Ellen DeGeneres believes all of the reports of her toxic behavior were ‘orchestrated’

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Ellen DeGeneres announced this week that she’ll be stepping down from her talk show at the end of the 2021-22 season, so next summer, roughly a year from now. Ellen’s news was supposed to break concurrently with her exclusive interview with Savannah Guthrie, which aired on Thursday, but someone leaked the news early and Ellen had to scramble out a statement on Wednesday. The Guthrie interview was conducted as planned, and it aired on Thursday. And whew, it’s a whole-ass mess. Guthrie didn’t shy away from asking Ellen if she was quitting the show because of the many accusations of the show’s toxic work environment. Ellen was also asked about the many stories about her own negative, nasty behavior towards employees and regular non-famous people, stories which we heard about a lot last year. While Ellen did have to fire some of the most toxic producers on her show last year, she seems unable to admit that perhaps the buck stops with her, and that she treats people terribly. She thinks all of that was “orchestrated” to destroy her personally. No, really.

After announcing the end of her long-running daytime talk show on Wednesday, Ellen DeGeneres appeared on “Today” Thursday morning to tell Savannah Guthrie why she decided to move on and how toxic workplace allegations impacted her decision.

“If it was why I was quitting, I would have not come back this year,” DeGeneres said. “I really did think about not coming back because…it was devastating. I am a kind person. I am a person who likes to make people happy. I just kept saying to [wife] Portia [de Rossi], ‘If I was a fan of somebody and even if I loved them, I would think there must be some truth to it, because it’s not stopping.’ Right on the heels of that, I read in the press that there’s a toxic work environment, which I had no idea, never saw anything that would even point to that.”

When Guthrie asked DeGeneres if she felt like she was being “cancelled,” the talk show host responded, “I really didn’t 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. 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 what a happy place this is.

“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,” she continued. “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.’”

Ellen also said that misogyny could have played a role in the press cycle.

“How can I be an example of strength and perseverance and power if I give up and run away?” she said. “And so, it really is one of the reasons I came back. I worked really hard on myself. And also, I have to say if nobody else is saying it, it was really interesting because I’m a woman, and it did feel very misogynistic.”

[From Variety]

“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…” Does… does she understand that “how guests are treated” is different from “how coworkers treat each other”? Of course the celebrity guests would have no complaints – Ellen is nice to them. The producers were nice to them. Ellen and her producers just treated the lower-level staffers like garbage.

As for the idea that it was “orchestrated”… no. It wasn’t. What happened is that we were in a global pandemic and we were bored, so people began to gossip about sh-tty experiences with celebrities. Ellen’s name frequently appeared in those stories. That completely democratic social media thing ended up laying the groundwork for what would be a series of reports around the toxic work environment within Ellen’s show. Add to all of that, Ellen started filming her show from home and she wasn’t paying her staffers. That also was part of it. Now, was it coordinated? Perhaps. But orchestrated? No. This wasn’t all some trumped-up conspiracy against Ellen. It also wasn’t “misogynistic,” at least not from where I’m sitting.

Here’s the extended interview between Ellen and Savannah Guthrie. Around the 6-minute mark is when Ellen speaks about the “orchestrated” claims of a toxic work environment and nasty personality. If anything, the video is worse than seeing all of this printed.

Golden Globes 2019 Press Room

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, NBC.

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50 Responses to “Ellen DeGeneres believes all of the reports of her toxic behavior were ‘orchestrated’”

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  1. Oh_Hey says:

    And she still doesn’t get it…
    1) celebrity guests aren’t your staff
    2) the celebrities also had bad times, often on camera and were then forced to “laugh it off”
    At least she’s doing us the favor and going away

  2. BearcatLawyer says:

    The biggest lies are the ones we tell ourselves. Ellen will never get it.

    • Snappyfish says:

      Very well said. I always thought many of her “stunts/pranks” were mean spirited. The worse part is how Portia just seemed to fade away after getting with Ellen.

      • Amanda says:

        Same. I never liked the scaring the guests thing.

      • bananapanda says:

        Even before all this came out I always thought it was a personality “tell” that Ellen is constantly buying/selling real estate at a manic pace. Her partners always seem worse off mentally by being with her (i.e. cloning their look, dropping major weight). The way she dropped Anne Heche was brutal. I’m just glad she didn’t have kids to leverage like Melissa Etheridge does with her exes.

