She broke boundaries. Then she broke her personal career.
On Wednesday, embattled comic Ellen DeGeneres confirmed that she’ll finish her eponymous discuss present after subsequent season.
The writing was already on the wall — her contract was up anyway in 2022, a supply informed The Post. DeGeneres’ official motive for her exit is that her present is “just not a challenge anymore.” But for months she’s been dogged by scandal and “Ellen” has reportedly seen a dip in its rankings and its skill to guide A-list company.
DeGeneres, 63, has develop into a flashpoint for controversy ever since allegations of “Ellen” having a “toxic workplace environment” behind the scenes broke final summer time — contrasting along with her affable public picture and her catchphrase, “be kind.”
The reporting — which included allegations about sexual misconduct and harassment from producers — resulted in an investigation from WarnerMedia and three producers getting ousted from the present.
“That ‘be kind’ bullsh–t only happens when the cameras are on. It’s all for show,” one former worker told Buzzfeed News in July.
DeGeneres declined to touch upon this text, however in September, she addressed the controversy on-air in her first Season 18 monologue.
“As you may have heard, this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show and then there was an investigation,” she mentioned. “I take that very seriously and I want to say I am so sorry to the people that were affected… I take responsibility for what happens at my show.”
DeGeneres has a busy slate apart from “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” producing “Ellen’s Game of Games” and “The Masked Dancer” on NBC, “Ellen’s Next Great Designer” on HBO Max, and “Endangered” on Discovery+, amongst others. It stays to be seen how the top of “Ellen” will impression the remainder of her career — however her tarnished public picture is a far cry from the place she began.
DeGeneres first rose to prominence on the stand-up comedy scene within the Eighties, with a breakthrough 1986 look on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” Her jokes have been broad crowd-pleasers such as, “My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She’s 97 today and we don’t know where the hell she is.”
She turned a star along with her sitcom “Ellen,” which aired from 1994-1998. On “The Puppy Episode” in Season 4, which aired on April 30, 1997, she made historical past by popping out as homosexual on TV. She additionally appeared on the cover of Time and did specials with Oprah and Diane Sawyer.
Her motive for popping out on TV was to free herself of “shame” she said in 2017.
“I did some work on myself, some deep soul-searching, and realized I was really carrying around a lot of shame … No matter how many times I tried to rationalize that I didn’t need anyone to know, I knew that it was a secret. And I knew that there was a possibility that people would hate me for the simple fact that no matter how much they loved my comedy or my show, but they might hate me if they knew I was gay. It became more important to me than my career.”
She noticed a straightforward transition for her character, Ellen Morgan, to appreciate that she was homosexual, too, “which was why her relationships with men weren’t working out,” she mentioned.
It was a game-changer for Hollywood and for the LGBTQ group — however it was hardly easy crusing from there.
Although a whopping 42 million folks tuned in and “The Puppy Episode” earned an Emmy and Peabody award, ABC axed the present in 1998.
“[The show ended] because I came out,” DeGeneres informed Dax Shepard’s “Armchair Expert” podcast in 2018. “This is a long, long story — but they really didn’t want me to come out. They finally let me come out, and it was a huge success the night of. It was huge. It was celebrated … and then they just stopped promoting it because everybody was scared. We were losing sponsors, so they were just acting like, ‘We’re just letting it glide. We’re not going to touch it.’ I got no more advertising, I got no more promotion. So they canceled it.”
She also alleged that fellow LGBTQ celebs equivalent to Elton John informed her to “shut up already” about being homosexual within the aftermath. “People were making fun of me. I was really depressed,” she mentioned.
In 2001, DeGeneres adopted it up with short-lived CBS sitcom “The Ellen Show,” that was critically panned and canceled after simply 13 episodes. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to work again,” DeGeneres told Out in 2016 about that part of her career. “I was at rock bottom and out of money, with no work in sight. But one step at a time, it gets better.”
DeGeneres was within the odd position of getting reached crucial and business success — however nonetheless being a relative underdog within the trade.
“It was all kinds of other lessons of learning what it’s like to not be loved and to be the butt of everybody’s joke on television and in magazines,” DeGeneres told Oprah Winfrey in 2015. “I had to learn what that feels like to not let things like that get to you.”
Following the cancellation of “Ellen” and the failure of “The Ellen Show,” she discovered her footing in 2003 with the launch of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and her function voicing the ditzy cartoon fish Dory, in Pixar hit “Finding Nemo.” Dory’s slogan, “just keep swimming,” was each literal for the character and figurative about persevering by way of life’s difficulties — which match DeGeneres’ picture as a celeb with hard-won success and America’s de-facto enjoyable aunt.
Still, it wasn’t a seamless leap to “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Aided by Warner Bros. exec Jim Paratore, she took it on tour to persuade station managers.
“Jim was a straight, white man, and he loved me, and he could not believe the resistance from all these station managers who didn’t want to buy my show,” DeGeneres told the Telegraph in 2016.
