In the modern age of cancel culture, one celebrity figure has recently been at the forefront of controversy.
Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has always been considered one of Hollywood’s most profitable and beloved icons. From her daytime talk show, to her roles in films like “Finding Nemo” and her inspiring story of coming out in 1997. She’s been a well-known figure in the entertainment industry. However, recently Ellen has fallen into hot water as many former and current employees have spoken out about an incredibly toxic work environment underneath Ellen’s employment.
In the initial reports released in mid-July, many former staffers spoke about mistreatment during their time with Ellen. One staffer explained that Ellen’s “be kind” attitude is all for show. One African American employee spoke of many incidents of microaggressions and racism, even being confused for another African American staffer by one of Ellen’s senior writers who was attending the same party.
Following these reports, controversy continued as the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic struck the U.S. Since then, many employees spoke out about being given no written communication about their pay during these unprecedented times.
Unfortunately, the worst was yet to come. Toward the end of July, at least 36 staffers spoke about sexual misconduct perpetrated by head writer and executive producer Kevin Leman.
The allegations ranged from asking for sexual favors, to the groping of employees. However, these specific claims are currently going through an ongoing investigation, according to a statement from Warner Bros Television.
While Ellen had apologized many times before, it was still reported that she was angered rather than upset over these allegations. DeGeneres felt “betrayed” by the whole situation. Although, unlike many other celebrities that have come under scrutiny, many have actually come out to defend Ellen. Celebrities like her wife Portia de Rossi and “Modern Family” star Sofia Vergara.
The controversy now comes to a head as Ellen made her return to television for the Season 18 premiere of her talk show.
“As you may have heard, this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show and then there was an investigation.” she said. “I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously and I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected.”
While DeGeneres tried to keep the show lighthearted, many of the current and former employees who spoke out claimed that the monologue was insulting, turning their problems into jokes, and claiming that Ellen made the monologue more about herself than the victims themselves.
Many also took issue with Ellen changing her closing statement at the end of the premiere, instead of her usual “be kind” message, she instead closed with “Feel this love and I’m giving it back to you and spread that in the world. Spread that, no other things — just the good stuff is what we should spread.”
The issue being that many of the incidents that occurred behind the scenes and the toxic environment came from Ellen’s original “be kind” motto.
As of right now, Warner Bros. continues to keep relatively silent on Ellen DeGeneres’s matter; however, there are currently no plans to cancel or replace DeGeneres’ show. Now it is just a matter of waiting to see if Ellen’s promises of a better work environment truly hold up as Season 18 gets underway.