Ellen DeGeneres says she was ‘kicked out of show business’ for being ‘mean’ following 2020 scandal


Ellen DeGeneres has addressed the controversial cancellation of her eponymous daytime talk show and subsequent ousting from show business.

In 2020, the 66-year-old TV host became the center of a media storm following rumors that her talk show – which debuted on September 8, 2003 – perpetuated a “toxic work environment” behind the scenes.

Some employees alleged racism, sexual misconduct, and intimidation at the hands of executive producers, according to Variety.

In addition, there were allegations that several workers feared taking medical leave for risk of penalization, and faced retribution for raising complaints.

Ellen Degeneres filmed the final episode of The Ellen Degeneres Show in May 2022. Credit: Frazer Harrison / Getty

In September 2020, DeGeneres publically addressed the accumulating allegations in the series’ season 18 premiere.

During the monologue, she apologized to her co-workers for incidents that “never should have happened,” adding: “I’m in a position of privilege and power and… I take responsibility for what happens at my show.”

The show never recovered from the scandal and ended its 19-year run in May 2022.

DeGeneres made her return to the spotlight on Thursday (April 25) evening during the first night of her comedy show: Last Stand… Up Tour, which is set to appear on Netflix.

Onstage at the Largo, the comedian opened up about becoming “the most hated person in America” saying: “I got kicked out of show business. There’s no mean people in show business,” as cited in The Guardian.

She said that the scandal reduced her television legacy, explaining: “The hate went on for a long time and I would try to avoid looking at the news…the ‘be kind’ girl wasn’t kind.”

“I became this one-dimensional character who gave stuff away and danced up steps… Had I ended my show by saying ‘Go f**k yourself,’ people would’ve been pleasantly surprised,” she continued.

“The hate went on for a long time and I would try to avoid looking at the news.” Credit: James Devaney / Getty

She then referenced the cancelation of her ’90s eponymous sitcom following her coming out as gay – saying that she has now been canceled twice.

“For those of you keeping score, this is the second time I’ve been kicked out of show business… Eventually they’re going to kick me out for a third time because I’m mean, old, and gay,” she said.

Despite joking about the tumultuous period, the host revealed that she “had a hard time” and “didn’t get out” amid the scandal and said she became “persona non grata” for the second time in her career – the first being when she publicly came out as gay in 1997.

“I’m making jokes about what happened to me, but it was devastating, really,” she said. “It took a long time for me to want to do anything again.”

DeGeneres explained that she “just hated the way the show ended,” adding: “I love that show so much and I just hated that the last time people would see me is that way.”

She told the crowd in a final note that she was happy to return and provide some “joy” during “a scary time” to live.

“I think that we need more laughter and less drama,” she concluded.

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