Ellen DeGeneres says the claims that she ran a toxic work environment were a ‘coordinated, misogynistic’ attack on her and that she couldn’t ‘possibly’ have known her staff were unhappy.
DailyMail.com revealed on Wednesday that Ellen is canceling her show amid plummeting ratings. This season, her 19th, is her last.
Her first show of the final season airs today at 4pm EST and in her opening monologue, she says that she is not stepping down because of the claims but that she needs to ‘take a break from talking’.
After filming the episode, she was interviewed on set by Savannah Guthrie for NBC’s Today show.
That interview aired on Thursday morning.
She complained to Savannah that she is ‘sensitive’, does not have ‘thick skin’ and the ‘four months of attacks’ on her last year ‘took a toll.
‘It was really interesting because I am a woman and it did feel very misogynistic,’ she said.
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Ellen DeGeneres says the claims that she ran a toxic work environment were a ‘coordinated, misogynistic’ attack on her and that she couldn’t ‘possibly’ have known her staff were unhappy
‘If it was why I was quitting, I would not have come back this year and I really did think about not coming back.
‘It was devastating. I am a kind person. I am a person who likes to make people happy. I kept saying to Portia, if I was a fan of somebody and even if I loved them, I would think there must be some truth to [the allegations] because they weren’t stopping.
‘I had no idea – I never saw anything that would even point to that. I didn’t understand it, I still don’t.
‘It was too orchestrated. It was too coordinated. People get picked on but for four months straight? When every guest who has ever come on has only ever talked about what a happy place this is…
‘I don’t know how I could have known when there are 255 employees here, and a lot of different buildings. Unless I didn’t go home until the last person left… it’s my name on the show so clearly it affects me but I do wish somebody would have come to me and said “hey, something’s going on that you should know about.”” she said.
She told Savannah that it reminded her of when she came out in the 1990s and lost jobs because of it.
Ellen was interviewed by Savannah Guthrie after taping the show in L.A. on Wednesday
‘My therapist said very few people go through public humiliation twice in a lifetime…it was really interesting because I am a woman and it did feel very misogynistic.
BULLYING, RACISM AND A ‘TOXIC WORK ENVIRONMENT’: THE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST ELLEN
Ten former and one current member of Ellen’s staff alleged they were bullied, fired for attending family funerals or taking sick leave, while one woman claimed to have walked off the job after facing comments about her race.
‘That ‘be kind’ bulls*** only happens when the cameras are on. It’s all for show,’ one anonymous staff member said.
Staff said they were told not to talk to DeGeneres herself while she was on set, and that the day-to-day running of the show was left to producers.
The employees said they did not have first-hand experience of DeGeneres being unpleasant, but said she needs to take more responsibility for how her employees are treated.
However, allegations have mounted from other sources against the host herself – sparked by a Twitter thread from comedian Kevin T. Porter
Calling DeGeneres ‘notoriously one of the meanest people alive’, he asked people for ‘the most insane stories you’ve heard about Ellen being mean’.
The tweet received 2,600 replies and saw Porter give $600 to an LA foodbank, after promising to donate $2 for every legitimate mean story.
Claims included that staff are required to chew gum before speaking to her because of her ‘sensitive nose’, and that she polices staff lunch orders and bans anyone from eating fish or meat.
Separately, security worker Tom Majercak – who was assigned to be Ellen’s bodyguard at the 2014 Oscars – said she was ‘sly’ and ‘demeaning’ to him.
‘Ellen is the one person that I’ve been assigned to – and I’ve been assigned to quite a few celebrities – that has never taken the time to say hi to me,’ he said.
‘She’s not the person she portrays to be that she’s playing off of society.’
‘I’m not bulletproof and no I don’t have a thick skin. I am extremely sensitive, to the point that it’s not healthy. When something is coming back at me that I know is not true… I could take one or two of those shots but four months in a row, it took a toll on me.’
The allegations of misconduct emerged first in a BuzzFeed article last July when several male senior producers were accused of sexual harassment.
Ellen was accused of fostering an environment that tolerated bullying and one in which she reigned supreme.
Staffers described bizarre rules she allegedly imposed like not being allowed to eat meat or fish at lunchtime, and that they weren’t allowed to speak to her.
If they did ever find themselves speaking to her, they said they’d been ordered to chew gum first because she has a ‘sensitive nose’.
In her opening monologue, she insisted that is not the reason she is stepping down, and that she ‘always knew’ season 19 would be her last.
DeGeneres opened the monologue, which will be broadcast on Thursday, with the news of her departure.
‘Today I’m announcing that next season, season 19 is going to be my last season,’ she said.
‘The past 18 years… has changed my life. You all have changed my life. I am forever grateful to all of you for watching, for laughing, for dancing — sometimes crying. This show has been the greatest experience of my life and I owe it all to you,’ she continued.
DeGeneres added that she had ‘thought a lot about this decision’ in consultation with her wife, actress Portia de Rossi, 48.
‘I sat with it for a while. I meditated on it. I talked to Portia. I talked to myself. A few times I was talking to myself and Portia thought I was talking to her. One time I was talking to Portia but she thought I was talking to myself because of the other times when I was talking to myself and she thought I was talking to her,’ she joked.
‘One time I was talking to Alexa and Siri answered, and another time I was talking to the TV and I accidentally texted my eye doctor. The point is, I need to take a break from talking.’
DeGeneres went on to claim it had always been her plan to end the series after season 19, though she didn’t address how claims that she fostered a toxic work environment and allowed her producers to bully employees might have sped up the end of her show.
