Ellen DeGeneres is reportedly selling pieces from her art collection, worth over $10 million, in New York. DeGeneres' show returned on Monday with the first episode following a summer of controversies stemming from a toxic workplace scandal. The Ellen DeGeneres Show host responded to the scandal at the very beginning of the premiere, taking full responsibility for what happened behind the scenes at the show that carries her name.
Pieces from DeGeneres' collection showed up in East Hampton, New York, where dealers opened spaces for wealthy clients who left New York City during the coronavirus lockdown, sources told Bloomberg Tuesday. Pieces from DeGeneres' collection include a sculpture by Alexander Calder, a Jean-Michel Basquiat work on paper, and sheep pieces by Francois-Xavier Lalanne. The sheep are priced between $500,000 and $1 million, and Sotheby's has already sold many of them. DeGeneres is also selling a Basquiat painting with Van de Weghe Fine Art. DeGeneres and her wife, actress Portia de Rossi, did not comment on the sales.
The sales came during a difficult summer for DeGeneres. In July, current and former employees told BuzzFeed News they experienced racism, intimidation, and sexual harassment from senior producers. After an investigation, executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman were fired. DeGeneres' own behind-the-scenes behavior came under scrutiny as well, with some reports suggesting staffers were banned from looking her in the eye.
"I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously, and I want to say I am so sorry to the people that were affected," DeGeneres said in Monday's monologue. "I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power, and I realize that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show. This is The Ellen DeGeneres Show. I am Ellen DeGeneres."
DeGeneres did not address specific allegations, but she said the "necessary changes" have been made and the show is starting a "new chapter" in its 18th season. The Finding Nemo star insisted she is the person "you see on TV" and "a lot of other things" audiences do not see. "Sometimes I get sad," DeGeneres continued. "I get mad. I get anxious. I get frustrated. I get impatient. And I am working on all of that. I am a work in progress." Later, she told her audience, "This is me, and my intention is to always be the best person I can be. And if I’ve ever let someone down, if I’ve ever hurt their feelings, I’m so sorry for that."