consequence culture

Ellen wanted to be a TV legend like Oprah but then “the truth came out,” former employees say

Several former employees of The Ellen Degeneres Show say they’re happy the once-beloved daytime talk show queen is finally getting her comeuppance after years of alleged abuse and bad behavior.

“I think this is ‘consequence culture’,” one former employee tells Buzzfeed. “People are like, ‘cancel culture,’ but no, this is a consequence of somebody and an institution that got away with fostering a super unhealthy and toxic work environment for a really long time.”

Ellen announced last month that she was ending her one-hit daytime talk show after 19 years, saying it was “just not a challenge anymore” and that she wanted to try something new.

“I was going to stop after season 16,” she told  The Hollywood Reporter. “That was going to be my last season and they wanted to sign for four more years and I said I’d sign for maybe for one.”

But according to another former employee, that simply isn’t true. It was Ellen’s summer of scandal last year that did her in.

“The show took a tank,” they say. “She’s unlikeable now.”

According to the New York Times, Nielsen data showed Ellen’s viewership fell by over 1 million people this season, going from 2.6 million viewers to 1.5 million viewers.

The former employee adds that they believe “she only came back to this past season because she probably had to [in order] to save face.”

Another former employee agrees, telling Buzzfeed that if the show’s ratings had held up, Ellen would’ve gladly kept cashing those multi-million dollar paychecks and soaking up the applause while those around her suffered.

“If the ratings were still phenomenal, if her ratings were wonderful and none of this stuff came out about the show, why wouldn’t she sign on for another five years like Oprah and do 25 years?” they say. “If none of this came out, she’d still be going strong, laughing all the way to the bank, and getting that daily applause.”

And another person says that, despite claiming to be “devastated” by the attacks against her, Ellen still doesn’t understand where things went wrong, saying she “lacks humility” and won’t “take any kind of responsibility for the fact that this happened under her umbrella.”

“She said, ‘Oh, this hurt me so deeply’,” they say. “You have a billion bucks in your bank account. It didn’t hurt you that deeply.”

All of the former employees who spoke to Buzzfeed expressed hope that the funny lady’s downfall might inspire a cultural shift within the industry, particularly around working conditions and accountability.

“I hope that it’s highlighting more of that toxic f*cking environment that you guys can’t get away with too much anymore,” one of the former employees says. “There are places that you can be at where work is good.”

“It all comes out in the wash at the end, and you realize this is really what she deserves and what the show deserves,” another adds.

“The truth came out. I’m glad it finally came out,” a third former employee says. “She’s going down with a stain on her name. That whole show is just going down with the truth.”

Graham Gremore is the Features Editor and a Staff Writer at Queerty. Follow him on Twitter @grahamgremore.