After 19 years, Ellen DeGeneres is leaving her perch atop daytime TV this week with a parade of A-list movie star friends to remind viewers of how her “be variety” method got here to dominate the style. However her legacy has been cracked by an elevated willingness to reckon her fame because the Queen of Good with cringey, out-of-touch moments and allegations of a poisonous office tradition.
When The Ellen Present debuted in 2003, it broke floor as one of many first daytime discuss exhibits to characteristic an brazenly homosexual host, reaching tens of millions of viewers of their houses day by day and normalizing LGBTQ illustration in addition to messages about equality and acceptance. Famously opening every present by dancing with the viewers, DeGeneres rapidly set about packing her present with pranks, heart-tugging interviews, and viral moments to develop into a scores juggernaut and important promotional cease for prime celebrities.
However DeGeneres’s star began to dim in 2019 along with her protection of her friendship with George W. Bush — a president who supported a constitutional modification defining marriage as a union between one man and one girl, amongst different anti-LGBTQ stances — and a softball interview with Kevin Hart after he misplaced his Oscars internet hosting gig due to resurfaced anti-gay tweets. There was additionally the infamously awkward, and famously memed, interview with Dakota Johnson, when DeGeneres insisted she didn’t know that she was invited to the actor’s party, to which Johnson replied, “That’s not the reality, Ellen.”
Then, in March 2020, comic Kevin Porter posted a viral tweet asking folks for “probably the most insane tales you’ve heard about Ellen being imply” in trade for him donating cash to the LA Regional Meals Financial institution. The tweet generated hundreds of replies that sparked a widespread dialog on the web questioning the behind-the-scenes authenticity of DeGeneres’s model of “kindness.”
“I can’t emphasize the dearth of forethought and perception I had into writing that tweet. It was actually simply me rolling away from bed and serious about it for 3 minutes earlier than sending it off,” Porter informed BuzzFeed Information, including that he had heard whispers for years about workers being sad on the present. “It was such a ripe topic for gossip due to the cognitive dissonance between the general public persona and the personal fact and conduct, particularly in knowledgeable context.”
In July 2020, BuzzFeed Information printed a collection of investigations into the poisonous work atmosphere at The Ellen DeGeneres Present. Dozens of former workers stated in interviews that they endured racist feedback from managers, have been fired for taking break day for household emergencies, and labored in a tradition of worry and intimidation. In whole, BuzzFeed Information spoke with greater than 85 present and former workers who corroborated these allegations.
Three govt producers — Ed Glavin, Jonathan Norman, and Kevin Leman — additionally confronted allegations of sexual harassment or different misconduct. Norman and Leman strongly denied the allegations. Glavin didn’t reply to a request for remark. All three have been fired from the present in August following an inner investigation by Warner Bros.
DeGeneres initially despatched an apology to her employees, saying the present was alleged to be a spot of “happiness” the place “everybody could be handled with respect.” The discuss present host additionally addressed the allegations on the air after coming back from summer time hiatus for Season 18, telling viewers, “As you’ll have heard, this summer time there have been allegations of a poisonous work atmosphere at our present after which there was an investigation. I discovered that issues occurred right here that by no means ought to have occurred.”
“I take that very critically and I need to say I’m so sorry to the individuals who have been affected,” she continued. “I do know that I am able of privilege and energy and I spotted that with that comes accountability, and I take accountability for what occurs at my present.”
However for a lot of workers, present and former, it wasn’t sufficient. And the general public airing of what had been largely an open secret in Hollywood modified folks’s perceptions of the present. Rankings began to say no, and discovering advertisers and sponsors acquired tougher.
In October 2020, the monitoring agency Nielsen reported that scores for The Ellen DeGeneres Present declined by about 37% from its earlier season. About 1.7 million common viewers watched Season 18’s premiere week in comparison with Season 17 in September 2019, when about 2.7 million folks tuned in. As of December 2021, the present’s scores in its remaining season elevated by 10% to a 1.1 stay plus similar day nationwide family score, in accordance with Nielsen.
Regardless of the scores seesaw, DeGeneres interviewed a variety of A-list stars in her remaining season, together with Meghan Markle, Jennifer Aniston, Zac Efron, Diane Keaton, Kim and Khloé Kardashian, Kris Jenner, and even Michelle Obama.
However in accordance with a distinguished Hollywood publicist who didn’t need their title used, these celebrities are already established and have relationships with DeGeneres and her workforce. Newer, up-and-coming expertise, although, hasn’t been as excited to look on the present.
“As soon as upon a time, within the heyday of Ellen, that present was a career-defining reserving for sure expertise on the up and up, expertise that have been actually attempting to be part of Hollywood in a giant method,” the publicist informed BuzzFeed Information. “It was the daytime reserving to get, and oftentimes led to late-night present alternatives and journal covers. You’ll prioritize that as a result of it was so significant and was so extensively syndicated; it was a unique stage than reserving the As we speak present or Good Morning America. There was one thing about it that felt actually premium that felt such as you’d damaged by and made it.”