With $84 million in annual earnings, Ellen DeGeneres was the 12th highest-paid celebrity in 2020. However, even with money to burn, the troubled host rejected any suggestion that she take a pay cut to save the jobs of 17 staffers that just got laid off from Ellen Digital Ventures, according to an OK! source.
"In 2012, Jay Leno chose to take a 50 percent pay cut instead of allowing 20 staff members to be laid off at The Tonight Show. The Daily Show host Trevor Noah is personally paying the salaries of 25 crew members who are furloughed. James Corden on The Late Late Show is doing the same, but not Ellen," a source exclusively tells OK!.
"Ellen was being encouraged to save members of her team, given the recent 'toxic' accusations against her and the work environment at her show, this would have been a great opportunity to show everyone that she really cared and get some positive press for being kind," adds an insider. "Ellen did addresses staff after the employees were let go from the digital arm of her show, saying that she was 'heartbroken.' However, clearly she wasn’t upset enough to reach into her own pocket and stop it."
It's been quite a year for the 62-year-old. After former staffers came forward and claimed the set was a horrible place to work, the comedian addressed the elephant in the room in September when her show returned from hiatus. “We’ve had a lot of conservations over the last few weeks about the show, our workplace and what we want for the future. We have made the necessary changes and today, we’re starting a new chapter,” she said at the time.
However, DeGeneres was already getting fed up that she had to act differently on set. “Ellen is in a lose-lose situation. She is finding herself having to grin like the Cheshire Cat, or else people will say the old, mean Ellen has returned. You can tell being this nice is already getting annoying. Ellen technically is the boss of over 250 staff — now each and every one of them think they can walk into her office with any complaint,” a source exclusively told OK! upon her show's return.
Ultimately, the former actress “wants to create a great work environment but that doesn’t mean feelings won’t get hurt when ideas and pitches are possibly rejected for better ones.” DeGeneres is “terrified that the next time she says ‘no,’ staff will go running to the press,” the source dished.
On Sunday, November 15, DeGeneres couldn't help but give a shout-out to her staff after she won a trophy at the People's Choice Awards.
“I am not only accepting this award for myself; I’m accepting it on behalf of my amazing crew, my amazing staff, who make this show possible,” she said while accepting the Best Talk Show of 2020. “They show up every single day. They give 100 percent of themselves, 100 percent of the time. That’s 250 people times 170 shows a year times 18 years. … My point is I love them all, and I thank them for what they do every single day to help that show be the best that we try to make it every single day.
“I know this award comes from the people. I say thank you to the people. Thank you to all of my fans for supporting me, for sticking by me,” she added. “I cannot tell you how grateful I am and what this means to me. It’s more than I can possibly tell you — especially right now.”
UPDATE 4:20 p.m. ET: A representative for Ms. DeGeneres said these claims are absolutely not true but refused to say if the embattled host took a pay cut.