‘Two years ago, I signed a deal for three more years. I always knew in my heart that season 19 would be my last,’ she said. ‘The truth is I always trust my instincts. My instinct told me it’s time. As a comedian, I’ve always understood the importance of … timing. In all seriousness, I truly felt like next season was the right time to end this amazing chapter.’
Tearful: ‘The past 18 years … has changed my life. You all have changed my life. I am forever grateful to all of you for watching, for laughing, for dancing — sometimes crying,’ she said
Last one: Ellen’s final season is set to premiere on September 13 of this year
She continued, comparing the decision to end her show amid the ongoing controversy to her decision to come out as gay while starring on her eponymous TV series in the 1990s.
‘In 1997, I knew it was time to come out on my sitcom and live my truth. Back then I had a vivid dream that a bird flew out of a cage and set itself free because it needed to get out of that cage. Recently I had a dream that a bird, a beautiful bird with bright red feathers, came to my window and whispered, “You can still do stuff on Netflix.” And that was the sign I was looking for,’ she joked.
‘Eighteen years ago, on the very first show, I said that this was gonna be a relationship. And we’re gonna continue that relationship even when this show ends. But not in this house. ‘Cause you know I love to move.’
The former standup promised to have a ‘fantastic final season’ with ‘a lot of surprises,’ as well as ‘trips down memory lane’ to pay tribute to her loyal fans.
Ellen’s final season is set to premiere on September 13 of this year.
DailyMail.com previously revealed DeGeneres’s plan to leave her show.
A source close to the host told DailyMail.com that Ellen was expected to make the announcement on Wednesday because she ‘has had enough and told her team that she’s done.’
‘She’s promised one more season after this one and will exit at the end of the 2021/2022 season — the 19th season of the show,’ they continued. ‘The ratings have tanked and have been truly appalling this year and Ellen knows her time is up.’
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Ellen confirmed the news and said, ‘When you’re a creative person, you constantly need to be challenged — and as great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it’s just not a challenge anymore.’
The show’s end comes after several former and current employees accused Ellen of fostering a toxic work environment last year and turning a blind eye to bullying by executives.
Ellen and Warner Brothers are expected to make a public announcement as early as Wednesday afternoon, according to the source.
Ellen told her staff of the show’s ending on Tuesday and will discuss the news on Thursday’s show with Oprah Winfrey.
Our source said, ‘The show has bled viewers since the toxic environment around Ellen and her show was made public.’
The ratings for total households from February 2020 to February 2021 were down 40% in New York City and Chicago; in Los Angeles she’s lost 59% of viewers.
In Philly ratings in the same time period were down 32% and in San Francisco she lost 50% of viewers.
Since its season premiere in September, the show garnered an average of 1.5 million viewers by March – down 1.1 million from the same time-frame a year ago, which had 2.6 million average viewers.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show got off to a strong ratings start last fall in her 18th season premiere when she addressed the scandal, but has seen a swift decline in the months since.
‘I learned that things happen here that never should have happened,’ Ellen said in her season premiere. ‘I take that very seriously. And I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected.
‘I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power, and I realize that with that comes responsibility. I take responsibility for what happens at my show.’
‘This is me and my intention is to always be the best person I can be, and if I’ve ever let someone down, if I’ve ever hurt their feelings, I am so sorry for that,’ she said. ‘If that’s ever the case, I’ve let myself down and I’ve hurt myself as well because I always try to grow as a person.
‘I look at everything that comes into my life as an opportunity to learn. I got into this business to make people laugh and feel good, that’s my favorite thing to do.’
The claims of Ellen’s toxic work environment were revealed in July 2020 by one current and 10 former employees of the daytime talk show who accused three executive producers, Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner, of ‘bullying.’
Executive producers Glavin, Kevin Leman and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman were all fired from the popular talk show following the accusations leveled against them by current and former staffers.
Ellen came out with an apology after it was announced that her show was subject to a probe by WarnerMedia which looked into ‘staff experiences on set’.
The host sent her staff a memo in which she wrote she was ‘taking steps… to correct’ issues with her employees.
‘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,’ Ellen said in the memo.
‘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,’ she added. ‘That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again.’
Among the allegations was one made by a Black woman who claimed she suffered a number of ‘microaggressions,’ her request for a raise was ignored and she was accused of ‘walking around looking resentful and angry’ after asking for staff members to undergo diversity and inclusion training.
Another former employee alleged they were fired after taking medical leave for one month following a suicide attempt. A popular claim that circulated is that staff members were instructed not to speak to Ellen.
Some claims included that staff are required to chew gum before speaking to her because of her ‘sensitive nose’, and that she polices staff lunch orders and bans anyone from eating fish or meat.
In addition to these claims, the show was rocked again when three dozen employees of the daytime talk show alleged that senior executives who work behind the scenes groped and kissed staffers, solicited one of them for oral sex, and were ‘handsy with women.’
Jonathan Norman, a co-executive producer, is alleged to have ‘groomed’ a former employee by taking him to concerts and showering him with other gifts and perks before attempting to perform oral sex on him.
Kevin Leman, the show’s head writer and executive producer, is alleged to have solicited oral sex from an employee. Others say they witnessed Leman grope another colleague.
And Ed Glavin, an executive producer, allegedly ‘had a reputation for being handsy with women,’ according to former employees.
The former staffers told BuzzFeed News that they believe the host knew that several of her senior showrunners and producers were alleged to have committed sexual misconduct against junior-level employees.
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