, Ellen’s show was not just about humor but also served as a beacon of hope for many, particularly in the LGBTQ+ community. Kate McKinnon, for instance, has credited DeGeneres as an inspiration for openly gay performers.
The Series of Allegations Which Caused Ellen To Be Canceled
Despite her influential status, a cloud of controversies began to overshadow DeGeneres’s image. In 2020, allegations emerged, pointing to a toxic workplace environment behind the scenes of her show. These claims resulted in the departure of three top executives and prompted Ellen herself to address these issues.
In a letter to her staff, she acknowledged the show’s faults and promised to investigate the claims further:
“On day one of our show, I told everyone in our first meeting that The Ellen DeGeneres Show would be a place of happiness — no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect. Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry. Anyone who knows me knows it’s the opposite of what I believe and what I hoped for our show.”
However, Ellen also highlighted her reliance on the show’s producers for day-to-day operations, hinting that she might not have been entirely aware of all that was transpiring behind the scenes. But the workplace environment wasn’t the only controversy.
An incident involved an interview with Dakota Johnson, where Ellen mistakenly claimed she wasn’t invited to Johnson’s 30th birthday party. This relatively minor hiccup, coupled with Ellen’s attendance at a Texas event with former President George W. Bush, drew online attention, putting her public relations under strain.
Shortly after, stories of not-so-pleasant encounters with Ellen began to surface online. A tweet from podcast host Kevin T. Porter daring people to share unflattering tales about DeGeneres drew thousands of responses, further deepening public intrigue. Additional claims then surfaced, painting a contrasting image to Ellen’s on-screen persona.
Some sources claimed Ellen acted differently off-camera, with guests like Katherine Lang and Richard Reid noting her contrastingly ‘bossy’ behavior. Reports suggested that working on the show’s set was also challenging. Alleged bizarre rules, including some related to personal hygiene, made headlines.
In a more serious vein, Ellen faced accusations of fostering an environment where racism and harassment flourished. Warner Bros. took these claims seriously, launching an investigation that led to the dismissal of some executives.
Several instances of Ellen allegedly embarrassing or putting her guests in uncomfortable positions on the show came to light. Mariah Carey’s unintended pregnancy reveal, and the tense interview with Johnson was among the episodes that drew attention.
Celebrities were split in their reactions. While figures like Katy Perry and Ashton Kutcher defended Ellen, others like Brad Garrett and Lea Thompson affirmed they had experienced or witnessed unfavorable treatment on the show.
Ellen’s comment likening quarantine to ‘being in jail’ in 2020 faced backlash from many who viewed the remark as insensitive given the global gravity of the pandemic. Reports indicated crew members were frustrated due to a lack of communication, especially concerning pay during the pandemic-era remote filming.
The Show’s Sunset and Ellen’s Future
Following these controversies, the show had a noticeable dip in ratings. Eventually, DeGeneres announced the series would end after the 2022 season. Reflecting on the challenges, Ellen expressed regrets about certain aspects of her talk show’s branding:
“I started it because, at the time, there were a lot of young gay boys being either, you know, killed or bullied into suicide because they were gay. And it was happening a lot. And that’s why I started saying, be kind to one another. And then suddenly someone was like, hey, you know what would be good clickbait is if the be kind lady isn’t kind.”
After the talk show, Ellen embarked on new ventures, including a short-form comedy series about her retirement on her YouTube channel.