Ellen DeGeneres has claimed that the press around the toxic workplace allegations at her talk show was “misogynistic”.
Speaking in her first interview since announcing that her eponymous talk show would be coming to an end later this year, DeGeneres also claimed that the press around the allegations was “orchestrated” before going into more detail about her reasons behind stepping down.
Last year, DeGeneres addressed claims of a “toxic work environment” after past and present staff members alleged “racism and intimidation” in the workplace following a Buzzfeed report with former employees.
Speaking to Today host Savannah Guthrie yesterday (May 13) about the allegations, DeGeneres denied these had factored into her decision to end the show, but she did describe them as “devastating”.
DeGeneres said: “If it was why I was quitting, I would have not come back this year. I really did think about not coming back because…it was devastating. I am a kind person. I am a person who likes to make people happy.”
She continued: “How can I be an example of strength and perseverance and power if I give up and run away?
“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 said of the media reports accompanying the claim.
DeGeneres explained that she only learned about the allegations from the press and opened up about the impact of the coverage of the allegations.
“I had no idea, never saw anything that would even point to that,” DeGeneres said about the allegations. “I still don’t understand [the press coverage]. It was too orchestrated. It was too coordinated. People get picked on, but for four months straight for me.
“All I’ve ever heard from every guest that comes on the show is what a happy atmosphere this is and what a happy place this is…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 stay here until the last person goes home at night.
“It is my name on the show, so clearly it affects me and I have to be the one to stand up and say, ‘This can’t be tolerated.’ But I do wish somebody would have come to me and said, ‘Hey, something’s going on that you should know about.’”
Addressing the allegations on the first episode of her show last year, DeGeneres said: “Things happened here that should never have happened.
“As you may have heard this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show, and then there was an investigation. I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously, and I want to say I’m so sorry to the people who were affected.
“I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power, and I realise that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show.”