      • Cheslsea says:

        I refused to watch her show because her “stunt/pranks” were just plain mean. I also thought her bit of scaring her guests was also very mean. She always came across as a bully.

    • Jules says:

      Yup, part of being a narcissist is not seeing any problem within yourself, a lack of insight and so no need to get help. She has been catered to for so long now and this only supported her belief that she is untouchable.

  3. Nomegusta says:

    The lack of self awareness is astounding.

    Consequences, Ellen.

    The only ones my heart truly goes out to are all of the people in production and attached to the show in some capacity because they will be out of a job

  4. Gobo says:

    “Am I out of touch? No. It’s the staffers who are wrong.”

  5. HEAVY_DAZE says:

    What a pill.

  6. Traci says:

    She has an air about her – like she literally cannot stand to be there any longer. It’s very condescending and irritating. I mean – you agreed to the interview so you could push your narrative out there. Savannah was visibly uncomfortable at times.

  7. Catherine says:

    The news was coordinated and orchestrated and was all true. There is nothing wrong with a story being coordinated and orchestrated if it’s based on facts. Any good piece of investigative journalism is coordinated and orchestrated. Sometimes the timing of pieces being released is planned to coincide with other events. But again if it’s well researched and based on facts then there is nothing wrong with that. That is the point that Ellen seems to be missing. How the story came to be is irrelevant. What is relevant is, is it true. We now know that the source for Watergate scandal reporting was a man who had a grudge against Nixon. His motives weren’t pure but his fact were. End of discussion. There are people who are not evil but are indifferent and insensitive to the feelings of others. Ellen comes across like that kind of person. A person who was indifferent and insensitive to the point of toxicity and allowed a toxic environment to fester in her workplace because she thoughtless and careless about the treatment of her employees. The other thing I believe about Ellen is this. There are a lot of people who think that if what you do or say is in the guise of comedy that there is nothing wrong with how mean it is. The people who use “ I was just joking as an excuse”. It seems that was her approach to people. Being mean but thinking hey I’m just joking. That’s why the Dakota Johnson video resonates with people. Ellen is telling a flat out lie; Dakota calls her on it and Ellen never flinches, just keeps that maniacal grin on her face. She legit thinks her behavior is fine because she thinks it’s funny. She was a mean girl and she got away with it because she was self deprecating and she did it all with a smile. I also think the pandemic played a role. It was a breaking point for a lot of people in a lot ways.

    • Christine says:

      I hope someone shows this to her, because if ever there was a person who needed self-reflection, it’s her, and you are spot on.

  8. Miss Margo says:

    I’m not surprised she didn’t think the environment was toxic and that she thinks she’s a “nice” person. She’s a narcissist and this is literally how they think. She saw what was transpiring and to non narcissistic folks, it is toxic, but to her, well that’s how all her jobs environments have been. She can’t fathom that she is the problem. It is literally impossible for her. Maybe towards the end of her life she’ll start to see it.

    • Anna says:

      Never. I have a narcissist in the family and he’s 75. He did nothing wrong in his life, if you ask him. They always find the fault somewhere else, they are innocent and persecuted.

      • Christine says:

        The narcissist in my life is almost 78, and you are right, Anna. They are never wrong.

  9. Renee says:

    Ellen is completely out of touch with reality. She tries to spin it here as if she is the victim. No one is buying it.

    • Amanda says:

      Exactly! And she keeps behaving like it unknowingly happened around her when it WAS her. Throwing anyone else under the bus and excusing herself at the same time. Typical, no accountability.

