Ellen Degeneres has recently been under scrutiny as former employees and guests of the show come forward with stories of racism and sexual harassment.
By Emma Sacco
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 9 of VARSITY News.
The Ellen Degeneres Show has been a popular variety talk show since it was started in 2003, with the talk show host Ellen always encouraging her audience to “be kind to one another”. 2020 has seen a rebranding of The Ellen Show as former staff employees and celebrities have spoken out against the programme and have labelled it as “toxic”, claiming that Ellen’s kind and generous appearance is only an act.
Various people began speaking out about the show when rumours started circling about Ellen mistreating her staff and creating a “toxic work environment”. Over 30 former employees of The Ellen Show have described incidents of sexual harassment and racism taking place behind the scenes of the popular talk show.
A former black female employee reported experiencing racist micro-aggressions while working for The Ellen Show. After suggesting that the staff take a diversity and inclusion training course the employee was accused of “walking around looking resentful and angry”.
Soon after these allegations against the show arose, others started to come forward and comment on Ellen’s character. The tweet that began a series of allegations was posted by comedian Kevin T. Porter, where he stated that Ellen is “notoriously one of the meanest people alive”. He then requested “insane” stories about Ellen being mean, saying that for every story he would donate $2 to the Los Angeles Food Bank.
From there the stories began rolling in. Youtuber Nikkie de Jager, who appeared on The Ellen Show in January, claimed to have had a very negative experience on the show. She describes Ellen as “cold and distant” when the cameras are off, and states how Ellen didn’t even say hello to her before the show began.
Next came the Everybody Loves Raymond star Brad Garrett and Back to the Future actress Lea Thompson to comment on Ellen, both stating that Ellen’s mean streak is “common knowledge”.
As 2020 has proven to be the year of holding celebrities accountable, it seems both fitting and important that people are coming forward and exposing The Ellen Show for its underlying racism and covertly mean host.
Previous movements such as the #MeToo movement have shown how celebrities in the entertainment industry frequently get away with sexual assault and racism. By calling Ellen Degeneres out for her unacceptable treatment of her staff and guests it sends the message that it is not okay to disrespect or harm anyone, whether you are famous or not.
While cancel culture isn’t the most popular at the moment, call out culture is better than ever as it exposes celebrities and holds them accountable for their actions. It seems as though Ellen couldn’t take the heat of her recent exposure, as there are now rumours that she may cancel The Ellen Show as a way to save her “personal brand”.