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What, Exactly, Is Going On With Ellen DeGeneres?


What, Exactly, Is Going On With Ellen DeGeneres?

First it was Sqirl jam, then it was Goya Foods, then it was Will and Jada’s relationship. Every week or so, it seems there’s a dramatic new story consuming Twitter that might appear totally incomprehensible to the casual observer.

The most recent controversy concerns Ellen DeGeneres, the 62-year-old comedian and host of The Ellen DeGeneres Show who broke barriers for lesbian representation onscreen throughout her career. DeGeneres’s legacy was recently lauded in a moving Oscars speech by Kate McKinnon, but her jokey, dance-prone TV persona is belied by what many former staffers have called a “toxic workplace culture.” Below, get all the details on the DeGeneres imbroglio.

How did these allegations surface?

In March, comedian Kevin T. Porter started a Twitter thread asking people to contribute “the most insane stories you’ve heard about Ellen being mean,” with donations going to a Los Angeles food bank. The replies quickly hit almost 3,000, and four months later, Buzzfeed News published an investigation in which one current and 10 former Ellen employees told stories of “day-to-day toxicity,” including being fired after taking medical leave or bereavement days to attend family funerals, being subjected to racist micro-aggressions in the workplace, and being told never to speak to DeGeneres around the office.

Who else has spoken up about The Ellen DeGeneres Show’s workplace culture?

In April, show crew were reported to be “distressed and outraged” over their treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic, which allegedly included no written communication about the status of their working hours, pay, or inquiries about their mental and physical health from producers for more than a month. As of July 27, The Ellen DeGeneres Show had officially been placed under investigation by WarnerMedia. More recently, former employees spoke out about being subjected to sexual harassment and misconduct at the hands of several of the show’s executives producers—even Brad Garrett has jumped into the fray. This weekend, after DeGeneres had issued a statement that suggested the show’s producers were responsible for the show’s troubled atmosphere, the Everybody Loves Raymond actor tweeted, “Sorry but it comes from the top ⁦@TheEllenShow Know more than one who were treated horribly by her.⁩ Common knowledge.”

How has DeGeneres responded?

DeGeneres issued an apology to staff last week, and her wife—actor Portia De Rossi—made a statement on Monday, posting on her Instagram account, “To all our fans.…we see you. Thank you for your support,” and adding the hashtags #stopbotattacks, #IStandWithEllenDeGeneres, #IStandByEllen, #IStandByEllenDeGeneres, ‬and #bekindtooneanother. (By Monday afternoon, it had gotten 49,600 “likes”—and no, we don’t know what the “bot attacks” reference means at this time.)

Will DeGeneres resign?

There’s no substantial evidence of that at this point (and her current contract takes her through 2022), but the rumor mill is busy as ever: Gossip is swirling about British comedian James Corden allegedly being tapped to replace DeGeneres, but we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.