The 'Ellen' Show Is Officially Cancelled:
“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,” the comedian told The Hollywood Reporter of the show's end. Although as the publication noted, DeGeneres has seemingly been debating stepping back from her TV series for several years, telling the New York Times in 2018 that her wife, actress Portia de Rossi of Arrested Development fame had been urging her to pull the plug, the star's decision to end her show comes after an extremely controversial year.
Despite being known for her iconic tagline “be kind to one another,” it seems Ellen's employees begged to differ with the star's sentiments and kind persona, accusing the comedian and executives of creating a work environment allegedly rife with racism, mistreatment, and intimidation, BuzzFeed News reported last July. “That ‘be kind’ bullshit only happens when the cameras are on. It’s all for show,” an ex-employee told the outlet, one of ten who spoke anonymously out of fear of punishment. “I know they give money to people and help them out, but it’s for show."
With some claiming they were fired for taking medical leave or missing a day of work to attend a family member's funeral, others shared horror stories, including purportedly being told to not talk to the show's titular star if they ran into her. Racism, too, was apparently pervasive within the culture, some say. According to one former employee who is a Black woman, racist comments and “microaggressions" were commonplace on set, including one of the show's main writers allegedly telling her “I’m sorry, I only know the names of the white people who work here,” and a senior producer reportedly making a comment saying they “hope” they wouldn't confuse her with another employee who also wore box braids.
Yet when the employee attempted to speak out about this unacceptable behavior, she says her boss's response only made matters worse. "Whenever I brought up an issue to my white male boss, he would bring up some random story about some random Black friend that he had and how they managed to get over stuff,” she recalled. “He would use his Black friend as some way to say, ‘I understand your struggle.’ But it was all performative bullshit.”
In light of these alarming allegations, three of the show's executive producers issued a joint statement on the allegations. "Over the course of nearly two decades, 3,000 episodes, and employing over 1000 staff members, we have strived to create an open, safe, and inclusive work environment," it read. “We are truly heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience. It’s not who we are and not who we strive to be, and not the mission Ellen has set for us.”
Later in the statement, the trio also took responsibility for these concerning claims. "For the record, the day to day responsibility of the Ellen show is completely on us. We take all of this very seriously and we realize, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better, are committed to do better, and we will do better."
However, not all employees agree that the show's titular star was blameless in this purported mistreatment. “If she wants to have her own show and have her name on the show title, she needs to be more involved to see what's going on,” another former worker said. “I think the executive producers surround her and tell her, ‘Things are going great, everybody's happy,’ and she just believes that, but it's her responsibility to go beyond that.”
Following the explosive article, through which the show's star said she learned about a lot of these terrible allegations, according to The Hollywood Reporter, an internal investigation and the exit of several “key” execs ensued. Despite these shakeups and DeGeneres apologizing on the show's season opener last September, saying “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," the damage had seemingly been done.
In late March, the New York Times noted that the show had lost more than one million viewers, roughly 43% of its audience a disproportional drop when compared to other competitors like Dr. Phil, which lost 22% of its viewership since the pandemic, and The Kelly Clarkson Show, which had an audience decline by 26%.
So folks, remember, be kind to each other – especially if you want to keep your Emmy-winning daytime talk show.