Ellen DeGeneres is largely known for being (1) super nice and (2) friends with literally every celeb ever, but this past year has been peppered with reports of the iconic TV host being…well…kinda mean? And on top of that, former staffers of The Ellen DeGeneres Show have come forward with reports of bullying, racism, and sexual harassment from producers on her show, prompting Ellen herself to make a statement—and WarnerMedia to launch an internal investigation. Here’s what you need to know, and please, be forewarned that It. Is. A. Lot.
March 20, 2020
During the early days of quarantine when literally everyone was trapped inside with nothing to do but scroll Twitter, podcast host Kevin T. Porter hopped online and started a thread of people talking about how mean Ellen is. And, my friends, the tea was scorching. Not as scorching as the bowl of hot soup that Ellen allegedly pushed a person’s head into, but!
Right now we all need a little kindness. You know, like Ellen Degeneres always talks about! 😊❤️— Kevin T. Porter (@KevinTPorter) March 20, 2020
She’s also notoriously one of the meanest people alive
Respond to this with the most insane stories you’ve heard about Ellen being mean & I’ll match every one w/ $2 to @LAFoodBank
Sounds a liiiiittle exaggerating bud still counting it for donation!— Kevin T. Porter (@KevinTPorter) March 20, 2020
April 16, 2020
Variety reports that Ellen’s staff is suuuper pissed about how they’re being treated during the coronavirus pandemic, alleging that they hadn’t received any communication about the “status of their working hours, pay, or inquiries about their mental and physical health from producers for over a month.” Yikes.
April 20, 2020
“Call me naive, but I kind of expected to be welcomed with confetti cannons: ‘Welcome to The Ellen DeGeneres Show!' But instead, I was greeted by an angry intern who was a bit overworked. I was expecting a Disney show but got Teletubbies after dark.”
She adds, “Every guest at Ellen’s had a private toilet, but I didn’t. I was not allowed to use the nearest toilet because it was reserved for the Jonas Brothers. Why do they get a private toilet? I thought. But in the end, my item had 8 million views afterward and theirs 2 million, ha!”
May 13, 2020
A source tells Us Weekly that, “Ellen is at the end of her rope” and, “she thought this was all just sour grapes from a few haters. But it’s not a passing thing—the hits just keep coming.”
Um, yeah…just wait till we get to July.
July 16, 2020
In the piece, a Black former employee said a senior-level producer told her and another Black employee, “Oh, wow, you both have box braids—I hope we don’t get you confused.” She also experienced a writer at a party saying, “I’m sorry, I only know the names of the white people who work here.” Meanwhile, another former employee said she was fired after taking a one-month medical leave following a suicide attempt.
Truly no words for how awful this is. In response to the report, producers Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly, and Andy Lassner tell E! News:
“We are truly heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience. It’s not who we are and not who we strive to be and not the mission Ellen has set for us. For the record, the day-to-day responsibility of The Ellen Show is completely on us. We take all of this very seriously and we realize, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better, are committed to do better, and we will do better.”
July 22, 2020
A source “connected to the talk show’s production” said staffers have “been calling and texting each other about the story. They’re loving that the truth—which has been an open secret for years in the industry—is finally receiving more interest.”
July 27, 2020
Variety reports The Ellen DeGeneres Show is under internal investigation and that a memo was sent to staff saying a third-party firm would “interview current and former staffers about their experiences on-set.”
July 29, 2020
“The producer called us aside and said, ‘Now, Neil, no one is to talk to Ellen. You don’t talk to her, you don’t approach her, you don’t look at her. She’ll come in, she’ll sit down, she’ll talk to Richard, and then Ellen will leave.’”
Neil said he didn’t interact with Ellen herself and that, “I have no idea whether she’s a nice person or not, I wouldn’t have a clue. But I can tell you the people who work with her walked on eggshells the whole time. We’re there to do an interview to promote what she’s doing, but you can’t look at her? Someone get real.”
July 30, 2020
“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. I could not have the success I’ve had without all of your contributions. My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for that. Alongside Warner Bros., we immediately began an internal investigation and we are taking steps, together, to correct the issues. As we’ve grown exponentially, I’ve not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I’d want them done. Clearly some didn’t. That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again.”
Later That Night
BuzzFeed News drops yet another bombshell report, this time outlining disturbing instances of alleged sexual misconduct and harassment from producers on the set of Ellen’s show. In the piece, ex-employees accuse exec producer Kevin Leman of soliciting oral sex from a member of staff at a 2013 work party and claim exec producer Ed Glavin had a history of “creepy touching” and “being handsy with women.”
August 2, 2020
A source in the report has all the tea and says James is seen as “the long-term successor” and finding a replacement is indeed possible. “This issue has fast-tracked everything and made everyone look at the future today,” the insider adds. “James Corden was being eyed for Ellen’s job in the long term before any of this came to light.”
