Ellen DeGeneres’s flagship talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, will end in 2022.
Despite lingering on the airwaves since 2003 and winning more than 60 Emmys in that period, the show is now coming to its end.
Last year, allegations of bullying and workplace harassment emerged surrounding the show, and DeGeneres’s own complicity in those issues was questioned.
DeGeneres originally gave a statement to The Hollywood Reporter on her decision to end the show, saying “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.”
Now, she has given an interview about the decision to Oprah Winfrey.
In the interview, Winfrey commended DeGeneres for her TV legacy, saying, “when you told me that this was going to happen, I just wanted to be here for you – on camera, off camera – just to be here to support you.”
DeGeneres reflected that, “I was OK until I started talking and then it became real and obviously, I got emotional because it’s real now.”
“But I’m feeling good. I feel like it’s the right thing to do… but it’s a weird thing to announce that I’m stopping.”
“I am praying that next season I have an audience all season long that can celebrate with me and say goodbye.”
However, DeGeneres also appeared on NBC’s Today show with Savannah Guthrie, where she referred to allegations of workplace toxicity as “attacks on me.”
“I am a kind person. I am a person who likes to make people happy. I am a people pleaser. This is who I am. And so when I started hearing, reading ridiculous things, and then it just kept going and going and going and going, and it was during the summer so I didn’t have any platform to respond to it – I just kept saying to Portia, if I was a fan of somebody, even if I loved them, but I kept seeing something go on this long, I would think there must be some truth to it, because it’s not stopping.”
“So that made me think, someone’s trying to really hurt me. And then right on the heels of that, I read in the press that there’s a toxic work environment, which – I mean, I had no idea.”
Last year, allegations of workplace toxicity came to a head after a Twitter thread referring to her as ‘one of the meanest people alive’ went viral.
A range of accusations erupted around DeGeneres herself, most frequently referencing a claim that DeGeneres refused to interact with crew members, would not respond to their greetings, and that incoming staff were told not to speak to her. They also referenced broader allegations of workplace toxicity on the show.
She also drew controversy after she was pictured with former US President George W. Bush at a football game. Her friendship has been criticised widely, particularly due to her position as a prominent LGBTQ+ figure in Hollywood. During his re-election campaign, Bush called for an amendment to the Consitution which would ban same-sex marriage.
A BuzzFeed investigation spoke to numerous former and current employees, who called out harassment, racism and microaggressions as persistent elements of their employment on Ellen.
One employee said that, after taking a month of mental health leave, the week they returned to work they were informed that their position was no longer available.
Her oft-quoted mantra of ‘Be Kind’ has been re-interrogated as a result of the investigation, particularly the wake of allegations of staff mistreatment.
In a seperate story, BuzzFeed also reported on allegations from former employees of sexual harassment by the show’s executive producers.
DeGeneres herself send a letter to staff responding to the allegations, saying “my name is on the show and everything we do, and I take responsibility for that.”
Despite her apology, the show lost over a million viewers in the wake of the controversy, according to Nielsen data reported originally by The New York Times.
In her interview with Guthrie, DeGeneres said, “I thought something was going on, because it was too orchestrated, it was too-coordinated. And you know, people get picked on, but for four months straight for me?”
“And then for me to read in the press about a toxic work environment, when all I’ve ever heard from every guest that comes on the show is what a happy atmosphere this is, and what a happy place it is.”
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