The Ellen DeGeneres Show is currently being investigated by parent company Warner Bros. Television for alleged racism, creating a toxic work environment and mistreatment of staff. While it isn’t clear if host Ellen DeGeneres herself is being questioned, it has opened deep wounds with current and former staff.
Here are five things that the investigation might uncover:
1. This isn’t the first time that allegations have been made
Earlier this month former employees detailed how production personnel would make racist comments towards them, display microaggressions during conversations and in general just be unwelcoming to staff.
“That ‘be kind’ bullsh*t only happens when the cameras are on. It’s all for show,” a former employee told BuzzFeed.
Way back in February Dutch beauty vlogger Nikkie de Jager was a guest on the show and told Dutch talk show De Wereld Draait Door that “it's nice that you say 'hi' before the show. She didn't.” She added that DeGeneres was “cold and distant” towards her.
2. DeGeneres has been labelled as one of the “meanest people alive”
The internal investigation conducted by WarnerMedia hasn’t mentioned whether any of the allegations are directed towards DeGeneres, but comedian and writer Kevin T. Porter started an explosive thread on Twitter about the talk show host’s conduct.
“Right now, we all need a little kindness. You know, like Ellen Degeneres always talks about! She’s also notoriously one of the meanest people alive,” he tweeted.
TV show writer Benjamin Siemon replied to the thread, saying: 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.”
3. DeGeneres picks on a new person every day
According to Siemon, a new staff member on the show was made aware that everyday DeGeneres “picks someone different to really hate. It's not your fault, just suck it up for the day and she'll be mean to someone else the next day.” He added that: “They didn't believe it but it ended up being entirely true.”
4. She’s a militant vegan, policing crew lunch orders
Let’s be clear: there is absolutely nothing wrong with loving animals, but if that causes you to lash out at staff over small things, it’s a huge problem. Both DeGeneres and her wife Portia de Rossi are vegans, and industry wardrobe expert Alison Freer explained how DeGeneres would go ballistic over animals and eating meat. “Was working on a show that was next to her stage. Was our showrunner's 50th Bday. Caterer grilling steaks outside for special fancy lunch. Ellen sent someone over to demand they stop, as she doesn't eat meat. She's the worst.”
She added: “she polices her crew's lunch orders, nobody allowed to eat fish etc. They would come hide on our stage to eat what they wanted away from her.”
5. She’s not afraid to get people fired
Comedian Chris Farah said that DeGeneres almost got her fired for simply having chipped nail polish on her fingernails.
“I worked @RealFoodDaily, served her & Porsha at brunch. 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,” she tweeted.
6. She will only acknowledge you if you are deemed worthy
Former bodyguard Tom Majercak told Fox in April that even though he was tasked with protecting DeGeneres, her wife and her mother during the 86th Annual Academy Awards, she not once greeted or thanked him.
“I'm holding their hands and walking them through individuals and large groups of people. Ellen is the one person that I've been assigned to — and I've been assigned to quite a few celebrities — that has never taken the time to say hi to me,” he said.
“Ellen pretty much just gave me a side glance out of her eye and didn't even say 'hello,' or 'thank you for protecting my mother, my wife and me,'. It was very cold and it was very sly and it was actually kind of demeaning in the way that she treats people other than those who are in her circle,” he continued.