“They said: she’s a gay woman, and the women at home watching daytime TV are straight housewives with kids – what does she have in common with them? So Jim said: we’re going on tour – you’re going to show them who you are. So I had to go from city to city. We would make these men come out and sit in the audience. They were looking around and seeing what kind of audience I had.”
She additionally started a relationship with “Arrested Development” star Portia de Rossi in 2004, they usually tied the knot in 2008.
DeGeneres’ pioneering path for the LGBTQ group and her cheerful and down-to-earth picture earned mass public goodwill that lasted for 20 years. She turned the queen of inoffensive and healthful comedy, with materials that households can watch collectively with out worrying about salacious feedback or scathing zingers.
She additionally served as a visitor choose on “American Idol” in 2010, racked up a whopping 30 Emmys and a Presidential Medal of Freedom (awarded in 2016).
She was incessantly tapped to host awards reveals such because the Grammys (in 1996 and 1997), the Oscars ( 2007 and 2014), and the Emmys (in 2001 and 2005) following Hurricane Katrina, the place she was given the thankless process of making a festive ambiance within the wake of nationwide tragedy. As a number, DeGeneres was a protected alternative — the alternative of trade colleagues equivalent to Ricky Gervais, who’s identified for gleefully lobbing insults.
Her public picture is encapsulated in her most memorable Oscars second: it wasn’t a reducing joke about Leonardo DiCaprio’s relationship life — as an alternative, it’s an enormous group selfie of A-listers. Cute, however not precisely scathing stuff.
Once “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” turned a popular culture staple, her viewers was primarily comprised of girls within the “mom” demographic. For probably the most half, her celeb interviews didn’t reveal juicy info — they went viral for harmlessly goofy oddities equivalent to Kristen Bell’s obsession with sloths.
However, there have been hints alongside the way in which that DeGeneres wasn’t training what she preached along with her “be kind” mantra. For occasion, in 2008, when Mariah Carey appeared on “Ellen,” DeGeneres pressured the pop star into disclosing her pregnancy on TV.
“I can’t believe you did this to me Ellen… This is peer pressure,” Carey mentioned on-screen, when DeGeneres supplied her Champagne. After Carey pretended to take a sip, DeGeneres known as out, “You’re pregnant!”
Tragically, Carey ended up having a miscarriage. Her twins with ex-husband Nick Cannon have been born in 2011. “I was extremely uncomfortable with that moment is all I can say,” Carey told Vulture in August, reflecting on her “Ellen” look. “And I really have had a hard time grappling with the aftermath. I wasn’t ready to tell anyone because I had had a miscarriage. I don’t want to throw anyone that’s already being thrown under any proverbial bus, but I didn’t enjoy that moment.”
“Ellen” has attracted cream-of-the-crop A-listers who knew they’d be handled with child gloves, however apart from Carey’s interview, there have nonetheless been stray awkward moments equivalent to a 2019 look from Dakota Johnson, by which DeGeneres accused Johnson of not inviting her to her party.
“Actually, no, that’s not the truth, Ellen,” Johnson said.
Even earlier than “Ellen” was formally investigated for its poisonous workplace surroundings, rumors about DeGeneres’ habits began flying in March of 2020, because of a viral Twitter thread from comic Kevin T. Porter asking folks to reply “with the most insane stories you’ve heard about Ellen being mean.”
His replies have been flooded with anecdotes equivalent to one from Chris Farah, a former waitress who mentioned she as soon as served DeGeneres.
“She wrote a letter to the owner & complained about my chipped nail polish (not that it was on her plate but just that it was on my hand). I had worked till closing the night before & this was next morn, almost got me fired,” Farah shared.
Another fan chimed in and alleged, “My friend wrote for the Ellen Show for two years and told me Ellen didn’t greet her once. In fact, upon employment, staff were told they weren’t allowed to talk to her.”
Writer and comic Benjamin Siemon (“Crazy Ex Girlfriend”) claimed that DeGeneres had weird guidelines about her workers’ hygiene.
“She has a ‘sensitive nose’ so everyone must chew gum from a bowl outside her office before talking to her and if she thinks you smell that day you have to go home and shower,” he said.
“A new staff member was told “every day she picks someone different to really hate,” he continued. “It’s not your fault, just suck it up for the day and she’ll be mean to someone else the next day. They didn’t believe it but it ended up being entirely true.”
These accounts painted a tyrannical image that’s an unlimited departure from DeGeneres’ “nice” persona — and from the underdog she began out with, following her coming-out second and its backlash.
The investigation of “Ellen’s” workplace additionally got here on the heels of an April report from Variety that crew members have been “furious” after “Ellen” left them within the mud with no communication about their continued employment as soon as the pandemic hit.
But even now that the dominos have fallen on “Ellen,” it’s not black and white, since not everybody sees her as a villain.
A supply near the manufacturing informed The Post, “The truth is there’s a lot of gratitude among her staff that she didn’t just quit after last summer, and has kept them all employed this season during a pandemic. And now, they all get to work for a whole other season next year.”
Talking to the Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday in regards to the finish of “Ellen,” DeGeneres mentioned, “This culture we’re living is… one where you can’t learn and grow, which is, as human beings, what we’re here to do.”