Ellen DeGeneres says media backlash over ‘toxic workplace’ allegations was ‘orchestrated’

‘I’m a woman and it did feel very misogynistic,’ said the presenter

Louis Chilton
Thursday 13 May 2021 14:12
Ellen announces talk show will come to a close in spring of 2022

Ellen DeGeneres has claimed that media coverage of allegations of a toxic workplace behind the scenes of her talk show felt “too orchestrated”.

It was revealed yesterday that The Ellen DeGeneres Show will be coming to an end next year, after the conclusion of its 19th season.

Speaking to Savannah Guthrie on Today, DeGeneres also described the criticism as “very misogynistic”, but denied that the decision to end her show was a result of the controversy.

“I have to say, if nobody else is saying it, it’s really interesting because I’m a woman and it did feel very misogynistic,” DeGeneres said, regarding the backlash that followed the allegations that Ellen had fostered a “toxic” and abusive behind-the-scenes environment.

“If it was why I was quitting,” she continued, “I would have not come back this year. 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 just kept saying to [DeGeneres’s wife, Portia de Rossi], ‘If I was a fan of somebody, even if I loved them, I would think there must be some truth to it, because it’s not stopping.’

“I really didn’t understand it. I still don’t understand it. It was too orchestrated. It was too coordinated. You know, people get picked on, but for fourth 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 how what a happy place this is.”

After the initial claims of workplace misconduct were reported by Buzzfeed last July, WarnerMedia launched an investigation into the allegations.

The investigation resulted in the removal of three of the series’ producers, and DeGeneres issued an apology to former staff.

Asked by Guthrie about people’s doubt over whether she knew about the on-set misconduct, DeGeneres said: “I don’t know how I could have known when there’s 255 employees here and there are a lot of different buildings. Unless I literally stayed here until the last person goes home at night.”

You can read a timeline of the Ellen DeGeneres Show controversy here.

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