Ellen DeGeneres Makes Ill-Timed Joke About Staffers, Prompts Collective Groan
As she detailed on the Season 18 premiere of her talk show this past Monday, Ellen DeGeneres is hoping to write a new chapter.
Presumably, it won’t include allegations of sexual misconduct, racism and general toxicity around the workplace.
After a few days on the air, however, it’s clear that many viewers are already prepared to close the book entirely on this comedian.
DeGeneres opened her first new episode in months by addressing the recent internal investigation of her program, which looked into accusations that she and her producers treated their employees in an awful, unfair manner at times.
Yes, she quipped early on that her summer was “super terrific,” but Ellen then delved into the sordid detaiils behind this ongoiing scandal.
“As you may have heard this summer, there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show and then there was an investigation. I learned that things happened that never should have happened.
“I take that very seriously,” the host explained in a nearly five-minute monologue before a virtual studio audience on Monday, September 21.
She went on to tell people NOT to brand themselves as “kind,” as she had done over the years, because, in actuality, she’s a multi-layered person who has many emotions and has made many mistakes.
She vowed to work on these mistakes.
“I know that I am in a position of privilege and power and I realize that with that comes responsibility. And I take responsibility for what happens at my show. This is The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” she said.
Still, a handful of current and former staffers found this apology to be lacking, slamming DeGeneres for making it all about herself and for being tone deaf.
And they said this before DeGeneres made an inappropriate remark in a follow-up monologue.
Taking to the stage on Wednesday, Ellen brought up the COVID-19 pandemic and the necessary, related safety guidelines around the country and joked:
“Obviously I’m not wearing a mask right now because I’m on camera and also everyone is six feet away from me just like in every season.”
[Pause for awkward silence.]
“I’m kidding, it’s a joke and that’s why we’re laughing,” she added.
As a point of reference:
Ellen’s remark about keeping staff at a distance came after Australian radio host Neil Breen claimed no-one was allowed to talk to Ellen, look at her or approach her during his interactions with the polarizing celebrity.
He alleged that the star had a number of “bizarre” demands when she appeared on his program, the Today Show in Australia, in 2013.
“The producer called us aside and said, ‘Now Neil, no one is to talk to Ellen. You don’t talk to her, you don’t approach her, you don’t look at her,'” Breen explained.
Neil, who now hosts his own show, claimed Ellen’s staff were the only ones allowed to interact with her.
Previously known as one of the more relatable people in Hollywood, DeGeneres has come under fire for stories just like this one — examples where she allegedly acted like a total prima donna.
Ellen tried to keep her monologue lighthearted with some quick jokes on the Monday premiere but also, said that “we’ve had a lot of conversations about our show, our workplace, and what we want for the future.”
At this point, folks can only wait to see what this future holds and judge DeGeneres on where things go from here.
But it’s been a rough start so far.
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