Steve Harvey is the latest celebrity to defend Ellen DeGeneres, whose show was under investigation for a toxic workplace environment over the summer. Harvey, a daytime talk show veteran himself, called DeGeneres "one of the coolest and kindest people I've met in this business" in a Thursday interview with PEOPLE (The TV Show!). WarnerMedia launched an investigation in July following a BuzzFeed News report that included comments from former staffers on their experiences at the show. Executive producers Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman, and Jonathan Norman were fired in August.
"I'm going to say this about it: Ellen DeGeneres, the person that I know, that I've known for a number of years, that I saw back in the comedy club days when we used to split time with the same management, all of this and what's happening now, Ellen, the person, is probably one of the coolest and kindest people I've met in this business," Harvey told PEOPLE. The STEVE on Watch host noted that outside observers "want to take something and make something out of everything."
Although DeGeneres has apologized to staffers and vowed to make changes, Harvey said DeGeneres has "no control over whatever staff member does" and suggested a host might not "even know some of the stuff that's happening." Since DeGeneres has her name on the show, she has to "take the hit," though," Harvey said. He added that if something happened on a show he hosted, he would also "take the hit."
Harvey also disputed allegations that DeGeneres is racist. "I'm a 63-year-old Black man," Harvey said. "I've been Black the entire time. I ain't took no days off. I ain't experimented with nothing else. I ain't got nothing else going. I've been a Black dude my whole life. I know racism." Harvey said he could "feel" if someone has a "racist tendency," and never got that feeling from DeGeneres.
DeGeneres and Harvey have also been in contact since the scandal broke. He advised her to "keep your head up." They have "texted each other," Harvey said. "But my first advice was Ellen got enough money to walk away. But, we're in the cancel culture right now, man, everybody wants to see everybody fall down, man. What happened, man?" Harvey predicted DeGeneres would make a successful comeback when her show returns.
The new season of The Ellen DeGeneres Show was scheduled to return on Sept. 9, but it has since been pushed until Monday, Sept. 21. The comedian plans to talk about the scandal that engulfed her show for two months. "I can't wait to get back to work and back to our studio," DeGeneres said in a statement. "And, yes, we're gonna talk about it."