While nothing that happens at this point can fully take away the many successful years that Ellen DeGeneres had with her daytime talk show, the past year of behind-the-scenes allegations, rumors and firings has done a lot to tarnish the legacies of both the series and its host. DeGeneres announced in mid-May that she would be bowing out of the talk show biz after her current contract expires, saying the year-long backlash didn't impact her impending exit. However, several former employees clapped back against that notion and shared some truly blunt opinions about DeGeneres' true motivations.
Ellen DeGeneres is obviously no stranger to facing workplace accusations from both current and former staff members, having denied most of them (including the notion that she doesn't allow others to look her in the eyes). So it was almost expected that her quasi-retirement announcement was met with even more fiery claims from former employees. Here's what one such ex-worker shared with Buzzfeed News:
I think this is ‘consequence culture.’ People are like, ‘cancel culture,’ but no, this is a consequence of somebody and an institution that got away with fostering a super unhealthy and toxic work environment for a really long time. I think they did all the right things to make it look like they were making changes — they fired some people, they gave tWitch an executive producer position because they didn't have a lot of diversity, and they made it look like they did all the right things, but it still wasn't enough. It all comes out in the wash at the end, and you realize this is really what she deserves and what the show deserves.
The employee quoted above seems to follow more of an eye-for-an-eye approach to life, and feels that Ellen DeGeneres' years of allegedly foul attitude and workplace behavior finally came back around to haunt the longtime host. As well, that person clearly doesn't believe that studio execs handled the situation with an eye on truly inspiring changes, alleging that DJ tWitch's promotion and the producer terminations were more about saving face than fixing problems.
Of course, that wasn't the only former employee who took the time to call out Ellen DeGeneres. The host's views and comments on all the claims against her have also rubbed her accusers the wrong way, as she has largely eschewed apologies and has instead called such allegations "ridiculous," while also saying the constant backlash has hurt her feelings. And the ex-staffer below didn't seem to find very much value in DeGeneres' self-centric reactions, claiming the host is bowing out in order to get away from the negativity.
You have a billion bucks in your bank account. It didn't hurt you that deeply. This hurt other people's livelihoods, working people who are taking care of their families and who don't have the fame and power and money that she has. She wants to move the hell on and get away from all the ugliness. But calling [the allegations] ‘stupid’ does not show any sense of seriousness that you actually got it. It’s insulting and degrading to the multiple people who suffered for years.
Some believe that if the ongoing backlash had subsided at some point, that Ellen DeGeneres would have likely swept it all under the metaphorical rug and kept on working. In a similar vein, the former employee quoted below isn't alone in thinking the talk show's ratings tumble is a big factor in DeGeneres' decision to walk away.
If the ratings were still phenomenal, if her ratings were wonderful and none of this stuff came out about the show, why wouldn't she sign on for another five years like Oprah and do 25 years? If none of this came out, she'd still be going strong, laughing all the way to the bank, and getting that daily applause.
It's no secret that The Ellen DeGeneres Show's average viewership has been on a more or less consistent downward spiral in the past year, with numbers that pale in comparison to years past. And while the pandemic and other factors definitely play into the lowered ratings, it's hard to deny that the constant negative energy surrounding the talk show factored in as well.
With an endgame plan set for 2022 that will hand the coveted time slot to fellow talk show phenom Kelly Clarkson, The Ellen DeGeneres Show airs weekdays in syndication, so check your local listings to see when and where it plays in your area.