During Kardashian’s appearance on the show on Wednesday (13 April), DeGeneres brought out a plastic animal box, which she told her guest contained a live spider.
Kardashian has been open about her arachnophobia for a long time, breaking down in tears during a 2007 episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians after her mum Kris Jenner spotted a spider on her shoulder while on vacation in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
“You’re not doing this to me, I’m never going to get over it,” Kardashian told DeGeneres as the host showed her the box on the show.
“It’s not loose, it’s not a loose spider,” DeGeneres assured her as Kardashian became visibly distressed, leaving her seat and screaming, “No! No. No. No. We’ve been through this before."
Despite her guest’s distress, DeGeneres lifted the lid off the box, which was actually empty, and pretended to hold the spider before throwing it at Kardashian, who screamed and ran off stage. “It’s not real!” DeGeneres shouted, laughing.
While DeGeneres and the live studio audience found the prank highly amusing, fans on social media criticised the talk show host for exploiting Kardashian’s genuine phobia.
“THIS is the EXACT reason I f**ing despise Ellen DeGeneres!!” One fan wrote. “She’s a goddamn bully who gets her rocks off torturing guests w/fear. There’s nothing funny about being terrorised. I’ve hated her ever since I watched her throw a spider on Emma Stone YEARS ago. This is #trauma.”
“Ellen scaring Kim with a spider when she repeatedly said no is the least funniest thing ever,” another wrote.
“WHY?? Why do you do this? How is it relevant?” another post read.
The Independent has contacted representatives for DeGeneres’ for comment.
The cruel prank comes on Ellen’s 19th and final season after an investigation into allegations of toxicity behind the scenes.
DeGeneres herself was accused of being mean to restaurant staff and handymen, stiffing on tips, asking people not to look directly at her, and taking her eye off the ball while sexual misconduct and bullying allegedly occurred on her set.
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