Ellen DeGeneres came under fire last year after allegations were made about her workplace behavior. DeGeneres was accused of bullying her staffers and creating a toxic work environment. Following the announcement, she will be ending The Ellen DeGeneres Show after its upcoming nineteenth season, the long-time talk show addressed the allegations at length for the first time.
During an appearance on the Today Show, DeGeneres was asked if she was ending the show because of the allegations. “If it was why I was quitting, I would have not come back this year,” she answered. “I really did think about not coming back because it did…it was devastating. I am a kind person. I am a person who likes to make people happy. I just kept saying to [wife] Portia [de Rossi], ‘If I was a fan of somebody and even if I loved them, I would think there must be some truth to it, because it’s not stopping.’ Right on the heels of that, I read in the press that there’s a toxic work environment, which I had no idea, never saw anything that would even point to that.”
DeGeneres says she still doesn't "understand" the allegations made against her. "It was too orchestrated. It was too coordinated," she said. "People get picked on, but for four months straight, for me, and then for me to read in the press about a toxic work environment when 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.”
She went on to deflect responsibility for the reportedly poor working conditions on her set, as well. “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,” she said. “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.’”
Despite her belief that the allegations were an "orchestrated" smear campaign against her, DeGeneres said she "worked really hard" on herself since then. "And also, 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," she added.