Ellen DeGeneres appeared on the “Today” show Thursday to discuss her decision to exit “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” next year, at the end of its nineteenth season.
During her interview with Savannah Guthrie, which was taped just hours after DeGeneres revealed she was leaving her daytime talker, she said that the barrage of negative press last year against her and the show — including last summer’s bombshell accusations of a “toxic” workplace — were “too orchestrated” and “too coordinated.”
“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,” DeGeneres told Guthrie, when speaking about the level of backlash she received when the reports rolled out accusing both her and show producers of unkind behavior.
However, DeGeneres says the controversy surrounding “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in the wake of those allegations — which led to an investigation and the firing of three top producers — is not the reason she decided to end the show with its upcoming 19th season.
“If it was why I was quitting, I would have not come back this year. I really did think about not coming back… It was devastating,” DeGeneres told Guthrie. “I am a kind person, I am a person who likes to make people happy. I just kept saying to Portia, ‘If I was a fan of somebody, even if I loved them, I would think there must be some truth to it, because it’s not stopping.'”
Dozens of current and former staffers spoke out about their time working on “Ellen” in a pair of bombshell Buzzfeed News reports in July 2020. WarnerMedia’s subsequent investigation into multiple accusations of workplace and sexual misconduct resulted in “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” removing three of its top producers: Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman and Jonathan Norman.
In a memo to staff back in July, DeGeneres said she was “disappointed” to learn that employees felt mistreated while working on her show and committed herself to “ensuring this does not happen again.”
“I really didn’t understand it. I still don’t understand it,” DeGeneres told Guthrie of the rollout and timing of the accusations made against “Ellen.” “It was too orchestrated. It was too coordinated. You know, people get picked on, but for fourth 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 how what a happy place this is.”
When Guthrie asked DeGeneres what her reaction is to people asking how she didn’t know what was allegedly going on at her own show, DeGeneres answered: “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, stayed here until the last person goes home at night.”
DeGeneres’ ratings have fallen this season, following the accusations made about “Ellen” being a “toxic” workplace, which you can read more about here.
The comedian told THR Wednesday that “it broke my heart when I learned that people here had anything other than a fantastic experience — that people were hurt in any way” following the accusations and WarnerMedia’s subsequent investigation into “Ellen.”
“I check in now as much as I can through Zoom to different departments and I make sure people know that if there’s ever a question or ever anything, they can come to me and I don’t know why that was never considered before,” DeGeneres told THR. “I’m not a scary person. I’m really easy to talk to. So, we’ve all learned from things that we didn’t realize — or I didn’t realize — were happening. I just want people to trust and know that I am who I appear to be.”
Watch DeGeneres’ “Today” interview via the videos below.