  10. Catherine says:

    The news was coordinated and orchestrated and was all true. There is nothing wrong with a story being coordinated and orchestrated if it’s based on facts. Any good piece of investigative journalism is coordinated and orchestrated. Sometimes the timing of pieces being released is planned to coincide with other events. But again if it’s well researched and based on facts then there is nothing wrong with that. That is the point that Ellen seems to be missing. How the story came to be is irrelevant. What is relevant is, is it true. We now know that the source for Watergate scandal reporting was a man who had a grudge against Nixon. His motives weren’t pure but his facts were. End of discussion. Also, the people who spoke were victims of a toxic environment so how and why they chose to speak when they did is irrelevant. They had they right to finally speak the truth about their experiences. There are people who are not evil but are indifferent and insensitive to the feelings of others. Ellen comes across like that kind of person. A person who was indifferent and insensitive to the point of toxicity and allowed a toxic environment to fester in her workplace because she thoughtless and careless about the treatment of her employees. The other thing I believe about Ellen is this. There are a lot of people who think that if what you do or say is in the guise of comedy that there is nothing wrong with how mean it is. The people who use “ I was just joking as an excuse”. It seems that was her approach to people. Being mean but thinking hey I’m just joking. That’s why the Dakota Johnson video resonates with people. Ellen is telling a flat out lie; Dakota calls her on it and Ellen never flinches, just keeps that maniacal grin on her face. She legit thinks her behavior is fine because she thinks it’s funny. She was a mean girl and she got away with it because she was self deprecating and she did it all with a smile. I also think the pandemic played a role. It was a breaking point for a lot of people in a lot ways. It made people less tolerant of people’s BS. Especially people like Ellen who present this I’m sweetness and light facade. I think that also why Lea Michelle also got called out for BS during the Glee years.

  11. Baela says:

    These things are not mutually exclusive. The way allegations stacked up during the pandemic and negotiation for lower fees for remote shows is probably not a coincidence. It is yet another example of Hollywood protecting the bullies until they aren’t as profitable.
    Warner Media is feeling the Covid pinch and they are cutting corners. Rehiring a host with a lower fee is going to help somewhat.
    I have worked in the industry. The accusations and opinion pieces do not just pop up. There is always something else going on behind the scenes.

  12. Kristen says:

    This is an entirely narcissistic response: everything is always someone else’s fault.

  13. Pulplove says:

    The irony to me is that by pointing to the guests perceiving the workplace as pleasant, she’s placing the importance of opinion on the wrong party and thereby confirming what her employees have been saying. Her employees don’t matter, and how they are being treated doesn’t matter. To HER it’s the guest’s option that counts.

    By not taking any kind of ownership, she devaluates the changes she (the higher-ups) set up and renders her “apology” insincere.

    The allocation of blame in this interview and that she put no second thought into what she’s now saying just shows me how beyond tone-deaf she truly is.

  14. Genevieve says:

    #freeportia

    Seriously. I see her and I feel that ineffable kinship of knowing what it’s like to feel frozen in the constant switch from fight to flight (and vice versa) within your relationship. I know I’m extrapolating and I don’t truly know. But I do feel.

  15. Willow says:

    Wow. I don’t watch her show often because the few I’ve seen, the interviews with guests are uncomfortable and awkward. And if that’s how she treats guests, on camera, and her staff leaves that in while editing, you know that behind the scenes her behavior is much worse, especially to the staff. I remember one repeat guest asking her ‘Ellen, why do you always ask us that?’ This was question about a subject she knew he wasn’t supposed to talk about and deliberately asked, pretending it was to be funny. She just started at him for a few seconds with no clue what to say, clearly shocked that someone stood up to her. So, yeah, she knows her behavior is horrible and doesn’t care, because she also knows she has all the power. The only reason she’s stopping this show is because she a new one with Apple.

  16. Liz version 700 says:

    Yikes. Just wow

  17. GGRosebud says:

    Nasty little elf

  18. souperkay says:

    This is just DARVO gaslighting. Deny the allegations of a toxic workplace, Accuse the victims of orchestrating an attack on Ellen, Reverse the Victim and Offender roles. Now Ellen is a victim while not addressing anything about the allegations, and blaming her victims for having enough evidence to prove her & her leadership’s toxic behavior. She doesn’t think she did anything wrong, even though we have evidence that she did, so instead of accepting reality, and her faults she’s just distorting reality and lying to soothe herself and cover her tracks.

    Deny, Accuse, Reverse Victim & Offender roles, DARVO is a very popular gaslighting (lying) tactic abusers use to hurt their victims more.

    • keroppi says:

      That’s what I noticed too. Even when the interviewer was asking about why she scares people and tells Ellen that she really didn’t like it. Ellen’s responses were:
      - oh, come on, you know you liked it
      - even if you didn’t like it in the moment, you liked it afterward
      - it wasn’t my idea, it was the staff’s

      And the interviewer reiterated 2 or 3 times that she didn’t like it and Ellen didn’t acknowledge or apologize at all!

  19. Nimbolicious says:

    My late husband worked on the show. Ellen was horrible and imperious, the producers were her axmen, and the crew was terrified. It was a toxic and abusive workplace. Period. She needs to STFU and slither away forever.

