A slew of reports have described beloved talk show host Ellen DeGeneres engaging in hostile behavior towards employees and even guests.
Now, Ellen is reportedly scrambling to change the narrative before it sinks her brand.
Us Weekly spoke to an inside source that explains that Ellen is deeply frustrated by a slew of bad press.
“Ellen is at the end of her rope,” the insider describes.
Initially, the source explains, “She thought this was all just sour grapes from a few haters.”
It is so much more than that, as we will explain.
‘But,” the insider laments on Ellen’s behalf, “it’s not a passing thing.”
The source characterizes the backlash and continued bad press: “the hits just keep coming.”
The hits, in this case, mean stories from employees and even random service workers describing Ellen as behaving coldly or even cruelly.
The Ellen described by so many people is totally at odds with the image that she has cultivated.
There have been grumblings about Ellen DeGeneres within LGBTQ+ spaces for years.
She has been labeled as yet another celebrity who was once a very progressive person, but has become someone very different.
These gripes and more spilled over into the social media mainstreatm in October, when Ellen was spotted rubbing elbows with George W Bush.
In addition to the heinous atrocities of his administration, Bush made opposition to gay rights central to his platform, but she sees him as a friend.
It’s no surprise that a woman worth half a billion dollars may see more in common with a man as reviled as Bush than with her own community.
Class solidarity can form a more powerful bond than race, sexuality, gender, religion, or other vectors of marginalization.
But there has been much more to the callouts of Ellen than the fact that her alleged principles mean nothing when it’s easier to be friendly.
Apparently, Ellen’s friendliness shared on TV screens and with warmongers is not extended to everyone.
In April, trans beauty vlogger Nikkie Tutorials (real name Nikkie de Jager) described Ellen as “cold and distant” after having been a guest on her show.
She described receiving a much warmer welcome in other interviews, but felt a stiffness and indifference from Ellen.
Nevertheless, Nikkie acknowledged that it was still an honor to be invited to the show, which has a massive audience.
Most of all, Nikkie seemed stunned that Ellen was so different in person than she appears on television.
That same month, Ellen joined a slew of other celebrities who came under fire for some catastrophically bad takes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ellen compared her home to a “prison” while living under lockdown.
Comparisons to prison seldom go over well in our heavily over-incarcerated society where prisons are a profitable investment, not a grim necessity.
For Ellen to do so from her mansion while Americans died by the thousands of a pandemic … well, it did not go over well.
Nikkie was not the only one who has expressed surprise at Ellen in-person demeanor.
A former bodyguard expressed feeling stunned that she all but ignored him, giving him the cold shoulder and never thanking him for his work.
In movies, people with bodyguards (who aren’t romantic interests) tend to treat them like furniture or minions.
In real life, professional bodyguards are accustomed to being addressed as people and human beings, rather than being ignored.
Worst of all comes news about Ellen’s behavior as a boss — though this, it seems, would be the easiest and most important thing for her to “fix.”
Production crew at Ellen’s show have expressed dismay at being kept in limbo during the pandemic.
Questions about their pay and benefits and what may change during the lockdown have gone largely unanswered.
Additionally, the crew expressed in reports that it didn’t seem like anyone was overly concerned with their well being. That’s not a good work vibe.
In case people think that these complaints come from only a few people, the magic of social media shows that this is a wider pattern.
Comedian Kevin T Porter described Ellen as one of the “meanest people alive” and offered (small) donations to the LA Food Bank for more stories.
He ended up making a $600 donation. Over time, the tweet received thousands of replies.
While some countered his claims with positive anecdotes, others shared horror stories of Ellen nearly ruining their lives.
What’s funny about this reply in particular is that the claim about Ellen trying to get someone fired is not new to me, personally.
A close friend’s former boss described getting “fired” at Ellen’s insistence at a hotel where he once worked. He was not actually fired.
He was fake-fired to appease her. But when she returned to the hotel a year later, she recognized him, expressed dismay that he still worked there, but was then jovial about it.
That man is not on Twitter. It makes me wonder how many more stories there may be out there from people who are not especially online.
Notably, a second source tells Us Weekly that the backlash has not really impacted Ellen’s actual ratings.
“Ellen’s been in our homes for so long, it’ll take a lot more than a bodyguard and a blogger to change how people feel about her,” the insider notes.
The source adds that “Her best response is just being happy Ellen on the show every day.”
Twitter is not a representative sample. People who don’t spend most of their days on social media just see Ellen on their TVs.
It is genuinely difficult, emotionally, for many people to think of Ellen as someone who can be cruel for no reason, as the anecdotes describe.
(Given how different people’s experiences are, even if every story is true, catching her in the right mood seems to bring a different experience)
A lot of us recognize what a pioneer Ellen has been. Plus, a lot of us are huge fans of her wife, Portia.
Ellen could — and should — work to counter these gripes against her by actively choosing to do better than she has in the past.