Ellen DeGeneres opened Season 18 of The Ellen Show by addressing the months of rumors about her mean behavior, and an investigation of the show over workplace toxicity, fear, and intimidation.
“If you’re watching because you love me, thank you. If you’re watching because you don’t love me, welcome!” said Ellen, appearing on set before a virtual audience.
Added Ellen: “There are a lot of things I want to talk about. I’ve been looking forward to addressing it all directly, but unfortunately talking directly to people has been illegal for six months.”
“As you may have heard, this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show,” Ellen continued. “And then there was an investigation. I learned that things happened here that never should have happened… I take that very seriously. I’m so sorry to the people who were affected. I know that I am in a position of privilege and power and I realize that with that comes responsibility. And I take responsibility for what happens at my show. … We have had a lot of conversations over the last few weeks about our show, our workplace, and what we want for the future. We have made the necessary changes. Today, we are starting a new chapter.”
“There were also articles in the press and on social media that said who I am not who I appear to be on TV because I became known as the ‘be kind’ lady,” Ellen said.
Ellen then explained that she became the “be kind” lady after the suicide of gay Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, who took his own life after being bullied.
“Being known as the ‘be kind’ lady is a tricky position to be in,” Ellen admitted. “The truth is, I am that person that you see on TV. I am also a lot of other things. Sometimes I get sad, I get mad, I get anxious, I get frustrated, I get impatient. And I am working on all of that. I am a work in progress. … I don’t think that I’m that good [of an actress] that I could come out here every day for 17 years and fool you. This is me. And my intention is to always be the best person I can be. And if I’ve ever let someone down, if I’ve ever hurt their feelings, I am so sorry for that.”
“I got into this business to make people laugh and feel good …. and now I am the boss of 270 people, 270 people who I am so grateful for. All I want is for every single one of them to be happy and to be proud to work here. … My hope is that we can still be a place of happiness and joy. I still want to be the one hour a day that people can go to escape and laugh. … I am committed to making this the best season that we have ever had.”