Is Ellen DeGeneres *still* being mean as she leaves her controversial show?
In case you’ve been living under a rock, times are changing. The Ellen DeGeneres Show is coming to an end. After two decades on air filled with laughter & controversies, Ellen DeGeneres has announced that she’s ending her long-running eponymous daytime talk show. The 63-year-old talk show host who made a brand out of the show shared the news in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
In 2022, we will see the end of an era & everyone has mixed feelings about it, rightfully so. Why end the show now? Ellen commented, “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. I need something new to challenge me.”
With a tally of more than 3000 shows, it does seem a monumental decision. The timing of the decision also coincides with that of one of the most controversial years her show — and by extension, her personal brand — has had in years, with allegations of a toxic workplace environment.
Background story: Why was Ellen mean?
After the BuzzFeed News expose detailed the toxicity of her operations, Ellen allegedly got blindsided by the allegations, ordered an internal investigation, and fired some key executives from the show. Then she came on screen to salvage her “Be Kind” brand & apologized to the audiences at the beginning of Season 18 in September last year.
Her apology went, “I learned that things happen 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.” She was also earlier under fire for making comments likening her quarantine experience to that of living in prison. Upon return, the show still has a steady stream of A-lister celebrity guests, but her viewership had taken a hit.
Sometimes, it’s just hard to recuperate from something like that. But now that she’s departing, have things become kinder?
The real reason behind the departure
Ellen maintains that her decision to quit arises out of creative issues, not due to the reams of controversies that surrounded her, “If it was why I was quitting, I would have not come back this year.”
“So, it’s not why I’m stopping but it was hard because I was sitting at home, it was summer, and I see a story that people have to chew gum before they talk to me and I’m like, ‘Okay, this is hilarious.’ Then I see another story of some other ridiculous thing and then it just didn’t stop,” she added.
Her reasoning? Because the guests of the show were always happy, she assumed it was a great show & workplace, “You know, 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.”
That does not hold either, because trans YouTuber Nikkie De Jager later shared that the experience with Ellen wasn’t exactly rosy, “It was a huge honour to be on that stage with Ellen but it wasn’t as nice as I thought it would be.” She even said she wasn’t allowed to use the bathroom closest to her because it was “reserved for the Jonas Brothers.”
The real reason is very likely the dwindling viewership numbers. Former Ellen Show producer Hedda Muskat was also quoted as saying, “The viewers have spoken. Her ratings have been in the toilet for a long time now. Her show has not been fun, it has not been interesting, and she’s not really ‘stepping down’ – the viewers fired her.”
In Savannah Guthrie’s interview with Ellen, the latter became really defensive & explained that she couldn’t still fully understand it, “I still don’t understand it. It was too orchestrated. It was too coordinated. People get picked on, but for four months straight for me,” alluding at the misogyny in this.
She added how a large staff can be hard to manage, even as she’s the face of the brand that profits off the “kindness” message that the staff didn’t feel they lived the truth of, “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 stay here until the last person goes home at night.”
Echoing her apology from the season-opening, she said, “It is my name on the show, so clearly it affects me and I have to be the one to stand up and say, ‘This can’t be tolerated.’ But I do wish somebody would have come to me and said, ‘Hey, something’s going on that you should know about.’”