“We Are Starting A New Chapter”: Ellen Returns To TV, Addresses ‘Toxic’ Workplace Allegations
"Being known as the 'Be Kind' lady is a tricky position to be in."
The Ellen DeGeneres Show has returned for season 18 after a series of allegations against the show’s toxic and racist workplace environment, as well as rumours that Ellen herself is far from her ‘be kind’ persona. And, via her opening monologue, she’s addressed all of the above.
Back in July, The Ellen Show underwent an internal investigation after several ex- and current employees came forward to share their experiences with bullying and racism while working on the show. Three executive producers were fired as a result, but questions remained over whether this addressed the core of the issue — and for a while, rumours swirled that Ellen herself would be replaced, potentially by James Corden.
A handful of celebrities spoke out against the talk show star (though many more defended her), including Everybody Loves Raymond actor Brad Garrett and Back To The Future star Lea Thompson, who both shared on social media that it was ‘common knowledge’ that Ellen wasn’t a particularly nice person to work with.
DeGeneres addressed both strains of criticism in her opening monologue, which was filmed on set in front of a virtual audience.
“How was everybody’s summer? Good? Mine was great! Super terrific,” she jokes at the beginning, before adding she has been looking forward to the show’s return and the chance to address everything directly. First, the workplace allegations, where DeGeneres more or less echoes previous statements she’s made.
“I learned that things happened here that never should have happened,” she said. “I take that very seriously, and I want to say I am 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. This is The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and I am Ellen DeGeneres.”
“We have made the necessary changes, and today we are starting a new chapter,”
DeGeneres then moved onto the meat of the monologue, aka the criticisms leveled against her. She begins by addressing that some articles and social media posts have claimed she isn’t “who I appear to be on TV, the ‘Be Kind’ lady” — a reference to her sign off, ‘be kind to one another’.
“Being known as the ‘Be Kind’ lady is a tricky position to be in. So let me give you some advice, if anyone out there’s thinking of changing their title or giving yourself a nickname, do not go with the ‘Be Kind’ lady. Don’t do it.”
She adds that she is a human, flawed as all others.
“The truth is, I am that person that you see on TV,” she says. “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 am especially working on the impatience thing, and it’s not going well because it’s not happening fast enough,” she jokes.
She then apologises ‘if’ she has ever hurt someone’s feelings.
“If I’ve ever let someone down, if I’ve ever hurt their feelings, I am so sorry for that,” she said. “If that’s ever the case, I have let myself down and I’ve hurt myself as well, because I always try to grow as a person.”
In the end, DeGeneres says she wants her employees to be “happy and proud” to work on the show, which she envisions as a respite from the news.
“My hope is that we can still be a place of happiness and joy,” she said. “I still want to be the one hour a day that people can go to escape and laugh. I want to continue to help all the people that we help every day, and I am committed to making this the best season that we have ever had.”
Watch the monologue below.