“James and his team have been trailblazers in modern TV, taking the once considered graveyard chat show slot into a cutting-edge format with huge online, social media, and global recognition,” the source continues. “Replacing Ellen was always going to be a tough challenge, but he is a natural fit and easy transition. James would freshen up daytime and with a free hand would be allowed to build a new afternoon era.” Eeeek.
August 3, 2020
If it wasn’t obvious already, Ellen is starting to feel the heat of all the allegations against her and her workplace. Us Weekly reports that Ellen feels super betrayed by the people on her staff coming forward about their experiences and just might be hatching some sort of escape plan to leave it all behind.
Us’s source says Ellen “wants out of the show,” but that’s not all—she apparently also feels like a target because of her overwhelming success and is “pissed that people have come forward to share these negative stories about her and feels betrayed.”
Later That Day
Portia finally gets involved! To show her support, Ellen’s wife posts a graphic to her Instagram that says “I Stand by Ellen” along with a captions that reads, “To all our fans…we see you. Thank you for your support.” To add a little something extra, Portia includes the hashtags #IStandWithEllenDeGeneres, #IStandByEllen, #IStandByEllenDeGeneres, #EllenDeGeneres, #Ellen, #TheEllenShow, #EllenShow, #BeKindToOneAnother and #StopBotAttacks (???) to her message, which you can peep below:
August 4, 2020
Ellen’s brother and a bunch of other celebrities like Katy Perry, Jerry O’Connell, and Kevin Hart jump to publicly defend Ellen. And by the looks of their statements, it seems they failed to realize that just because someone is nice to their family and fellow rich and famous people doesn’t necessarily mean they automatically foster fair and safe working environments.
That same day, Tony Okungbowa, the former DJ on the show, broke his silence on Instagram. He wrote, “While I am grateful for the opportunity it afforded me, I did experience and feel the toxicity of the environment and I stand with my former colleagues in their quest to create a healthier and more inclusive workplace as the show moves forward.”
August 5, 2020
Although previous reports hinted Ellen was planning her exit from the show amid this scandal, People sources claim the host is “personally going to be invested in making sure those things are properly changed” and wants to “put out a great show that makes people happy and feel good.”
August 11, 2020
The Ellen DeGeneres Show DJ Stephen “tWitch” Boss broke his silence on the allegations and gave this super-vague response:
“Obviously there’s some things to address, but from my standpoint and from countless others, there’s been love. I’ll just leave it at that until there’s a time where we can address more publicly. There’s been love and there will continue to be love.”
August 18, 2020
After many weeks of toxic work environment claims, Ellen finally apologizes to her staff in an “emotional” video call. According to a People source, Ellen said that she “wasn’t perfect” and is a “multilayered person” who is trying to “be the best person I can be” and “learn from my mistakes.” Ellen also reportedly said, “I’m hearing that some people felt that I wasn’t kind or too short with them or too impatient. I apologize to anybody if I’ve hurt your feelings in any way.”
On top of that, the source said:
“She acknowledged she can be introverted at times and she apologized if that was ever seen as hurtful. They’re putting in real structures and resources for people so this never happens again and that is extremely important to Ellen. She was emotional seeing everybody. They’re family.”
As this was happening, The Ellen DeGeneres Show severed ties with three producers: Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman, and Jonathan Norman—multiple staffers said they were guilty of bullying, sexual misconduct, and racism on-set.
As if this weren’t bad enough already, this extremely old Ellen tweet from 2009 resurfaced and caught the attention of everyone:
Ellen DeGeneres tweet from 11 years ago has gone viral today:— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) August 18, 2020
“I made one of my employees cry like a baby on today’s show. Honestly, it felt good.” pic.twitter.com/QVjqhMAXDc
August 24, 2020
Still no word on if The Ellen DeGeneres Show will be canceled in America, but Australia has already removed the program from its Channel Nine network (despite it still being available to watch on Australia’s 9Gem channel). The show’s 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. slot is now occupied by Desperate Housewives.
According to the Daily Mail, “Discussions between Nine and Warner Bros. regarding broadcast rights for the upcoming season, which begins next month, are said to be ‘ongoing.’” 👀
August 30, 2020
Andy Lassner, one of the show's producers, broke his month-long Instagram silence regarding the allegations and reduced it all to "some stuff." With a smug tone, he addressed his followers and said:
"Oh look who it is. If it isn't Andy Lassner. Well, yes it is. Your eyes do not deceive you.I'm back. I've been away for a little bit, dealing with—you know, some stuff. You may have read about it. It's been a couple of rough months. But it's when we go through these things, I guess, when we learn the most about ourselves, and maybe even some growth."
That brings us up to date, but truly yikes to everything happening here.
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