Ellen DeGeneres has announced that she is ending her daytime talk show at the end of this season, and in the process opening up more than ever about the misconduct allegations against her and her staff. DeGeneres spoke about the decision in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter. She confirmed that the criticisms of her personal and professional conduct were "very hurtful" to her.
"It almost impacted the show. It was very hurtful to me. I mean, very," she said. "But if I was quitting the show because of that, I wouldn't have come back this season. So, it's not why I'm stopping but it was hard because I was sitting at home, it was summer, and I see a story that people have to chew gum before they talk to me and I'm like, 'Okay, this is hilarious.' Then I see another story of some other ridiculous thing and then it just didn't stop."
DeGeneres and her show were the subjects of several rumors coming out of Hollywood this summer, culminating in one big expose published by BuzzFeed News. In it, dozens of former and current employees of the show detailed their mistreatment and harassment on the set, with many claiming that DeGeneres' famous "be kind" mantra is all an act and that she is not kind off camera. Looking back, DeGeneres said that it was all the harder for her to hear these stories while she was not working.
"I wasn't working, so I had no platform, and I didn't want to address it on [Twitter] and I thought if I just don't address it, it's going to go away because it was all so stupid."
While she didn't address it publicly, DeGeneres admitted that the accusations about her phony persona hurt her badly because they targeted what she believed was the driving force behind all her life's work. She said: "I became a comedian because I wanted to make people feel good. It started when I was 13 years old, when my parents got divorced, and I wanted to make my mother happy. My whole being is about making people happy. And with the talk show, all I cared about was spreading kindness and compassion and everything I stand for was being attacked. So, it destroyed me, honestly. I'd be lying if I said it didn't."
"It makes me really sad that there's so much joy out there from negativity," she went on. "It's a culture now where there are just mean people, and it's so foreign to me that people get joy out of that. Then, on the heels of it, there are allegations of a toxic workplace and, unfortunately, I learned that through the press. And at first, I didn't believe it because I know how happy everybody is here and how every guest talks about, 'Man, you have a great place here. Of all the talk shows I've done, everyone here is so happy.' That's all I've ever heard."
DeGeneres went on to explain that there was a moment during the summer where she was tempted to break her contract and quit the show early, telling herself: "I don't deserve this. I don't need this. I know who I am. I'm a good person," but ultimately she muddled through. Her show airs on weekdays at 11 a.m. ET, but it will come to a close at the end of its current season in 2022.