  20. lucy2 says:

    Oh come on Ellen.
    The rumors where there for YEARS. This wasn’t some out of nowhere hit job, it just finally caught up with her in the perfect moment – people were stuck at home, started sharing stories, and the media picked up on it.
    There were also a lot of first hand accounts of her poor behavior outside the show, like in restaurants and daily life. A number of former writers and staff shared their first hand accounts too.
    She used “kindness” as a cover, and the cover blew away.

  21. NotSoSimpleTaylor says:

    It’s her show. Her name is attached to it. She was more concerned about her celebrity guests and rich folk than she was her crew. Full stop.

    Also, can we cancel Ellen and replace her with Tig Notaro for a few years? I just saw a comedy special of hers on Netflix and she was hilarious!

    • Helen says:

      I didn’t know who Tig was until I saw her in Star Trek Discovery. She plays a straight (i.e not comedic) character, and her timing is amazing.

    • lucy2 says:

      I love Tig so much, but I think she would hate that kind of show. I highly recommend her podcasts, and she has/had a funny youtube series too, where she has to try to figure out who a celebrity guest is while they’re sitting right there in front of her. I’d be all for that instead of Ellen’s show!

  22. Wit of the Staircase says:

    I live near Santa Barbara where Ellen lives and recently heard a story about her ugly behavior. Portia was in a local hospital for a minor procedure and my source says Ellen was an absolute nightmare to deal with. This despite the fact that Portia was in a special VIP wing of the hospital and was receiving top-notch care. I used to like Ellen but it appears that fame and immense wealth have changed her.

  23. Gail says:

    It’s weird (or is it?) that I hear so many echoes of Pr. Wm “joke” about corona virus and so many of his behaviours being reflected right here in Ellen.
    The gaslighting is real.
    Ellen & Wm share the narcissism gene
    It’s not me, it’s them…it’s all on them. Not me, I’m ever so pure…and kind…and kingly and
    yeah, just NO

  24. Meg says:

    Imagine how different ellens retirement would have been if shed responded better to these allegations or better yet wasnt a toxic boss to begin with? I think she thinks this deflecting and playing the victim act will work but i think shes going to be disappointed that she will not be well received after this unlike shows that end and continue on being rewatched clips on youtube people reminisce about etc. Thats gone now. Her production company does other tv shows i doubt she’ll be able to host them now with similar levels of success as her talk show. Shes dreaming if she thinks that’ll happen

  25. Sarcasm101 says:

    Ooooh, not good, not good. No accountability. Bye bye Ellen.

  26. Jannie says:

    I think there is some truth to what Ellen said about misogyny and I believe James Corden should be the next in line to lose his show. He’s another absolute trash person.

    • Betsy says:

      I was thinking the same thing; it’s not misogyny to note that she’s a terrible person leading a terrible workspace, but she’s certainly not the only terrible person or boss in Hollywood. Consequences seem to come for women more so than for men, which is really something given the fact that it’s not like there’s as much representation of women as there is of men.

    • keroppi says:

      Have you read the AMA that he tried to do? It was brutal!

  27. Valerie says:

    I could never take to her show. Even in the early days, I felt that her on-screen persona was too forced and fake. My friend LOVED her and would never miss her show, so I’d sometimes watch it with him and it was kind of boring, lol.

    After that, I would only watch if she had someone I liked, and it became apparent that she hated her job. She would become agitated at even the slightest possibility of being upstaged. She was impatient and snappish but with a smile. She just barely concealed her contempt for everyone she worked with, so none of this came as a surprise.

    • keroppi says:

      I never really got into it either. I found all the interviews to be so horribly superficial and short.

      • Valerie says:

        I think she started out okay, but her interviews definitely got worse! I don’t even know how anyone, including her, manages to get through one now.

  28. keroppi says:

    Good grief! Can we keep this interview on file to illustrate:
    1, What gaslighting looks like
    2. How not to take responsibility
    3. How to throw your team under the bus
    4. How to play the victim

    The number of times she said that no one told her and there is a large crew so she was in the dark about everything. For all her talk about delegating (and thus skirting responsibility), was no one in charge of speaking to people and getting a feel for the atmosphere of the workplace? And her response to the “be kind” motto was just, wow! I have no words.

  29. MangoAngelesque says:

    I wonder how much of a viper she’s being to Portia now. It has to be absolutely brittle in that house.

  30. Ann says:

    Tired of her and Is anyone else tired of daytime talk shows?